Week of April 6, 2009







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High Court rules for power plants, against fisheries

WASHINGTON -- The Great Lakes fisheries lost their case at the Supreme Court on power plant cooling water and a measure to control fisheries loses. Ruling by Justices Backs Power Plants — In a defeat for environmental and conservation groups, the Supreme Court ruled on April 1st that the Environmental Protection Agency may use cost-benefit calculations to decide whether to require power plants to make changes that could prevent the destruction of billions of aquatic organisms each year.


The legal issue rested on the interpretation of a provision in the Clean Water Act that authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to require power plants install "the best available technology for minimizing adverse environmental impact" from cooling water intake structures. The environmental concern is a serious one for aquatic resources and the sport fishing community. Power plants pull more than 200 billion gallons of water a day from reservoirs, lakes and rivers to cool machinery or, in the case of nuclear power plants, to cool reactors. The practice kills large numbers of fish and other aquatic organisms that are drawn into intake pipes along with cooling water.


The decision affects more than 500 power plants that are collectively responsible for more than half of the nation’s

electricity-generating capacity. The plants use more than

billions gallons of water from nearby waterways each day for cooling, and they kill vast numbers of fish, shellfish and other organisms in the process, squashing them against intake screens or sucking them into cooling systems.


The environmental agency weighed the costs of making changes to the plants’ cooling structures to protect the organisms against their value expressed in dollars. Considering only the 1.8 percent of the affected fish and shellfish that are commercially or recreationally harvested, the agency concluded that the organisms at issue were worth $83 million.


Requiring the plants to convert to closed-cycle cooling systems, which recirculate water, would have saved almost all the organisms but cost $3.5 billion a year, the agency said. Instead, it ordered far cheaper changes that spared fewer organisms.


Alex Matthiessen, the president of Riverkeeper, an environmental group, said in a statement the ruling in the case, Entergy Corporation v. Riverkeeper, No.07-588, allowed but did not require the use of cost-benefit analysis. He urged the Obama administration to adopt an approach more protective of the environment through new regulations.

Firearm Sales Continue to Climb in March

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Firearm sales continued to surge across the country for the fifth straight month, extending a trend that began after the November elections. The increase also follows recent comments by several high-profile members of the Obama administration about re-imposing permanently and expanding the ban on modern sporting rifles.

Data from the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) show background checks on the sale of firearms jumped 29.2 % in March when compared to March 2008 and were up 27.1 % for the first quarter of 2009 over the same quarter last year.  The increase follows a 23 % rise in February, a 28 % rise in January, a 24 % rise in December and a 42 % jump in November, when a record 1,529,635 background checks were performed.


FBI background checks are required under federal law for all

individuals purchasing firearms from federally licensed

retailers. These checks serve as a strong indicator of actual sales. Correspondingly, ammunition manufacturers are reporting record sales across the country as demand continues to outpace supply.


"Americans concerned about their ability to purchase many types of home defense, hunting and target shooting firearms in the future are continuing to purchase these products in record numbers today," said NSSF President Steve Sanetti. "Along with this strong sales showing, we've also seen increased participation in firearm safety and education programs such as NSSF First Shots."

NICS reported 1,345,096 checks in March, up from 1,040,863 in the same month a year ago.


President Obama is on track to be the first repeat winner of Firearms Salesman of the Year honors. Despite his underlings saying the administration's for firearms and the Second Amendment, the consumers aren't buying it. Instead, they're buying guns and ammunition.


The FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) shows a 23.3 % increase in background checks for February 2009 as compared to February 2008. January had a 28 increase, December 24 % and November showed a 42 % jump when more than 1.5 million background checks were performed.



Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for April 03, 2009

Weather Conditions:  More rain and snow fell across the Great Lakes basin this week, as a large spring storm system pushed through the region.  Locations in the Arrowhead of Minnesota saw upwards of a foot of new snow, while southern locales received a soaking rain.  Warmer conditions arrived by midweek, ahead of another significant storm system.  This weekend's weather looks unsettled with rain, snow and chilly temperatures expected. 

