Wisconsin’s elk application closes May 31

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds Wisconsin residents that the chance to draw a 2022 elk hunting license ends on May 31.
Wisconsinites can enter for their chance at the state’s only once-in-a-lifetime hunt while contributing crucial funding for elk conservation.
Hunters can visit their Go Wild account at https://gowild.wi.gov/ or a license agent at https://dnr.wi.gov/Permits/CSRSP/LicenseAgents.aspx to submit their application. The fee is $10, and the results will be available in mid-June.
The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approved a quota of eight bull elk in the northern elk management zone for the 2022 season during their May board meeting. This year, the DNR will draw three hunter applications at random and award one through a raffle held by the Wisconsin chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Members of the Ojibwe Tribes will have a harvest quota of four bull elk this fall, making up half the total harvest quota in accordance with treaty rights.
“Wisconsin’s elk population continues to grow, thanks to recent habitat improvements, research efforts and translocation efforts,” said Josh Spiegel, DNR Wildlife Biologist in Sawyer County.
Since the first managed elk hunt in 2018, hunters with state elk tags have enjoyed a very high harvest success rate. Approximately 70% of the northern elk range is on publicly accessible land and open to hunting. While many elk reside on public land, knowing the landscape is very important.
Proceeds from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation raffle and $7 from each DNR application go to elk management and research in Wisconsin, which benefits the elk and many other wildlife species. Funding also contributes to ongoing elk monitoring.
The DNR drawing allows Wisconsin residents to submit one application per year. There is no limit on the number of tickets an individual may purchase for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation raffle.
For more information on the elk hunt, visit the DNR’s elk webpage at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/elkhunting.html.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Stevens Point man earns Wisconsin Ethical Hunter Award

Mark Moersch, Jr., (pictured) of Stevens Point, was selected as the 2021 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Ethical Hunter, an annual award first presented in 1997.
Midway through the 2021 gun deer season, Mark, his father, Mark, Sr., and Will Lauer, Mark Jr. partner’s brother, hunted from deer stands the entire day. Lauer killed a deer late in the afternoon and the excitement grew that others in the hunting party might see deer as evening approached, too, according to Mark Jr.
As Mark Sr. and Will field-dressed Lauer’s deer and loaded it into Lauer’s truck, Will received a text from a friend hunting on private land near where the Moersch’s hunting party had spent the day in Waupaca County.
“Will said a friend of his sent a text saying he had hit a deer and asked if anyone in our hunting party would be willing to help him track the deer,” Mark Jr. said.
Mark Jr., was quick to reply.
“Sure, why not?” was Mark’s answer. “It was just second nature to help a fellow hunter if they needed an assist.”
Mark’s father and Will went along leaving Mark Jr. to call the shots because he’s an accomplished tracker in situations like this. However, as it turned out, finding clues wasn’t easy. No one had a bright enough flashlight to help locate blood spots and seeing in a dark, thick forest was difficult. In addition, the location where the deer had been wounded was about a mile off the road.
“Another pair of eyes is always helpful,” Mark Jr. added. “Even with the poor lights, lack of snow, and thick woods, I had no regrets offering and helping out.”
After more than two hours of searching, no strong blood trail was found and everyone agreed to call off the search that night.
“I agreed to come back the next morning, under better light conditions and begin again, but Will’s friend did not call back and I don’t know if they found anything or not,” Mark Jr. said. “Most likely not or they would have let us know if they had.”
“Mark Jr. had never met this hunter and didn’t know of him, either,” said Tanya Lauer, Will’s sister, and Mark’s partner. “This was not an easy undertaking, but it’s the kind of guy Mark is.  It goes to show his love for deer hunting and the deer. He’s willing to help others even if it means taking away from his hunting and relaxing time.”
In addition to the deer search, Mark Jr., 29, demonstrated another ethical act by reporting what he believed to be illegal baiting thinking the bait could amplify a lethal and contagious deer disease. Reporting the baiting may also educate a hunter of duties to follow Wisconsin hunting regulations.
Mark hesitated momentarily because there was a trail camera over the bait pile and it had taken Mark’s picture. He then realized that he could not remain silent and contacted DNR law enforcement with the GPS points and other details.
"After a long day of hunting, and to help someone he doesn't even know to try and find a deer, is another clear signal of someone who goes above and beyond to help others in time of need,” said Bob Lamb, a selection committee member.
"Mr. Moersch was quick to assist a hunter he had never met, by tracking a wounded deer for hours in the dark,” said Steve Dewald, a retired DNR warden supervisor and committee member.
The second act continues to confirm the kind of person Mark, Jr. is.
"This hunter (Mark Jr.) was between a rock and a hard place when he came upon the bait pile and trail camera. However, he made the correct and ethical decision to report the illegal activity, even realizing that it may mean his tip was likely no longer anonymous,” Lamb added.
Dewald concluded, “He is also intolerant of illegal hunting which should be the practice of every ethical hunter."
While the committee generally looks for a single ethical act during a calendar year, pointing out the second action goes a step further to again confirm Mark’s character.
“Mark is one of the most ethical hunters I have ever met,” added Tanya Lauer.
In addition to an official plaque from the DNR, the winner receives an optics gift from Vortex Optics, Inc., headquartered in Barneveld, Wis., the corporate sponsor’s line of fine scopes, binoculars and range finders.
Presentations of the award and gift items occurred at Vortex Optics in Barneveld May 21, 2022.
More information about the public nomination process and the award can be obtained by contacting any committee member, Wisconsin conservation warden, or DNR’s April Dombrowski, Hunter Ethics Committee Chairperson, Madison, Wis.
Any Wisconsin hunter, of any age, and hunter of any game species, is eligible to be nominated by another individual, regardless if the nominator is a hunter, or not.
The ethical act need not occur while the nominee is actually hunting.
Nominations for the 2022 award are due February 1, 2023.

