Wolf Management Plan process begins with new committee

MADISON, Wis. – The Department of Natural Resources today announced the open application period for a newly formed Wolf Management Plan Committee (WMPC).
Beginning this month, the DNR will begin recruitment for the WMPC with an open application period through March 19.
The DNR invites organizations with an interest in wolf management to visit the wolf management plan webpage on the DNR website at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/wolfmanagementplan to learn more about the required qualifications and how to apply for a seat on the committee.
The purpose of the WMPC will be to provide input, direction and recommendations to the DNR in developing an updated wolf management plan. To be inclusive of a variety of interest areas regarding wolf management, a specified number of plan committee seats will be made available by application to interested stakeholder organizations. Representation on the committee will include hunting/trapping organizations, wolf advocacy/education organizations and agricultural/ranching organizations.
Additional seats on the WMPC will be reserved for invited tribal and governmental agencies, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and DNR technical staff support.
The wolf management plan process will occur over the next year and half and will be conducted in an open and transparent process ensuring time for public participation and incorporation of the most recent scientific data. The first step in the process consists of the DNR forming the WMPC with diverse representation from stakeholder groups as well as tribal and other governmental organizations.
Once the committee is formed, the DNR will solicit broad public input on the direction of wolf management in the state. Once that feedback is compiled, the WMPC will begin a series of four meetings to provide input to the development of the updated wolf management plan.
The DNR will write an initial draft of the wolf plan, guided by science and input from the WMPC and the public. The draft plan will be made available for public review and comment. A final draft will then be compiled and submitted to the Natural Resources Board for approval in mid-2022.
The DNR is actively working to prepare for a fall 2021 wolf harvest season through a transparent and science-based process. While a revised management plan is in development, the DNR will convene a 2021 Wolf Harvest Advisory Committee to advise on the harvest objective and quota recommendation for the harvest season opening Nov. 6. The committee will include the organizations involved the last time the Wolf Advisory Committee met in 2014. Invitations have also been extended to additional organizations who previously requested a seat on the committee.
The 2021 Wolf Harvest Advisory Committee will meet to formulate a fall 2021 harvest quota recommendation following the current management plan and state statute. This approach will include coordination with our tribal partners and solicitation of public input on harvest objectives. The department plans to present its quota recommendation to the Natural Resources Board at its August meeting.
Find more information on the wolf management plan and wolves in Wisconsin at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/wolfmanagementplan.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


In-person hunter safety classes begin April 1

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced all in-person hunter education classes, including archery education classes, begin April 1.
To help protect Wisconsinites and staff from the spread of COVID-19, particularly those most vulnerable to infection and severe disease, established safety protocols to protect students, instructors and communities will remain in place when in-person instruction resumes.
 
Class Timeline
The DNR's Recreational Safety and Outdoor Section will collaborate with volunteer instructors and partners to re-open all in-person hunter/archery education safety classes. The timeline is as follows:
* Instructors may start to enroll traditional classes in GoWild on Monday, March 15.
* In-person traditional classes can begin on Thursday, April 1.
 
Safety Protocols For In-Person Instruction
The DNR will enforce the following safety protocols for all in-person classes:
* Social distancing of 6 feet between participants.
* Maximum of 50 participants in any one class.
* Face coverings are required for all participants.
* Sanitizing of class equipment.
* Availability and use of hand sanitizer.
* Outdoor class instruction where possible.
The DNR remains firmly committed to the health and safety of recreational safety course instructors and students. The department receives the most up-to-date information and will continue to adjust course operations as conditions change. Learn more about the DNR Hunter Safety and other safety education programs at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/Education/OutdoorSkills/safetyEducation.
For specific information regarding COVID-19, the public is encouraged to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the CDC website

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Virtual meeting to focus on 2021 waterfowl season regulations, dates

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will host a virtual town hall meeting from 6-8 p.m., on Thursday, April 1, for people to learn, comment and ask questions about the 2021 waterfowl hunting season and proposed regulatory changes that will be released for public comment on March 29.
“We’re evaluating season dates for each duck zone and considering some additional duck and goose hunting opportunities,” said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist. “We’re looking at potential changes such as an experimental teal season based on the public feedback we’ve received so far.”
Every five years the states can adjust the timing of duck seasons. The deadline to communicate changes to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 2021-2024 is May 1, 2021.
The DNR began seeking input on potential waterfowl season and regulatory changes last fall. An online questionnaire to gather public input on potential changes closed Jan. 31.
Staff are reviewing input collected so far to help determine which regulatory to propose. Those proposals will be available on Monday, March 29, on the DNR’s waterfowl management page. The virtual town hall meeting on April 1, will give the public an opportunity to learn and ask questions about those changes.
Virtual town hall registration details and instructions, as well as proposed season dates and regulations, are available on the DNR’s waterfowl management page. Individuals with a disability who need a reasonable accommodation to participate should contact Liz Scherber at 651-259-5223, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or your preferred telecommunications relay provider by Thursday, March 18.
Participants must pre-register in order to ask questions via the online chat. The DNR will consider input received during the meeting but people also are encouraged to submit their complete comments online beginning Monday, March 29, and concluding Sunday, April 11.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Minnesota deer exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides

Preliminary results of a study testing white-tailed deer spleens for presence of neonicotinoid pesticides show exposure of deer throughout the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  
Further analysis is required to determine if the levels of exposure seen are high enough to adversely affect deer health. Additional study results related to exposure levels will be available this spring.  
Neonicotinoids, often referred to as “neonics,” are the most widely used class of insecticides worldwide and are found in more than 500 commercial and domestic products in the U.S. They are present in a wide array of products used for insect control in homes, gardens, yards and crops, as well as on pets.  
The DNR launched a research project in fall 2019 following a study conducted on captive deer in South Dakota that raised concerns about potential adverse effects of neonicotinoid exposure, including reduced fawn survival.
The DNR asked Minnesota deer hunters to submit spleens from their harvested wild deer. Nearly 2,000 people requested sampling kits to participate in the study and 800 spleens were collected from all areas of the state.  
“We wanted to know if wild deer in natural settings are being exposed to neonics and if certain habitat types had a higher risk,” said Michelle Carstensen, DNR’s wildlife health program supervisor. “Minnesota is a great place to ask this question, as deer are dispersed across the forest, farmland, prairies and urban landscapes.”  
The DNR’s preliminary results show that deer across the state have been exposed. Of the 800 deer spleens that hunters harvested in Minnesota during the 2019 hunting season, 61% of samples indicated exposure to neonicotinoids.
While these preliminary data focused on deer, Minnesota Department of Health believes there is likely little-to-no human health risk for consuming venison from deer that may have been exposed to neonicotinoids. These early findings suggest concentrations found in the deer spleen samples were far below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s allowable levels for consumption of other foods, like fruit or beef, that may have neonicotinoid residue.  
The Minnesota DNR is planning additional sampling this fall and is exploring future research options on neonicotinoids in wildlife.
“We want to thank the hunters who participated in this initial study,” Carstensen said. “Their contributions are essential to this important research.”
Hunters who submitted samples in fall 2019 will be emailed the specific test results from their deer. Hunters who wish to contribute to future research can subscribe to the Deer Notes newsletter, which includes deer-related citizen science opportunities.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Central Dunn County landowners eligible for CWD surveillance permits

EAU CLAIRE, Wis.– Landowners on select parcels of private land in central Dunn County are eligible for free chronic wasting disease surveillance permits.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources asks landowners within the surveillance area to apply for a permit to help the DNR better understand the extent of CWD in the area.
These permits are property-specific and available on select private land within the CWD surveillance area. Individuals who receive a permit must use the weapon choice listed on the permit. The permits are valid for any adult deer, either antlered or antlerless, and all deer harvested must be tested for CWD.
To obtain a CWD surveillance permit, contact DNR Wildlife Biologist Terry Shaurette at 608-386-2368. Please have your Go Wild customer ID ready when you call.

How To Have Your Adult Deer Tested For CWD
CWD testing is free of charge. Individuals who harvest an adult deer using a CWD surveillance authorization are responsible for having their deer tested for CWD. In addition to self-service kiosks, individuals can contact local DNR staff to schedule an appointment for sampling.
CWD results are uploaded to the DNR website as soon as they become available. To view CWD results for a harvested deer, enter your customer ID or CWD sample barcode number. Results are also sent via email or mail.

CWD In Wisconsin
In 2019, a CWD-positive wild deer was discovered in Red Cedar Township, Dunn County. CWD surveillance permits are being provided to those within the surveillance area to aid the DNR's CWD research in the region.
CWD is a fatal, infectious nervous system disease of deer, moose, elk and reindeer/caribou. It belongs to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. CWD occurs only in members of the Cervidae or deer family: both wild and farm-raised deer. The DNR began monitoring the state's wild white-tailed deer population for CWD in 1999 and found the first positives in 2002.
For more information on CWD, visit the DNR's website at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/cwd.html.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Wisconsin’s wolf season closed statewide

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources  announced that all wolf harvesting zones are now closed to hunting and trapping gray wolves.
Zones 2,5,6 closed at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24. Zones 1,3,4 closed at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Hunting and trapping during the closed season/zone carries a forfeiture amount of $303.30.
State statute authorizes the DNR to close management zones to harvest following a 24-hour notice based on harvest information. Because of the nature of harvest registration and 24-hour notice, it is possible for harvest quotas to be exceeded.
During the Natural Resources Board (NRB) Special Meeting on Feb. 15, the board unanimously voted for a harvest quota of 200 wolves outside reservation lands. Of the approved quota, 119 wolves were allocated to the state, and 81 wolves were allocated to the Ojibwe Tribes in response to the Tribes’ declaration and in accordance with their treaty rights within the Ceded Territory.
The current harvest totals are for state license holders and do not include any tribal harvest numbers. Tribal members register tribal harvest in a separate process and is shared between the state and tribes after the season.  
It is each hunter and trapper's responsibility to verify and abide by zone closures by calling 1-855-299-9653 or checking the DNR website at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/wolf/index.html.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


All Wisconsin wolf harvest zones to close Wednesday

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday that wolf harvesting Zones 1,3,4 will close to hunting and trapping gray wolves effective 3 p.m., Feb. 24.
At that time, those zones will close to any further hunting and trapping of wolves for the February 2021 wolf harvest season.
With this closure, all six wolf harvest zones are closed for this season. The DNR previously announced wolf harvesting Zones 2,5,6 will close to hunting and trapping gray wolves effective 10 a.m., Feb. 24.
It is each hunter and trapper's responsibility to verify and abide by zone closures posted to the website at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/wolf/index.html or by calling 1-855-299-9653.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR