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DNR Weekly News Update for September 18, 2018

Published - September 18, 2018 by the Central Office




Fall color show is underway

Contact(s): Colleen Matula, forest silviculturist/ecologist, Ashland DNR Service Center,, 715-685-2911

MADISON - Wisconsin's annual colorama is underway with some Northwoods locations reporting 5 to 15 percent color change but a few areas at nearly 25 to 50 percent peak color.

"The intensity of the fall color season is dependent on the weather that Wisconsin receives during September and October," said Colleen Matula, Forest Silviculturist/Ecologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources-Division of Forestry. "To have the most brilliant and vibrant fall color display, a series of fall days filled with bright sunshine and cool, but frost free, evenings are required."

These were the colors at the Brule River State Forest as of Sept. 13. - Photo credit: DNR
These were the colors at the Brule River State Forest as of Sept. 13.Photo credit: DNR

Peak fall color usually occurs in far northern Wisconsin during the last week of September and first week of October. Central Wisconsin peak color generally occurs during mid-October and in southern Wisconsin during the latter half of October.

"The heavy rainfall in southern Wisconsin could have some impact," Matula said. "Hardwood trees showing early color in lowland areas could be stressed from being in water too long. Additionally, the excess moisture may also increase fungal diseases and lead to early leaf drop."

Leaf pigments determine the range of the color palette. Chlorophyll, which begins to fade in the fall, gives leaves the basic green color and is necessary for photosynthesis. Carotenoids, which produce yellow, orange and brown colors, are always present so trees like aspen and birch have more predictable colors each year. Anthocyanin, which produces red and purple tints, varies with the conditions and makes each autumn unique for other species. Visit the DNR website for more information about fall colors.

"While the fall color show draws many visitors to our state, the 17.1 million forested acres in Wisconsin are also a year-round economic contributor with forest products adding $24.1 billion annually to state's economy," Matula noted.

As the showy fall colors move through the state from north to south, Wisconsin's state forests and parks offer a front row seat for the fall color show, Wisconsin DNR forestry experts say. Visit the DNR website at,, and search "find a park" to find a place near you.

For current information on Wisconsin's current color status, contact the Department of Tourism's Fall Color Hotline at 1-800-432-TRIP or online at the Fall Color Report (exit DNR) on the Travel Wisconsin website.




Statewide regular season duck zones open Sept. 29

Contact(s): Taylor Finger, DNR migratory game bird ecologist, 608-266-8841; Trenton Rohrer, DNR assistant migratory game bird ecologist, 608-261-6458

MADISON - Duck hunters in the North, South and Mississippi River zones will begin another fall duck hunt one-half hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept 29.

"With average spring breeding counts and a fairly wet summer, Wisconsin waterfowl hunters could have potential for a good hunting season," said Taylor Finger, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources migratory game bird ecologist.

Hunters will be taking to the field Sept. 29 for the opening of Wisconsin's waterfowl seasons. - Photo credit: DNR
Hunters will be taking to the field Sept. 29 for the opening of Wisconsin's duck hunting seasons.Photo credit: DNR

The Northern zone will begin Sept 29 and run through Nov. 27. The Southern Zone will run from Sept 29 to Oct. 7, close for a 5-day split, then remain open from Oct. 13 to Dec. 2. The Mississippi Zone will be open Sept 29 to Oct. 5, close for a 7-day split, and reopen from Oct. 13 to Dec. 4. Opening day shooting hours will begin one-half hour before sunrise.

Waterfowl hunters should note that the goose season in the southern portion of the Exterior Zone will also be closed during the 5-day split in October. Also, hunters should note that goose season in the Mississippi River Sub-zone will not open until Sept 29 and is closed during the 7-day split in the Mississippi River Zone.

"Continental breeding surveys that have been ongoing for 63 years showed in 2018 a drop in most species populations however, most populations remained above their long-term averages. Even with promising breeding indications, local conditions and scouting will be the most important factors when pursuing ducks this fall. Because parts of the state have experienced wet conditions leading up to the duck season and some areas of the state remain dry, scouting this fall will be particularly important to identify the areas that are holding birds."