Contact Jerry Davis, a freelance writer, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-924-1112

Apply now for Wisconsin’s 2022 elk hunting season

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that the application period for the 2022 elk hunt is open through May 31.
Following several successfully managed Wisconsin elk hunts, the DNR is planning the fifth elk hunt in state history this fall. Wisconsin's northern elk herd population, centered around Clam Lake, rose to 330 animals in 2021. The DNR anticipates growth in the herd again this year.
Once widespread across North America, elk were eliminated from Wisconsin in the 1880s. Thanks to the support of many partners and the backing of Wisconsinites, the herd is back. Elk hunting season is open from Oct. 15-Nov. 13 and Dec. 8-16, 2022. Successful applicants can hunt during either period. Only Wisconsin residents are eligible to receive an elk tag.
“Thanks to collaborative reintroduction efforts, Wisconsin’s expanding elk population has grown. The state has had an annual hunt every year since 2018,” said Josh Spiegel, the DNR’s Wildlife Biologist in Sawyer County. “We anticipate growth in the herd again this year and are thrilled to offer this hunting experience.”
Wisconsinites can purchase their elk license applications online through Go Wild at https://gowild.wi.gov/ or in-person by visiting a license agent at https://dnr.wi.gov/Permits/CSRSP/LicenseAgents.aspx. The application fee is $10 each and is limited to one per person. The hunt is open to Wisconsin residents only.
The cost of an elk hunting license for the winners of the license drawing is $49. Winners will be notified by early June. Wisconsin residents can only draw one elk tag once in their lifetime.
Again this year, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation at https://events.rmef.org/shop/wisconsinstate4 will raffle one authorization to buy a license on Aug. 13. Proceeds of the raffle benefit Wisconsin elk management and research. Raffle tickets are $10 each, and there is no limit on the number of raffle tickets an individual may purchase.
In 2021, four bull elk tags were issued to state hunters and an equal number allocated to the Ojibwe tribes in accordance with treaty rights.
Jim Schmidt of Chippewa Falls drew his elk tag last year. After many scouting trips in the northern elk zone, he filled his bull elk tag.
“I knew going into the 2021 Wisconsin elk hunt that this was going to be a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I was not disappointed,” Schmidt said. “The only regret I have is not having even more friends or family along on this adventure.”
Schmidt formed lasting friendships with other state hunters, comparing scouting and hunting experiences. After Schmidt filled his own elk tag, he traveled back to Clam Lake to lend a hand to another hunter still in pursuit of a Wisconsin bull elk.
“I am also extremely thankful for everyone that made this opportunity possible and highly encourage every hunter in Wisconsin to apply for this hunt,” Schmidt said. “As the saying goes, you can't win if you don't get in the game.”
Before obtaining an elk hunting license, all winners must participate in a Wisconsin elk hunter orientation. The class covers Wisconsin elk history, hunting regulations, elk biology and behavior, and scouting and hunting techniques.
The 2022 hunting season is expected to occur only within the northern elk management zone. While the state's central elk herd has grown steadily since reintroduction in 2015, it is not expected to be included in the 2022 hunt.
For each application, $7 goes directly to elk management and research in Wisconsin. These funds are used to enhance elk habitat, which benefits the elk herd and many other wildlife species that call the Northwoods home. Funding also contributes to ongoing elk research and monitoring.
For more information on the elk hunt, visit the DNR's elk webpage at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/elkhunting.html.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR extends deadline for deer management comments