Lake Level Conditions

Lake Superior is 6 inches above its level of a year ago.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are 13 and 3 inches, respectively, above their levels of a year ago.  Lakes Erie is an inch below last year's level, while Lake Ontario is near its level of a year ago.  Lake Superior and Lake Michigan-Huron are projected to rise 3 inches during the next month.  Lakes St. Clair and Erie are forecasted to rise 2 to 3 inches during the next 30 days, while Lake Ontario is predicted to rise 6 inches during the next month.  Over the next several months, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are predicted to remain at or above their levels of a year ago.  Lakes St. Clair and Erie are projected to be above last year's levels through September.  Lake Ontario is forecasted to be below last year's levels over the next six months.  See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In March the outflows through the St. Mary's and St. Clair

Rivers were lower than average.  The outflow from Lake St.

Clair into the Detroit River was near average in March, while the Niagara and St. Lawrence River outflows were above average. 


Lake Superior is below its chart datum elevations and is expected to be below datum through May. Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.  Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center's webpage.





St. Clair



Level for Aug 4







Datum, in ft






Diff in inches











Diff last month











Diff from last yr







Access Problems Continue For Some Anglers

Twenty-three percent of anglers report that one of their fishing spots has been closed to angling in the past three years, according to a January 2009 survey by Southwick Associates. This compares to 25% who reported loss of a fishing location in a similar survey a year earlier, in January 2008.


The access problem is most acute for freshwater anglers. Of those reporting a loss of access, 74% said that they lost a fishing location on fresh water; just 24% reported the loss of a saltwater location. Reported access loss results for 2008 were 77% fresh water and 17% salt water.


In response to the loss of access, a majority of the anglers reporting a loss (56% in the 2009 survey; 54% in 2008) continue to fish as frequently as they did before the loss

occurred, presumably at other spots that remain open to them. In 2009, only about 37% reported fishing less frequently as a result, a figure virtually unchanged from the year before.


Launched in 2006, AnglerSurvey.com helps the outdoor equipment industry, government fisheries officials, and conservation organizations track consumer activities and expenditure trends. The list above represents only a small sample of the vast amount of information that is available from the complete survey results. The results are scientifically analyzed to reflect all U.S. anglers. Find out how a subscription to the complete survey data can help your business, government agency, or organization.

For more information, contact Rob Southwick at [email protected].

Bass Pro Shops 2nd Canadian location opens April 7th  

Rocky View, Alberta --Bass Pro Shops, recently voted the #1 outdoor retailer in America by Sporting Goods Business Magazine, will celebrate its 55th store’s Grand Opening April 8th through Sunday, April 12th.  The store will open at 8 AM Wednesday. The new Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World is the company’s second Canadian store (the first is located in Toronto) and is an anchor in the new CrossIron Mills Mall being developed by Ivanhoe Cambridge.  It is located at the intersection of Queen Elizabeth Highway II and Highway #566.


The Grand Opening celebration will be preceded by a special Evening for Conservation event Tuesday, April 7th.  Area conservation groups partnering with Bass Pro Shops will set up display booths to educate customers on their efforts and projects.  A portion of the night’s sales will benefit select Canadian conservation groups and the National Fish Initiative’s “More Fish” campaign.  


Grand Opening festivities include special exhibits, celebrity guests, store-wide savings and fantastic giveaways.  You can visit with today’s experts on fishing, hunting, camping, boating and more.  See Bass Pro Shops’ huge product selection from the industry’s top manufacturers and talk with factory representatives to get the latest information on new products.

The first 200 customers Wednesday, April 8th through

Saturday, April 11th will receive a special gift with purchase like Bass Pro Shops gift cards in mini tackle boxes and a Bass Pro Shops logo lure.