The daily bag limit statewide is six ducks, including no more than:

  • four mallards, of which only one may be a hen;
  • one black duck;
  • two canvasbacks;
  • three wood ducks;
  • two pintail;
  • three scaup; and
  • two redheads.

Five mergansers may be harvested daily, of which no more than two may be hooded mergansers; 15 coot may be harvested daily.

Licenses and stamps required for duck hunting include a Wisconsin small game license (included in the Conservation Patron and Sports packaged licenses), a Wisconsin waterfowl stamp, and a federal migratory bird stamp. The federal duck stamp costs $25. The federal stamp can be purchased at a U.S. Post Office. Hunters will also have the option of purchasing the federal stamp privilege at DNR license vendors for an additional $2.50 surcharge. The purchase will be noted on their license, but the stamp itself will arrive several weeks later in the mail.

Waterfowl and other migratory bird hunters must also register each year with the federal Harvest Information Program, which places them on a list of hunters that may receive a mailing asking them to provide a summary of their harvest. HIP registration is free and can be done at the time hunters purchase their licenses, but can always be added later on if a hunter decides they may pursue migratory game birds.

State licenses and stamps, permits, and HIP registration are also available through Go Wild. For more information regarding Go Wild, visit For more information regarding waterfowl hunting in Wisconsin, visit and search keyword "waterfowl."

Regular Goose Season

With resident Canada goose breeding numbers similar to recent years and average production of the Ontario breeders, hunters should have ample opportunities this year, and will again enjoy a full 92 days of hunting in the Exterior zone with a 3-bird daily bag limit.

As a reminder, the Horicon Canada goose Zone was eliminated in 2018 and is now a part of the Southern Exterior goose zone.

Exterior Zone Canada goose season structure is as follows:

  • Northern Zone - Sept. 16 to Dec. 16;
  • Southern Zone - Sept. 16 to Oct. 7 and Oct. 13 to Dec. 2 and Dec. 16- Jan. 3, 2019; and
  • Mississippi River Subzone - Sept.29- Oct 5 and Oct. 13 to Jan. 3, 2019.

While afield, hunters must carry proof of their Canada goose harvest permit. Acceptable methods of proof include a paper copy, Go Wild generated PDF displayed on a mobile device, an authenticated Wisconsin driver's license or Go Wild Conservation Card. As a reminder to Canada goose hunters, registration of Canada geese and in-field validation of the Canada goose hunting permit is no longer required.




Waterfowl hunters can help stop spread of aquatic invasive species

Contact(s): Jeanne Scherer, AIS Outreach Specialist, 608-266-0061, or Tim Campbell, AIS outreach specialist, University of Wisconsin, 608-265-3727,

MADISON -As Wisconsin's goose and duck seasons get underway, the Department of Natural Resources is asking for help from the state's dedicated hunters to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Just a few minutes of preventative action can protect your hunting tradition for generations to come.

To help protect waterfowl habitat and populations, hunters must take these simple steps before launching into and leaving a waterbody:

  • Inspect waders, boats, trailers, motors and hunting equipment, including boots, blinds and dogs.
  • Remove all plants, animals and mud.
  • Drain all water from decoys, boats, motors, livewells and other hunting equipment.
  • Never move plants or live fish away from a water body.
Phragmites - Photo credit: DNR
Use of nonnative vegetation such as phragmites to help conceal blinds or boats can also lead to the inadvertent spread of species.Photo credit: DNR

In addition to standard boating gear, waterfowl hunters often use decoys, dogs, waders and push poles that may contain water, debris and mud where invasive species such as zebra mussels, faucet snails and starry stonewort can hide. Use of nonnative vegetation such as phragmites to help conceal blinds or boats can also lead to the inadvertent spread of species that clog waterways and crowd out beneficial plants that provide food and shelter for ducks and geese.

Other types of aquatic invasive species may serve as hosts for parasites or bacteria that can kill waterfowl. As a result, DNR urges hunters to clean equipment as well as boats and check dog coats before leaving a hunting location.

DNR staff and partners will visit with hunters at key locations throughout the state during opening weekend, September 29-30 sharing these steps that everyone can take to protect waterfowl populations and their habitats. Key locations include: Horicon Marsh, Mead Wildlife Area, locations along the Mississippi, and Big Muskego Lake.

"Healthy wetlands and waterways support strong waterfowl populations," said Paul Samerdyke, a DNR wildlife biologist stationed at the Horicon Marsh. "We know that Wisconsin waterfowl hunters are committed to conservation, and they've been solid partners in restoring and improving wetland habitats. We don't want these efforts to be diminished by the spread of damaging aquatic invaders."

DNR staff also appreciates hunters' knowledge and experience in familiar hunting areas and encourages reporting new aquatic invasive species. Early detection is crucial to reducing or eliminating the harm from damaging species.

For more information on Wisconsin's invasive species rule and what hunters, anglers, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts can do to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, visit and search "Aquatic Invasive Species."




Natural Resources Board to meet September 25-26 in Hayward

Contact(s): Jim Dick, DNR spokesperson, 608-267-2773 or Laurie Ross, board liaison, 608-267-7420

MADISON - Requests to consider an early closure to the 2018 ruffed grouse hunting season in Wisconsin and proposed revisions to rules related to elk management to allow the use of scientific data rather than a percent of population estimates to set harvest permit levels are among the items the state Natural Resources Board will address when it meets September 26 in Hayward.

The board will convene at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, September 26, at Flat Creek Inn & Suites, 10290 Highway 27 South, Hayward.

The board also will consider a proposed master plan amendment to allow for a quarter mile all-terrain vehicle connector trail in the Upper Wolf River State Fisheries Area. It will also hear an update on plans to rebuild Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park and be asked to accept a $750,000 donation for the tower.

On Tuesday, Sept. 25 the board will participate in tours of various facilities through northwest Wisconsin, including the trailheads of the American Birkebeiner Ski Trail System for presentations on recreational trails and recreational opportunities and collaborative forest management, the U.S. National Forest System's Forest Lodge, for a presentation on the lodge property and an overview fisheries management for muskellunge, and at the Day Lake - Boat Landing for a presentation on elk management. (NOTE: The public must pre-register with Board Liaison to attend scheduled tours and provide their own transportation.

The complete September board agenda is available by searching the DNR website, for keyword "NRB" and clicking on the button for "view agendas."

The public must pre-register with Laurie Ross, board liaison, to testify at the board meeting or to attend a board tour. The deadline to register to testify or submit written comments is 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. Registration information is available on the agenda on the DNR website.

Board meetings are webcast live. People can watch the meeting over the internet by going to the NRB agenda page of the DNR website and clicking on webcasts in the Related Links column on the right then click on this month's meeting. After each meeting, the webcast will be permanently available on demand.




2018 Wisconsin Fall hunting and trapping forecasts available online

Contact(s): Sawyer Briel, DNR communications, 608-282-5334

MADISON - Fall hunting and trapping seasons in Wisconsin are well underway, and a number of hunting and trapping forecasts are now available to help hunters and trappers prepare for their time in the outdoors.

Forecasts for the following species can be found at the links below - each forecast is located on the corresponding species page:

For more helpful information for deer season, be sure to check out season two of the Wild Wisconsin web series and Off the Record Podcast. Learn more at, keywords "wild wisconsin."

To receive email updates regarding deer hunting in Wisconsin, visit and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select the "white-tailed deer" distribution list (found within the "hunting" list).

For more general information regarding hunting in Wisconsin, search keyword "hunt." For more updates throughout fall hunting seasons, follow the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on our social media platforms.




Season two of Wild Wisconsin web series launches just in time for archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons


Sawyer Briel, DNR communications, 608-282-5334


[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release was previously issued to media statewide.]

MADISON -- The world of hunting is changing, and Department of Natural Resources staff are hard at work to make sure Wisconsin's hunters have the resources they need for a safe and successful deer season.

