Zebra mussels have been found in Maple Lake in Douglas County, and several lakes downstream now will be designated as infested waters because of the likelihood zebra mussels will spread there, too,
DNR staff searched several docks, lifts and near shore areas in Maple Lake and found numerous small zebra mussels attached to several pieces of equipment in the north end of the lake. Further searches found additional small zebra mussels at the south end of the lake.
While no zebra mussels were found in Lake Reno or Turtle and Long lakes, these lakes will be designated as infested waters, the DNR said, because water from Maple Lake can flow into Lake Reno, and both Turtle and Long lakes are located downstream from Maple Lake.
Searches will occur on Lake Reno later this fall when docks and boat lifts are pulled from its shores.
The designations mean boaters can expect an increased presence of decontamination units and crews on these lakes.
“These recent discoveries reinforce the importance of practicing proper aquatic invasive species preventative methods,” said Joe Eisterhold, DNR invasive species specialist at Itasca State Park. “We want to remind folks to inspect all water-related equipment when it is removed from the water at the end of the season and report any suspected zebra mussel discoveries to the local DNR area office.”
The DNR said lakeshore owners should also keep in mind that moving docks and boat lifts from one lake to another is a serious issue. Boat lifts and docks are of particular concern because they sit in the water for extended periods, giving adult zebra mussels a greater opportunity to attach themselves.
State law requires that all boat lifts, docks and swim rafts removed from any lake, river or stream remain out of the water for 21 days before being placed into another water body.
First-time successful deer hunters in Wisconsin are being offered a free certificate by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to help preserve the memory.
Starting with the 2013 archery season and continuing through the gun hunt, first-time successful deer hunters can submit their information and a picture of their deer by visiting dnr.wi.gov, and searching keyword “deer.”
Information about when and where the deer was harvested, who they were hunting with and more can be displayed on the certificate. The individually customized certificate can also include a picture of the hunter if they submit one. Certificates will be sent electronically back to the successful hunter within a few weeks.
The certificate is currently for first deer only but may be expanded in the future to include other game species like turkey or bear.
“We hope the certificates will be a great memento that can be displayed proudly, and help preserve memories throughout a long hunting career,” said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist. “It’s our little way of saying congratulations to all of the first-time successful deer hunters. We wish them all many more years of successful hunts.”
For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov, and search keyword “deer.”
It's a trifecta: North Dakota has joined Minnesota and South Dakota in reporting a declining pheasant population.
North Dakota officials said ringnecks are down 30 percent from last year. Earlier this week, Minnesota reported a 29 percent decline, and last week South Dakota reported a 64 percent drop in pheasant numbers.
“Poor production this spring resulted in fewer young birds added to the population and a lower fall population in all areas of the state,” said Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department,
The number of broods was down 29 percent and the average brood size was down 10 percent.
Kohn cited continued land-use changes in the prime pheasant range, including removal of Conservation Reserve Program acres, grasslands converted to croplands and small grain fields converted to row crops; and continuous wet spring weather.
“Earlier this summer we thought it was possible that nesting season was delayed enough to avoid an influence from the cold, wet spring,” Kohn said, “but it now appears that wasn’t the case.”
Kohn said even though statistics reveal bird numbers are down statewide, there will still be local areas with good pheasant populations.
Statistics from southwestern North Dakota indicate the number of birds observed was down 25 percent from 2012, and the number of broods was down 22 percent. Observers counted 15 broods and 126 birds per 100 survey miles. The average brood size was 5.8.
Results from the southeast showed birds are down 43 percent from last year, and the number of broods down 42 percent. Observers counted five broods and 49 birds per 100 miles. The average brood size was 5.9.
Statistics from the northwest indicated pheasants are down 39 percent from last year, with broods down 32 percent. Observers recorded six broods and 48 birds per 100 miles. Average brood size was 5.5.
The northeast district, generally containing secondary pheasant habitat with much of it lacking good winter cover, showed one brood and seven birds per 100 miles. Average brood size was 4.7. Number of birds observed was down 35 percent, and the number of broods recorded was down 33 percent.
The 2013 regular pheasant season opens Oct. 12 and continues through Jan. 5, 2014. The two-day youth pheasant hunting weekend, when legally licensed residents and nonresidents ages 15 and younger can hunt statewide, is set for Oct. 5-6.
More bad news for Minnesota pheasant hunters: The state's pheasant population is down 29 percent from last year, due to a long winter and cold, wet spring and loss of habitat.
Just last week, South Dakota reported a 64 percent decline in its ringneck population.
Minnesota’s 2013 pheasant index is 64 percent below the 10-year average and 72 percent below the long-term average.
The Department of Natural Resources predicts pheasant hunters will harvest about 246,000 roosters this fall – which would be down 18,000 from last year's estimated harvest of 264,000. It's also less than half the number of pheasants taken during the 2005-2008 seasons when hunting was exceptionally good.
Officials said the recent loss of habitat is hurting the pheasant population
Enrollment in the federal Conservation Reserve Program declined by 63,700 acres in Minnesota’s pheasant range over the last year and contracts for nearly 400,000 acres of statewide CRP lands are scheduled to expire during the next 3 years. If not re-enrolled, this would reduce CRP acres in Minnesota by 30 percent. High land rental rates and competing uses for farmland diminish the economic attractiveness of farmland conservation programs.
Meanwhile, the DNR said the highest pheasant counts were in the southwest region, where observers reported 51 birds per 100 miles of survey driven. Hunters should find good harvest opportunities in west-central, east-central and south-central Minnesota.
The DNR said high spring precipitation and below average temperatures hurt nesting this year. This year’s average hatch date was delayed to June 20, which is 11 days later than the 10-year average of June 9.
Here's more from DNR news release:
Although fewer broods were seen, brood size was larger than last year and comparable to the long-term average. Actual reproduction rates may be higher than the survey suggests. Hens that were successful nesting later in the season tend to be underrepresented in roadside data and it is possible that hens were still nesting or in heavier cover with young chicks during the survey period.
The pheasant population estimate is part of the DNR’s annual August roadside wildlife survey, which began in 1955. DNR conservation officers and wildlife managers in the farmland region of Minnesota conduct the survey during the first half of August. This year's survey consisted of 171 routes, each 25 miles long, with 152 routes located in the ring-necked pheasant range.
Observers drive each route in early morning and record the number and species of wildlife they see. The data provide an index of relative abundance and are used to monitor annual changes and long-term population trends of pheasants, gray (Hungarian) partridge, cottontail rabbits, white-tailed jackrabbits, mourning doves and other wildlife.
The gray partridge index also decreased from last year and remained below the 10-year average. The cottontail rabbit index increased from last year but stayed below the 10-year and long-term average. The jackrabbit index was 87 percent below the long-term average. Finally, the mourning dove index was 20 percent below last year and lower than the 10-year and long-term averages.