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds the public that the comment period for recommendations on the county-level antlerless harvest quotas and other key parts of the 2022 deer hunt has been extended to April 17.
The DNR welcomes comments from anyone interested in helping shape local deer herd management preferences during the online comment period.
Each county in Wisconsin has a County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) to provide input and recommendations to the department on deer management within their county.
In early May, each CDAC will make recommendations to the department for the 2022 season based on deer herd metrics, county deer population objectives and public feedback. The DNR will bring its recommendations for the 2022 season to the Natural Resources Board in summer.
To learn what your CDAC is considering for this season, visit the DNR's County Deer Advisory Councils webpage at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Hunt/cdac. Provide your input using the online form at https://dnrwi.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_51M2x0oV0oybaQu.

Participate In Deer Season Planning
There are several ways to participate in deer season planning:
* Now: Submit feedback during the online comment period through April 17.
* April 25-May 5: Attend your county’s CDAC meeting at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/CDACFind.aspx to review public input and help finalize the recommendation to the DNR.
* Review your county’s harvest and population metrics and summaries of your county’s March CDAC meeting using the Wisconsin Deer Metrics System at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/WildlifeHabitat/deermetrics.html.

CDACs Are The Public’s Voice In Deer Management
Each County Deer Advisory Council works with local DNR staff to:
* Schedule meetings.
* Provide community outreach and an opportunity for public input.
* Review population data and deer impacts.
* Develop recommendations on county population objectives.
* Create annual antlerless harvest quotas.
The public can submit questions about the process to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. More information is available on the DNR's County Deer Advisory Councils webpage at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Hunt/cdac.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR board approves 2022 migratory bird hunting framework

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources  Board (NRB) voted unanimously during the April board meeting to approve the 2022 migratory bird season framework and regulations.
Thanks to input from hunters and new scientific research, changes are coming to the 2022 migratory bird hunting season. Highlights from the approved season structure at https://widnr.widen.net/s/wtxrrwkvbn/2022-migratory-bird-season-final-framework include:
* Update the definition of the Open Water Duck Zone boundary. The updated definition incorporates adjacent rooted vegetation, floating cattail mats and Long Tail and Little Tail points as part of the mainland shore.
* Simplified the regulations for the open water restrictions on approved inland open water hunting lakes by decreasing the distance from shore to 500 feet.
* The North and Open Water Zone scaup season will be structured as 2 scaup for the first 45 days of the season and 1 scaup for the final 15 days of the season. The South Zone scaup season will remain 1 scaup for the first 15 days and 2 scaup for the final 45 days.
“The 2022 season frameworks are based on the most current scientific data, as well as on input from the public, conservation and hunting groups and results from a waterfowl hunter survey,” said Taylor Finger, DNR migratory bird ecologist. “We used all the tools in our toolbox to collect public input. We used virtual meetings and expanded online outreach to ensure engagement with our customers. In total, we received more than 1,400 comments regarding the 2022 waterfowl season proposals.”
The public plays a crucial role in setting the waterfowl season structure. View the 2022 public input results and comments at https://widnr.widen.net/s/fxn2bbmfps/2022-waterfowl-season-public-input-summary. Learn more about Wisconsin waterfowl hunting on the DNR website at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/waterfowl.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Minnesota bear hunting license applications available

Prospective bear hunters have until Friday, May 6, to apply for a bear hunting license from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Applications for the 2022 season can be submitted online, at any license agent or via telephone at 888-665-4236.
A total of 3,605 licenses are available in 14 permit areas for the season, which opens Thursday, Sept. 1, and closes Sunday, Oct. 16.
The number of permits available is based on Minnesota’s bear population, which has stabilized and started to increase during the past nine years because of more conservative permit quotas. Populations in nearly all bear permit areas are stable to increasing. Several permit areas in northern Minnesota require additional permit reductions to stabilize their populations.