Wild Wisconsin is your ticket to enjoying the outdoors this fall. Web series segments, podcasts and more - all at your fingertips. With help from Vortex Optics, Mayville Engineering Company Shooting Sports and The Hunting Public, Wild Wisconsin is back for year two.

Wild Wisconsin is the future of deer hunting.

Whether you prefer to watch all segments at once, catch one or two before your hunt, or listen to podcasts, Wild Wisconsin has it all. Topics range from public land hunting tips to chronic wasting disease and what it means for Wisconsin's deer herd.

Wild Wisconsin main series segments - these segments provide a quick overview of helpful hunting-related topics:

Wild Wisconsin bonus segments - a more in-depth look at CWD, public land hunting and more:

For even more hunting content, be sure to check out the Wild Wisconsin: Off the Record podcast - topics covered include a deer hunting forecast, public land hunting guide and much more. You can find the podcast series on iTunes (search "Wild Wisconsin), Stitcher (search "Wild Wisconsin) and YouTube.

All web series segments and podcasts, along with wild game recipes and much more, can be found at, keywords "Wild Wisconsin." Be sure to follow DNR's FacebookInstagramYouTube and Twitter pages for more Wild Wisconsin throughout Fall hunting seasons.




Snake and Turtle Fest comes to Havenwoods State Forest Oct. 6

Contact(s): Beth Mittermaier, 414-527-0232

Visitors can get up close to critters like the milk snake at Snake and Turtle Festival. - Photo credit: DNR
Visitors can get up close to critters like the milk snake at Snake and Turtle Festival.Photo credit: DNR

MILWAUKEE - The public is invited to come to Havenwoods State Forest on Oct. 6 for a slithery, scaly day--Snake and Turtle Fest.

Visitors can meet Wisconsin native snakes and turtles close up, take a hike to search for herps, discover reptile adaptations through activities and games, make snake and turtle crafts, bid in a silent auction to benefit education programs, purchase lunch or snacks.

The free festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is for all ages and will be held rain or shine.

Havenwoods State Forest is located at 6141 N. Hopkins St., Milwaukee, (1 block west of Sherman on Douglas). For more information about the forest, search the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website for keyword "Havenwoods." For more information about the Friends of Havenwoods visit their website at




Fall issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources shines with the vibrant colors of autumn

Contact(s): Andrea Zani, 608-267-9517 or Kathy Kahler, 608-266-2625

MADISON - The Fall issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources is available now, and the magazine shines with the vibrant colors of autumn. That's thanks in large part to a striking six-page cover spread commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. It features the photography of Craig Blacklock from his new book, "St. Croix & Namekagon Rivers: The Enduring Gift," which captures vivid scenes from Wisconsin's own Wild and Scenic Rivers.

WNR Magazine

Magazine content also includes "Team up for trees," exploring the DNR's urban forestry partnerships with the state's pro sports teams, and "1,000 miles to remember," a look at one Wisconsin writer's book about her thru-hike of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Another story, "DNR labors for pollinators," puts the spotlight on small species that do big work in the natural world.

The celebration of the DNR's 50th anniversary continues with "Legacy of the Spill Law," detailing the significant work enabled by this important legislation passed in 1978. Also included in the Fall issue are "DNR memoirs," engaging tales from longtime former DNR employees.

Regular features mark the agency's anniversary as well, with "Outside in Wisconsin" highlighting the history of the Flambeau River State Forest and "Back in the day" reprinting a humorous take on hunting from the 1968 Conservation Bulletin.

And speaking of hunting, an eight-page special section is dedicated to Hunting 2018 coverage. It includes stories on hunting mentors, DNR's Wild Wisconsin web series, a student-focused hunting club, memories of a family heirloom shotgun, a Hunt for Food recipe and more.

The magazine's seasonal message from DNR Secretary Dan Meyer welcomes the fall season and its exciting "outdoor experiences to come." That includes the state's first-ever managed elk hunt to be held this autumn in the Clam Lake range, an event made possible by reintroduction and conservation efforts involving the agency and its partners.

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine is available for $8.97 per year. Subscribe at 1-800-678-9472 or online at

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