Visitors may also register to win a 2009 Toyota Tacoma and a $1000 Bass Pro Shops gift card.  (no purchase necessary to enter or claim prize; Open to legal residents of Canada 18 years of age or older at time of entry.  Void where prohibited.  Sweepstakes begins 04/07/09 and ends 12/31/09.  See store for more details)


Wednesday, April 8th through Saturday, April 11th, you can visit and get angling tips and techniques from Bass Pro Shops national pro team member and host of Facts of Fishing:  Other special activities will be held throughout the first week.


The store offers 150,000 square feet of outdoor excitement including the area’s largest selection of quality gear for fishing, hunting, camping, boating and marine.  Bass Pro Shops also offers equipment for hiking, backpacking, outdoor cooking and more.  Shoppers will find outdoor apparel for men, women and children, along with a fine selection of outdoor, casual and athletic footwear.  A gift and nature center serves up a wide variety of outdoor-related items from lamps and dishes to bird feeders and furniture.


Upcoming Sporting Clay Tournament

Illinois hunters and shooters take note - the World Shooting and Recreation Complex (WSRC) in Sparta will be hosting the Remington World Cup Challenge on May 21 - 24, 2009. Advanced registration for this event is suggested and all shooters must be members of the National Sporting Clays

Association. The WSRC has two sporting clay courses consisting of 15 stations each that will be used during the tournament. The WSRC is a premier destination for recreational vehicle enthusiasts, offering scenic camping areas as well as standard sites with electricity, water and sewer.

Bass Pro Shops Offers Free Family Fun At Easter

Bolingbrook, Illinois-- Following on the heels of Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Easter Holiday is next in line for big family celebrations.  


Most of us remember the excitement of this first Spring holiday--the coloring and hiding of Easter eggs, the wonderful after-church dinners of baked hams and scalloped potatoes, and of course, the Easter Basket.  Now you can relive those fond memories plus pass important family traditions on to your own children.  Bass Pro Shops at 709 Janes Avenue is committed to helping families enjoy quality time together.


Bring the kids and take part in the free, fun Easter activities they have planned such as a scavenger hunt, Geocaching classes, and the time-honored tradition of an old-fashion Easter Egg Hunt.  There will be fun crafts for the kids and Mom and Dad will really enjoy the free photo opportunity for the kids as they visit the Easter Bunny.


Friday, April 10th from 3pm to 7pm, Saturdays and Sundays, April 4th and 5th and April 11th and 12th from 11am to 3pm,

bring the kids to have their free picture taken with the Easter Bunny.  There will be an Easter Egg hunt for kids 6 and under and a Scavenger Hunt for ages 7 to 17.


Saturdays and Sundays adults 18 and older can sign up for GPS and Geocaching classes.  From 11am to noon learn the basics of handling a GPS unit and geocaching.  A class from 1 to 2 pm will teach advanced GPS use for Geocaching and travel.  Both classes will be followed by a search outside (weather permitting) so you can have the opportunity to try out what you just learned.


Kids can enjoy fun crafts like making their own bunny ears Saturday and Sunday April 4th and 5th, and Easter decorations Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 10th, 11th and 12th.


Bring the family to Bass Pro Shops and enjoy Easter to the max this year without maxing out your budget.  Visit www.bassproshops.com  for more information and click on your local store for more details.

IHSA Bass Fishing Finals

Last year, the Illinois High School Association decided to add bass fishing to its list of 35 authorized sports and activities. This decision made Illinois the first state in the nation to sanction bass fishing as a high school sport. The 2008-09 high school bass fishing season started in October of 2008

and will be concluding with the sectional tournament in April. The first official high school bass fishing state finals in the nation will be held at Carlyle Lake on May 8 - 9, 2009. May 2009 also has been designated High School Bass Fishing Month.


Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop, May 1-3

Women with an interest in learning outdoors skills take note: Registration is underway for the Indiana DNR’s 2009 Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop. BOW offers women a relaxed, non-competitive environment conducive for learning outdoor skills in a workshop is designed just for women. 

The workshop will be held May 1-3, at Ross Camp in West Lafayette. The cost for the workshop, including four classes, lodging and meals, is $175.  The workshop is limited to 150 women. Registration is already half full for this popular program. Register online at www.bow.IN.gov or by calling Danielle Shrake at (317) 232-4194.