Notable changes for the 2022 season
After conversations with the Red Lake Nation, DNR split Minnesota’s Northwest Angle off into its own bear permit area, creating permit area 14. Bear hunting has occurred in the Northwest Angle for decades, but the area was part of permit area 12, which is directly to the south.
Differing landscape, population dynamics, vegetation and food resources, as well as concerns about increased bear and human interactions, prompted the split. The new permit area provides the DNR greater flexibility to develop hunting strategies specific to the Northwest Angle’s bear population and control hunting pressure in response to the local bear population.
For 2022, DNR is offering a small number of hunting permits in the Northwest Angle, reflecting a status-quo level of harvest for the first year of this new area.
The DNR also has modified the boundaries of permit areas 28 and 47 to follow the Leech Lake Reservation boundary. This change is consistent with adjustments made to deer permit area 197 in 2021.
Lottery winners will be notified by Wednesday, June 1. The deadline to purchase bear hunting licenses awarded by lottery is Monday, Aug. 1. Any remaining non-purchased licenses will be available over the counter starting at noon Thursday, Aug. 4.
An unlimited number of bear licenses also will be sold over the counter for the no-quota area that includes east-central and far northwestern Minnesota. No-quota licenses are valid only in the no-quota area.
Hunters with either a quota or no-quota license who are interested in taking a problem bear should contact the area DNR wildlife manager at mndnr.gov/Areas/Wildlife to be added to the hunter contact list if the opportunity arises.
Complete instructions about how to apply for a license, maps of permit areas and a listing of permit availability for each area are available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/Hunting/Bear.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Bonus harvest authorizations for spring turkey season open soon

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will begin selling 2022 bonus turkey harvest authorizations on Monday, March 21, with a designated sale date for each zone.
Previously known as leftover permits, bonus harvest authorizations are available for purchase through the DNR's online license portal at GoWild.Wi.Gov or at all license agents. Sales begin at 10 a.m., and run through midnight each day.
Hunters who want additional harvest authorizations or who missed the spring turkey drawing deadline last December can purchase bonus authorizations beginning March 21.
Hunters are encouraged to check the turkey zone map at https://p.widencdn.net/hafpm2/turkzones and the spring turkey bonus harvest authorization availability at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/permits/springturkey.html to see if harvest authorizations are available for the period and turkey zone they wish to hunt.
Bonus harvest authorizations are $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents. Both residents and non-residents will have equal opportunities for purchase. Hunters can purchase bonus authorizations at a rate of one per day until the zone and time period are sold out or until the season closes. Bonus harvest authorization purchases will not affect preference point status for future spring drawings.

The scheduled sales dates for the 2022 spring turkey bonus harvest authorizations are:
* Zone 1 - Monday, March 21
* Zone 2 - Tuesday, March 22
* Zone 3 - Wednesday, March 23
* Zone 4 - Thursday, March 24
* Zone 5 - Friday, March 25
* Zone 6 - No bonus harvest authorizations available
*Zone 7 - Friday, March 25
The Go Wild system will use an online queue to assign random numbers to customers who enter the site between 9:45 a.m. and 10 a.m. There is no advantage to entering the site prior to 9:45 a.m. Customers who join after 10 a.m. will be added to the queue in order of arrival.
The DNR recommends that turkey hunters interested in purchasing a Conservation Patron license do so before March 21 to make the bonus harvest authorization process as quick and easy as possible.
After zone-specific sales conclude the week of March 21-25, all remaining bonus turkey harvest authorizations for all zones will be available for purchase Saturday, March 26 at 10 a.m.
In total, 101,671 bonus turkey harvest authorizations are available across turkey zones 1-5 and 7 for the 2022 spring season. No bonus harvest authorizations are available for zone 6 as all available permits were issued via the spring drawing.
All spring turkey hunters must possess a valid spring turkey license, a 2022 wild turkey stamp and a valid turkey harvest authorization. If they have not already done so, hunters will be required to purchase the spring turkey license and stamp authorization when purchasing a bonus harvest authorization.

Spring Turkey Season
The spring turkey season is comprised of six, seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday. A total of seven zones will be open for hunting in 2022. Spring Turkey season dates are as follows:
* Youth Hunt: April 16-17
* Period A: April 20-26
* Period B: April 27 - May 3
* Period C: May 4-10
* Period D: May 11-17
* Period E: May 18-24
* Period F: May 25-31
Regulations for the 2022 spring turkey hunting season are listed in the 2021 Combined Hunting Regulations.

Youth Turkey Hunt Set For April 16-17
Youth hunters under the age of 16 may hunt during the youth turkey hunt April 16-17. Hunters under the age of 12 and youth hunters without hunter safety certification can participate in the youth turkey hunt through the Mentored Hunting Program. Youth hunters must be accompanied by a qualified adult and follow all youth turkey hunting and mentored hunting program rules.
Spring turkey youth hunters must possess a valid spring turkey license, stamp and harvest authorization. A harvest authorization for any time period can be used during the youth hunt weekend, but youth hunters must hunt within the turkey management zone indicated on their harvest authorization.
For more information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, click on to https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/turkey.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR