Natural Resources

Focus on Loons
4:53 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Loon Symposium Highlights Role of Citizen Scientists

Citizens play an ever-important role in monitoring loons and gathering observational data.
Credit Mitch Mode

A conference on loons this weekend put the spotlight on citizen involvement in scientific research. 

Wildlife rehabilitator Marge Gibson of Antigo’s Raptor Education Group says the two-day Loon Symposium was unique in including citizens that collect observational data on loons.

“They are providing such a huge benefit to loon observation, and even giving this information back to the researchers.  And that to me was so exciting to see.” 

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Proposal to Monitor Those Effects
4:57 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Cutting Mercury Emissions Likely to Help Loons Reproduce

Loon populations in the Northwoods are increasing, but scientists think about 10 percent of loons are being impacted by mercury exposure.
Credit Mike Baird via

New state mercury emissions rules for power plants could have significant benefits for loons.

A Northwoods researcher is hoping to quantify those benefits over the next decade. 

Wisconsin DNR Toxicologist Mike Meyer says when loons consume mercury through eating fish, it can inhibit the birds’ reproduction.

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History Afield
9:57 am
Thu October 23, 2014

The Once-Popular Art of Hunting With Live Decoys

It was once common practice for duck hunters to use live decoys to lure waterfowl.
Credit Wisconsin Historical Society

It’s duck hunting season in the northwoods and while plenty of artificial decoys will be used by waterfowlers to lure birds within gun range one thing they won’t be using is live decoys.  

  This technique of waterfowl hunting was regulated out of existence in 1935, partly because of the severe drought of the early 1930s that devastated waterfowl populations.  But the practice was once common and even celebrated. 

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Declining Populations of Iconic Fish
1:20 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Scientists Investigate How Walleye Are Faring in Wisconsin Lakes

Populations of adult walleye are declining at an average rate of two percent per year.
Credit Eric Engbretson / US Fish and Wildlife Service

Researchers at the Wisconsin DNR are looking for answers as to why walleye populations are declining in the state.

DNR Research Scientist Gretchen Hansen says adult walleye numbers are declining statewide by an average of two percent per year. 

“So there’s a lot of variability.  So in some lakes, populations are going up, but in the majority of lakes populations are going down.  And a lot of that is driven by failed recruitment, so failed reproduction.” 

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Fieldwork Done For Now
10:56 am
Mon October 20, 2014

DNR Says It's Quiet on the GTAC Front

The Wisconsin DNR is waiting for the next move from Gogebic Taconite, now that the company has stopped fieldwork operations for the year.

DNR hydrologist and project lead Larry Lynch says activity on the proposed mine site wrapped up last month. 

“They stopped their data collection in regard to surface monitoring, so right now there’s really nothing going on on the site.  They also stopped their road improvement work on one of the access roads.” 

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Hunt Moving Quickly
10:27 am
Mon October 20, 2014

More Zones Close to Wolf Hunting

Credit Caninest via

A total of four zones will be closed to wolf hunting by the end of the day Monday.

Zone 5 will be the latest to close at 6:30 Monday, as hunters continue to quickly hit harvest quotas in the northern and central parts of the state.

Zones 1, 2 and 4 closed over the weekend.

The wolf harvest quota in Wisconsin’s third wolf hunting season is lower than it’s been in the past.  The statewide limit is 150, and more than half that number of wolves have already been taken.

The wolf hunt began on Wednesday.

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Just Four Days Into the Hunt
6:25 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Wolf Hunting Zone 2 Set to Close

Credit Derek Bakken

Just a few days into the wolf hunting season and one zone is already set to close.

Zone 2 includes Oneida, Vilas and Forest Counties.  It’s expected to meet its quota in a matter of hours and will close at noon tomorrow.

As DNR Carnivore Specialist Dave Macfarland explains, the total quota for Zone 2 is just 15 wolves.    

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Wildlife Matters with Jeremy Holtz
4:00 am
Thu October 16, 2014

When Adventuring Outdoors, Be Prepared for the Unexpected

Credit U.S. Forest Service

  When I lived in Colorado, I tried to get out hunting whenever I could. I usually went small game hunting, 

  seeking jackrabbits, rocky mountain cottontails, coyotes or grouse. I would try to use a combination of maps and atlases to find land open to public hunting. I would take my old AMC Gremlin as far down the trail as I could, and then I would start walking.

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Wolf Population Above State's Target
1:57 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Wisconsin's Third Wolf Hunt Set to Begin

Credit Caninest via

Wisconsin’s third wolf hunt begins Wednesday.

This season’s quota is 150 wolves, about a hundred fewer than the previous season.  That means 1500 people have been authorized to purchase a permit. 

DNR Carnivore Specialist Dave MacFarland says hunters and trappers that hope to harvest a wolf are likely to try and do so as soon as they can.    

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New app in mix
4:33 am
Tue October 14, 2014

VC Gets Grant To Promote Silent Trails


Vilas county has picked up nearly $40,000 to promote non-motorized trails.

The money comes from the Department of Tourism through its Joint-Effort Marketing grants which are used to advertise tourist-friendly activities.

Cindy Burzinski from Vilas County Tourism and Publicity says this is the second year of the grant...

" 2013. Vilas county received their first year JEM grant of $39,550 so we could promote the rich trail systems in the county. We figure with the first year JEM grant, we figure we had an economic impact of just around $300,000...."

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