Bay City State Recreation Area Hosting Annual ‘GO-Get Outdoors’Easter Egg Hunt April 11

Bay City State Recreation Area’s annual Easter Egg Hunt will take place on Saturday, April 11, beginning at 11 a.m. in the day use area.

This event is open to the public and will be held regardless of the weather for the following age groups:  ages 3 and under, ages 4 to 7 and ages 8 to 11.  Children will hunt for approximately 5,000 colorful plastic eggs filled with candy and various coupons, some redeemable for prizes.  This year’s hunt will have one grand prize in each of the three age groups.  The Easter Bunny will be available for pictures, and parents are encouraged to bring cameras.


The Bay City State Recreation Area is located at 3582 State Park Dr., five miles east of I-75.  Take exit 168 and travel east five miles to the day use entrance on the north side of State Park Drive. For more information about this event, accessibility, or persons needing accommodations to

participate in this event, contact the park headquarters at 989-684-3020 (or TTY/TDD711 Michigan Relay Center for the hearing impaired), or visit the web site at www.michigan.gov/baycity


Bay City State Recreation Area is open for camping year round and is home of the Tobico Marsh.  Camping reservations can be made on-line at www.midnrreservations.com, or by calling 1-800-44PARKS (800-447-2575).


This event is free.  However, all motor vehicles entering a state park or recreation area must display a Motor Vehicle Permit, available for purchase at the park day use entrance.  Cost is $24 for a resident annual and $6 for a resident daily.  A nonresident annual is $29 and a nonresident daily is $8.


Join the DNR in celebrating the 90th anniversary of Michigan State Parks this year. Activities are planned throughout the year. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/dnr.

DNR Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Program Offers U.P. Shoot July 18

The Department of Natural Resources Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) Program is offering a one-day workshop on Saturday, July 18, for women who wish to learn more about the shooting sports.


The workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the West Branch Sportsmen's Club, located at 1888 Engman Lake Rd. in Skandia. The program is designed to take participants through various skill levels associated with shooting small bore and large bore rifles, shotguns, handguns and bows.


"This is a Beyond BOW event that will give women an opportunity to gain more experience in shooting sports whether they are a beginner or somewhat advanced," said

Lynn Marla, DNR state BOW Program coordinator. "The club's certified shooting instructors will provide classroom and video instruction before taking participants out to the shooting range, and the club will serve up a tasty lunch as well."


The $35 workshop fee includes all instruction, lunch and equipment. Participants may bring their own equipment and ammunition, but guns and bows will be available for those who do not have their own or wish to try other models.


Participants must be 18 or older. Enrollment is limited. The deadline for registration is July 1, and forms are available on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/bow or by phone at (906) 228-6561. This is a rain or shine event. For more information, contact Sharon Pitz at (906) 228-6561 or e-mail [email protected].

Road-Killed Deer More Apparent as Spring Arrives

As spring comes to Michigan, road-killed deer become more apparent as snow melts, causing concern for some motorists. The Department of Natural Resources reminds citizens that disposal of road-killed deer is generally the responsibility of the local road commission.


If property owners find a dead deer on their property that was likely hit by a vehicle, it is their responsibility to properly dispose of the carcass, provided that they choose to do anything at all. Dead deer and other carrion do not present any special human health risks in most situations, but do provide food for scavengers and other wildlife.  If property owners choose to do something that makes the carrion less available to pets and scavengers, then the carcass can be buried on site, care being taken to make sure it is completely covered.

Deer carcasses also can be disposed of at a landfill that takes general household refuse.


People who see distressed animals, such as deer, can report them to the local DNR office, but should not assume the deer is ill unless they can walk right up to them. Many times deer emerging from wintering yards may appear thin and stressed, but that is often their natural condition after a long winter. If a deer runs off when you approach it, there is no reason for concern.  But if an animal allows you to walk right up to it, that’s a sign that it may be ill and the local DNR office should be notified.


The DNR reminds property owners that there is a permanent ban on baiting and feeding deer in the Lower Peninsula.

New Volunteer Effort to Provide Disinfection Stations at Boat Launches

A new volunteer effort is underway to establish boat disinfection stations at state boat launch sites to help slow the spread of a deadly fish disease, the Department of Natural Resources said today.


The effort will establish disinfection stations at boat launches around the state to slow the spread of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) in Michigan waters. The citizen volunteer initiative is being led by Jack Hartmann of Eagle Harbor and the Michigan Lakes and Streams Associations.


“In order to be effective in reducing the risk from VHS, we need the public involved, and these stations are an excellent way to engage our boaters and anglers,” said DNR Director Rebecca Humphries.


The effort, guided by DNR staff, has led to the development of a clear set of instructions on how to establish disinfection stations away from boat launch ramps, the availability of an excellent disinfectant, and instructions for boaters on how to properly disinfect their vessels. All of this info will be available on the Michigan Lakes and Streams Association website www.mlswa.org and allow lake associations, boat launch operators and other interested members of the public to get boat disinfection stations established. 


While the disinfection stations will not completely safeguard waters from being infected by new fish diseases or invasion 

species, they will help in the effort and will engage the public as partners in slowing and preventing the spread of fish diseases and invasive species.


“A system of boat disinfection stations is another positive step in partnering with the public to stem the spread of serious fish diseases and invasive species in the state’s waters.” said Kelley Smith, chief of the DNR Fisheries Division.  “We encourage lake associations and other interested groups to help establish these voluntary stations around the state.”


Interested parties that wish to establish disinfection stations at boat launching ramps are reminded that they will need to get a permit from the entity that owns or operates the facility and that it is the responsibility of the volunteer groups to maintain the station and the equipment. 


“It is very important that all of the proper permits are obtained before moving forward with the disinfection stations.  The review process may take several weeks to determine the feasibility for each site and to ensure proper locations for installation are identified,” said Jason Fleming of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division.


If the boat launching facility is a DNR operated facility, then the local DNR administrating unit should be contacted for initiating the permit process, Fleming said.  All other public administered boat launch facilities, whether they be community, county, or federal, will require approval from those agencies for setting up a disinfection station.

DNR Frog Survey Begins Its 14th Year

The DNR announced the start of the 14th annual statewide frog and toad survey coordinated each year by the department’s Wildlife Division.


Declining populations of frog, toads and other amphibians have been documented worldwide since the 1980s.  Studies suggest amphibians are disappearing due to habitat loss, pollution, disease, and collection. Michigan’s annual survey efforts help biologists keep tabs on frog and toad abundance and distribution in the state.


“We have collected a large, valuable data set to help us evaluate the condition of Michigan’s frog and toad populations,” said Lori Sargent, the DNR’s survey coordinator.


The surveys are conducted by volunteer observers along a

statewide system of permanent survey routes, each consisting of ten wetland sites.  These sites are visited three times during spring when frogs and toads are actively breeding.  Observers listen for calling frogs and toads at each site, identify the species present, and make an estimate of abundance.


“There are more than 400 routes statewide, running through every Michigan county.  We add routes every year but we lose a few every year as well.  The continued success of the program is dependent on strong volunteer support,” said Sargent.


More information on the Frog and Toad Survey and other projects supported by the Nongame Fish and Wildlfie Fund is available on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr.



Ohio Spring Turkey Hunting Season Opens April 20

Youth-only hunt set for Saturday and Sunday, April 18-19

COLUMBUS, OH - Spring wild turkey hunting opens in all 88 Ohio counties on Monday, April 20, according to the Ohio DNR. The season continues through Sunday, May 17.


"Based on brood observations, hunters can expect statewide harvest numbers that are similar to last year," said ODNR wildlife biologist Mike Reynolds. "However, counties in southern Ohio that experienced a 17-year cicada emergence last summer may see a noticeable increase in jakes this spring due to high brood survival."


Hunters harvested 20,389 wild turkeys during last year's youth and spring turkey seasons. Reynolds added that Ohio's current wild turkey population is around 200,000. He anticipates as many as 75,000 people, not counting private landowners hunting on their own property, will enjoy Ohio's popular spring wild turkey season.


A special youth-only turkey hunt for those ages 17 and younger will be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 18-19. Young hunters must have their hunting licenses and spring wild turkey permits in order to participate and must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older. 

The young hunter's turkey season is open statewide with the exception of Lake LaSuAn State Wildlife Area in Williams County. Legal hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to sunset each day during the two-day youth season.


The wild turkey is Ohio's largest game bird. It stands 3 to 4 feet tall and may weigh up to 27 pounds. Legal hunting hours for the regular spring season are one-half hour before sunrise until noon. Hunters are required to have a hunting license and a spring turkey-hunting permit and can take one bearded turkey per day. A second spring turkey permit can be purchased, allowing hunters to take a limit of two bearded wild turkeys.


Shotguns using shot, longbows and crossbows may be used to hunt wild turkeys. It is unlawful to hunt turkeys over bait, to use a live decoy or electronic calling device, or to shoot a wild turkey while it is in a tree. A wild turkey must be properly tagged and taken to an official check station by 2 p.m. on the day it is harvested.


The Division of Wildlife advises turkey hunters to wear hunter orange clothing when entering, leaving, or moving through hunting areas in order to remain visible to others. Additional turkey hunting information is available at www.wildohio.com.


Lake Michigan sport fish harvests down in 2008

MADISON – High fuel prices in summer 2008 and bad fishing weather contributed to across-the-board decreases in the number of trout and salmon caught by Lake Michigan anglers in 2008, state fisheries official say.


Lower forage base levels may have contributed as well to the lower harvests, and for chinook, a lake-wide reduction in stocking levels since 2006 also may have shown up in anglers’ creels in 2008, they say.


Anglers spent a total of 2.5 million hours fishing Lake Michigan and tributaries, down from 3.1 million hours the previous year. While angler effort has been slowly declining in Lake Michigan since the 1980s, anglers spent less time on the water in 2008 than in any other year than 2000, angler surveys show.


“The weather was off for fishing, and with gas at $4 a gallon, more anglers decided they didn’t want to go out and look for the fish,” says Brad Eggold, Southern Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor for the DNR.  Unusual weather patterns kept the chinook farther away from shore and scattered throughout the water column, and the coho fishing also didn’t follow its normal pattern of starting off strong in spring in Kenosha area waters and slowly moving northward, Eggold says.


“In the past, when chinook and coho numbers dropped, boaters went out 12 miles off shore to locate and catch steelhead,” he says. “This didn’t happen this year, most likely due to gas prices and consequently the catch for steelhead are low as are the overall salmon and trout catch.”


Anglers who fish Lake Michigan tributaries were the only category of anglers tracked in the survey that actually spent more time chasing their quarry in 2008 than the previous year.

Wisconsin anglers pulled in more than 650,000 fish of all species from Lake Michigan, with decreases in harvests of brook, rainbow, brown and lake trout, as well as yellow perch, and chinook and coho salmon. Lake Michigan anglers harvested 256,796 chinook in 2008; that places it in the top 10 years of harvest but down from the phenomenal 431,143 the previous year. The fish were larger, a good sign that the reduction in chinook stocking instituted by Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan in 2006 is working to bring chinook numbers closer in line with the forage base to sustain good fishing into the future, Eggold says.


“Chinook stocking was reduced lake-wide by 25 % in 2006 to balance the amount of forage per numbers of fish,” says Eggold. “Because of the salmon’s maturity schedule, we saw little or no effect on harvest in 2007. The fewer, but larger fish in 2008 could be a sign that the reductions are doing what we needed them to do.”


What can anglers expect for Lake Michigan fishing in 2009?


