Natural Resources

Wisconsin DNR

It might seem strange, but a tree expert says winter is the best time to prune trees to help prevent oak wilt.

Oak wilt is a tree fungal disease that chokes off an oak trees vascular system, like plugging up a person's veins and arteries. An infected tree will die from the top down. Beetles also spread the disease.

Minocqua Wants DNR To Reconsider Deer Feeding Ban

18 hours ago

The Minocqua Town Board is urging the governor and local state representatives to pressure the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to reconsider the deer-feeding ban enacted for Oneida, Vilas and Forest counties.

The ban went into effect this past month after deer were discovered with chronic wasting disease – CWD - - at a Three Lakes game preserve last December.

Wisconsin's Natural Resources Board this week approved a record number of bear harvest permits.

DNR wildlife biologist Dave MacFarland of Rhinelander told the board the goal is to maintain populations in the Northwoods. They would also like to stabilize the population south of Highway 64, and reduce the population in northwestern Wisconsin. He says bear population numbers and conflicts are the highest in that part of the state. MacFarland says the DNR would authorize 11,500 permits with a bear harvest quota of 4.750. He says interest in bear hunting continues to grow...

The DNR is taking another round of public comment on a proposed 10-year panfish management plan.

DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter says the plan aims to improve panfish opportunities for anglers including restoring size structure on lakes where smaller fish have become more prevalent in recent years, improving habitat, engaging anglers and supporting research on panfish. He says other species have their own plan..

Hunters Voice Concerns At Deer Advisory meeting

Jan 22, 2016

The hunting fraternity aired a host of concerns, including the ban on deer baiting, at Thursday’s Vilas County Deer Advisory Council meeting in Conover.

Several citizens complained about low deer numbers, the impact that predators such as coyotes and bobcats have on deer, and a couple voices saying it was time to restrict the number of antlerless deer youth can bag.

Deer feeding and baiting in Oneida, Vilas and Forest counties is now prohibited after a deer killed on a Three Lakes deer farm last December tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

The mild winter has had a positive effect on most species of animals in the Northwoods. That assessment from a DNR wildlife biologist.

Sam Jonas works out of Mercer for Iron and Ashland counties....

"....this winter has been pretty mild so far. We've had a recent cold snap, but overall I'd say this winter has been really mild on Wisconsin's wildlife, particularly deer....."

Two people have died in separate snowmobile crashes over the weekend.

The Vilas County Sheriff's Department reports a single crash on South Crystal Lake Road in Land O' Lakes Saturday morning.

Investigators report the driver failed to negotiate a curve along a marked snowmobile route. The snowmobile left the trail, striking several trees. The driver was thrown off the sled. The name of the driver was not released.

Steven Thomas-USFWS

While the process is likely far from over, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has posted final rules to preserve the Long-Eared Bat.

The bat is threatened by White-Nose Syndrome, a fungus that has killed bats by the millions.

The Super El Nino of 2015-16

Jan 13, 2016

People who bait deer for hunting and feeding deer for recreational viewing in Forest, Oneida and Vilas counties will not be able to do that beginning Monday.

The DNR has banned those activities after the discovery of a Chronic Wasting Disease deer killed at a Three Lakes deer farm last month. The ban will also have an effect on businesses who provide supplies for those activities says DNR section chief Tami Ryan...

You've heard warnings about thin ice on Northwoods bodies of water, and Wisconsin Public Service is hoping people stay away from the running water under the ice at hydroelectric dams.

Leah VanZile from WPS says the temptation to go out on the ice lures people, but right now the ice is too thin...

Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program

The DNR recently acknowledged the work of volunteers across the state who helped turtles get across busy roadways. Volunteers also received permission from local officials to put "turtle crossing" signs in places where the slow-moving creatures cross roads to get to nesting areas.

Northwoods Land Trust

The Northwoods Land Trust of Eagle River has purchased what the Executive Director calls a critical parcel to preserve public access to Interstate Falls, an eighteen-foot waterfall on the Montreal River not far from Hurley and Ironwood. It's also known as Peterson Falls, Siebert Falls or Montreal Falls. The Northwoods Land Trust's Bryan Pierce describes the long process that led to the purchase...

Following the deaths of two men north of Chippewa Falls last weekend, a DNR official is again asking eager ice fishers to wait for the soft water to turn hard.

A man fell through very thin ice on Glen Loch Flowage, a second man tried to rescue him and both drowned.

DNR Conservation Warden Scott Thiede in Eau Claire says ice is never 100 percent safe, especially with this unusually mild early winter weather...

A limited number of Oneida county state-funded snowmobile trails will open for the season this Saturday morning.

Officials say several trails will remain closed until further notice, including all Three Lakes trails, all Hodag/Rhinelander area trails, portions of the Willow region,and portions of the Minocqua Forest Riders Area. All lake trails in Oneida County remain closed and will stay that way until a local snowmobile club marks the lake trail as safe. Trails remain in rough condition. Vilas county trails opened this week.