“Gas prices are half the price they were a year ago and provided the weather cooperates and prey base stays adequate, anglers should continue to see solid numbers of chinook and a bounce back in coho,” says Eggold.


Additional information on chinook fishing can be found on the DNR Web site, including a chart showing overall trout and salmon harvests, and harvests broken down by species, in addition to more information on chinook salmon; the best seasons for Lake Michigan year-round chinook shore fishing.


More information on Lake Michigan fisheries is also available on the DNR Web site. The Lake Michigan Hotline at (414) 382-7920 features up-to-date fishing reports and conditions.

For More Info: Brad Eggold (414) 382-7921

Spring Fish and Wildlife Rules Hearings April 13 in all counties of state

Held in conjunction with Wisconsin Conservation Congress county meetings

MADISON – Citizens across Wisconsin have an opportunity to share their opinions on proposed changes or present new ideas in the management of Wisconsin’s fish and wildlife resources at the 2009 Department of Natural Resources Annual Spring Fish and Wildlife Rule Hearings and Wisconsin Conservation Congress annual county meetings.


The hearings and meetings will be held starting at 7 p.m. April 13 at locations in every Wisconsin county. Department of Natural Resources staff representing fisheries, wildlife and law enforcement will be available before the start to answer questions related to the spring hearing questionnaire.


The dual annual hearing and meeting is a keystone in Wisconsin’s history of providing opportunity for citizens to share their opinions on proposed changes or new ideas in the management of Wisconsin’s fish and wildlife resources.


“This year marks the Wisconsin Conservation Congress’ 75th Anniversary,” stated Kurt Thiede, DNR liaison with the Conservation Congress. “The congress and specifically these annual hearings serve an important role in providing citizens in this state with a voice on Natural Resource issues.”


This year the questionnaire contains 91 questions. Fifty-five of these questions are rule change proposals from the department, and the remainder of the questions are advisory questions proposed by the Congress or the Natural Resources Board.


During the DNR hearing portion, citizens will be allowed to vote on changes to fish and wildlife rules proposed by the DNR and the Natural Resources Board.


All votes recorded are advisory only and are presented to the Natural Resources Board at their May meeting in a summary of public opinion.


Proposals related to turkey hunting would: extend the fall season to include most of December, except in the northern-most zones; expand to more areas a successful trial season that has allowed the use of dogs for fall turkey hunting; and could make registering birds easier through a call-in system. Bobcat hunters and trappers will be able to weigh in on a proposal to lengthen that season but split it into two time periods so that people who prefer to hunt late could hunt

much later, through January. There are many proposals related to specific department properties that accomplish things like changing or eliminating refuges, improving waterfowl hunting, allowing the harvest stocked of hen pheasants, modifying deer hunting opportunities, and more.


Fisheries proposals include eliminating the requirement for barbless hooks during the early catch and release trout season, clarifying rules related to use of remote controlled devices for fishing, and adjusting walleye regulations on some northern lakes to decrease invasive smelt populations and increase natural walleye production.


Other fisheries proposals would provide clarification and consistency to the fishing rules that apply to sloughs, bayous and flowages connected to certain inland rivers, and would allow quick, basic background checks for past illegal activity for people who apply to serve as DNR-sponsored volunteer angler education instructors or mentors as part of a DNR sponsored learn-to-hunt program. These checks are now done for volunteer ATV, boating, snowmobiling or hunter education instructor.


During the Conservation Congress portion of the meeting, citizens will elect local delegates to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, indicate support-nonsupport for a number of fish and wildlife rule change proposals developed by the Congress, and may introduce citizen-initiated resolutions at their local meetings. The Wisconsin Conservation Congress is a legislatively created advisory body to the Department of Natural Resources.


While written comments are not accepted on WCC advisory questions, citizens may submit written comment on the DNR proposed rules. Written comments on the proposed hunting and trapping regulations should be submitted via U.S. mail to Scott Loomans, DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707. Written comments on the proposed fishing regulations may be submitted via U.S. mail to Joe Hennessy, DNR Bureau of Fisheries Management, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707. Written comments must be postmarked no later than April 14, 2009.


The spring hearings questionnaire listing and discussing items scheduled for consideration during both the DNR and WCC portions of the evening is available on the Spring Rules Hearings pages of the DNR Web site or by contacting any DNR Service Center or by calling Kurt Thiede (608) 266-0580.


For More Info: Kurt Thiede (608) 266-0580

Youth turkey hunt April 11-12

The 2009 Turkey Youth Hunt occurs April 11-12 statewide. The two-day spring youth hunt, successfully initiated in 2007, occurs each year during the weekend preceding the opening of the regular season. The Youth Hunt allows opportunity for close one-on-one mentoring of future hunters in a relaxed atmosphere without competition for hunting spots from regular season hunters.


“Study after study has shown that it takes a hunter to make a hunter,” said Hull. “With all the activities available today, getting out with a son, a daughter, a niece, nephew or a family friend can mean a lot. Spending time with a youth, passing on your skills and passion for your sport can be a big step toward 

nurturing a lifelong commitment to conservation of our wildlife resources.”


There is no special application procedure for the youth hunt, and young hunters must either apply through the lottery drawing for a tag or purchase a left over tag. During the two-day youth hunt, only one male or bearded turkey may be harvested per hunter regardless of the number of permits issued. Anyone interested in the youth hunt can find additional details in the spring turkey hunting regulations or on the DNR Web site.


For More Info: Scott Hull (608) 267-7861 or Sharon Fandel (608) 261-8458

Spring turkey season opens April 15

MADISON – With the April 15 opening of the first period of the 2009 Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Season just around the corner, state wildlife officials say hunters should be able to look forward to a good season, and they are encouraging experienced hunters to consider taking a youth out during the April 11-12 statewide Turkey Youth Hunt.


More than 154,000 spring turkey permits were issued in the preference drawing for the spring 2009 Wisconsin wild turkey season. Approximately 70,900 leftover tags were available for sale on a zone-per-day basis beginning this March 23. In total, more than 225,000 permits were made available for this spring’s hunt, a modest increase from the 2008 season where nearly 213,000 permits were offered.


This will also mark the first spring turkey season under the new seven zone structure. The zone consolidation was rolled out during last fall’s turkey season. Fewer, larger turkey

management zones will ultimately give hunters more flexibility to move about in search of wild turkey. Hull also noted that while the overall turkey population is generally very healthy, within the larger zones, hunters may see areas where populations increased and others that will be down a little from last season.


There were more than 208,500 permits issued for the 2008 spring season and hunters harvested a record 52,880 turkeys with a success rate of about 25 percent. Spring season success rates over the past few years have been in the 23-25 percent range.


“With a little cooperation from Mother Nature, we can expect to see the hunter success rate remain relatively stable,” Hull said.

The 2009 spring turkey season starts on April 15 and consists of six, five-day time periods that end on May 24.

Outdoor cooking class offered May 2

BABCOCK, Wis. -- Great food makes any outdoor experience better. Hunters, anglers, campers, and others interested in outdoor cooking can join the Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center staff to learn and practice techniques for creating successful outdoor meals.


Topics include building a proper cooking fire, equipment, cooking techniques, menu ideas and recipes. Lunch will be whatever the participants cook. The course will be offered Saturday, May 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Registration is limited to the first 25 people who mail in their $25 per person fee by April 24. Participants may stay overnight in the center’s dorm either prior to or following the event for a donation of $15 per person per night.

Checks should be made out to DNR-Skills Center. Include the name of the class, the names of each participant, and the address, e-mail address, and daytime phone number of one person in each party, and send to: Sandhill-DNR, Box 156, Babcock, WI 54413.


The Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center is located 20 miles west of Wisconsin Rapids on County Highway X, 1 mile north of Highway 80 near Babcock, Wisconsin on the 9,000 acre Department of Natural Resources Sandhill Wildlife Area.


FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Sandhill Skills Center at: (715) 884-6333 or (715) 884-2437



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