Baiting and feeding ban in Oconto and Menominee counties will begin Nov. 1

FROM: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Baiting and feeding ban in Oconto and Menominee counties will begin Nov. 1

GREEN BAY — As required by state law, a ban on baiting for hunting and feeding deer for recreational viewing or other purposes in Oconto and Menominee counties will take effect Nov. 1, 2016.

Chronic wasting disease was detected in a captive white-tailed deer on a private hunting preserve in Oconto County and reported by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in late September.

State law requires that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources enact a ban on feeding and baiting of deer in a county in which the county or a portion of the county is within a 10-mile radius of the known location of a captive or free-roaming domestic or wild animal that has been tested and confirmed to be positive for chronic wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis.

Menominee County is within a 10-mile radius of the Oconto County property on which a CWD-positive deer was found. This Oconto County location is also within 10 miles of Shawano County (2.1 miles); however, Shawano County was already designated as CWD-affected in 2014, which means a baiting and feeding ban is already in place. CWD has not been detected in the wild deer population in Oconto and Menominee counties.


Department staff are aware of the challenge such a sudden change may present for hunters, wildlife watchers and businesses that sell bait and feed. It is important to note that the sale of bait and feed is not restricted, and other uses for these products are allowed. With the ultimate goal of having a healthy wild deer herd, department staff would like to thank Wisconsin’s citizens for their continued role in monitoring herd health and CWD.

Individuals may still feed birds and small mammals, provided the feeding devices are within 50 yards of a human dwelling and at a sufficient height or design to prevent access by deer.

For more information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin, visit the department’s website,, and search keywords “bait” and “CWD” respectively.





Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approves statewide trout and panfish proposals

MADISON, Wis. – Proposals to simplify trout rules, boost panfish populations on roughly 100 lakes statewide and bring consistency to some fishing regulations on Wisconsin waters bordering Minnesota gained approval Wednesday from the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board. All three initiatives by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources were part of a larger fisheries rules package developed with extensive public input and modified to address the feedback received. The new rules will go into effect prior to the 2016-17 fishing season. Following are highlights. Trout Since 2011, the department has held 31 public meetings, conducted three surveys and convened additional task force meetings to develop the trout regulations. The new regulations, designed to protect and enhance fish populations, also create more uniformity for anglers who fish on different trout streams and within small geographic areas.
Under the new system, Green means go fish, with no length limit, a bag limit of five fish and no bait restrictions; Yellow means caution, with an 8 inch length limit, a bag limit of three fish and no bait restrictions; and Red means special regulations are in place. Anglers are advised to stop and understand the regulations before fishing.
The new rules also extend the opening of the early catch and release season in waters where it currently exists to the first Saturday in January and runs to the day before the regular fishing opener with no five-day closure period. The fall season extends from the current Sept. 30 to Oct. 15. Panfish The new panfish rules follow three years of angler surveys, focus groups and more than 30 public meetings. The rules seek to increase the size of panfish on lakes that show high growth potential but aren’t meeting management goals, likely from heavy harvest. One of three regulations will be applied to 94 lakes and evaluated for biological and social effectiveness. Ultimately the best regulation to address underperforming lakes will be selected and applied to these and other similar lakes.
The daily limits on the high potential lakes will take one of the following forms: 25/10. Under this rule, a total of 25 panfish may be kept per day but no more than 10 of any one species. Spawning season 15/5. Under this rule, a total of 25 panfish may be kept per day except during May and June when a total of 15 panfish may be kept but no more than five of any one species. 15/5. Under this rule, a total of 15 panfish may be kept per day but no more than five of any one species.
Wisconsin-Minnesota Boundary Waters:
Also on Wednesday, the Natural Resources Board approved making muskellunge, lake sturgeon and shovelnose sturgeon regulations on boundary waters consistent with those in Minnesota. The rules will allow catch and release angling for lake sturgeon on the St. Louis River and Mississippi River downstream of the Red Wing dam from June 16 through April 14.

Wisconsin Deer Hunting: 13 management units will not have an antlerless hunt

anterless deer

MADISON – The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board has approved deer harvest quotas for 2015 designed to manage deer towards population objectives established for each deer management unit.
In 2015, 13 management units will not have an antlerless quota, while the rest of Wisconsin will have a quota of 224,735 antlerless deer. The issuance of bonus deer hunting permits, in addition to free farmland zone tags, will include 18,450 tags valid on public access lands and 125,375 valid on private lands.
These recommendations represent the next step in a new era of Wisconsin deer management and mark the first year in which County Deer Advisory Councils played a major role in establishing deer harvest quotas and permit level recommendations. In February, the Natural Resources Board approved each council’s recommendations for three-year deer population objectives.
Deer management units will primarily follow county boundaries, with each larger unit divided into public and private land-types to address differences in deer distribution and help provide for an increase in deer numbers on public hunting lands.
As a reminder, 2015 bonus antlerless tags will go on sale in August.

DNR investigating manure spill near Brothertown


BROTHERTOWN, Wis. The Department of Natural Resources is investigating a liquid manure spill at the Meyer Farms dairy, located at the corner of St. Charles Road and County Highway G near the town of Brothertown. 

Containment and cleanup are currently underway, road culverts have been blocked to hold manure on site and vacuum trucks called in to collect spilled manure.  The department, Calumet County Resource Management Department and Meyer Farms are working together to inform neighbors and monitor drinking water safety in the area.

The department has determined there is a risk of groundwater impacts due to shallow bedrock in the area and advises private well owners to closely monitor water quality.  Any changes in water color or odor should be immediately reported to the DNR and local health officials. 

The Meyer Farms is not classified as a CAFO, or concentrated animal feeding operation, by the department. 

DNR’s new public input process helping citizens shape agency direction



MADISON – Wisconsin residents are taking advantage of a new process adopted by the Natural Resources Board for providing public input in helping shape the direction of the Department of Natural Resources.

Department Secretary Cathy Stepp spoke this week at the board’s final 2014 meeting and provided an update on the new policy, noting that since the agency implemented the process in early 2013, more than 80 percent of the completed guidance the agency posted on its web site received public comments.

“And we didn’t just ask for comments, we listened,” said Stepp. “Most of the documents that received public comment were changed due to that input. That’s another big step toward transparency for us, and something we want to continue.”

Stepp said every year the department develops guidance to help staff make decisions and implement programs when they don’t have specific details in laws or codes, such as guidance on issuing air or water quality permits and implementing fish & wildlife initiatives.

In the past, however, Stepp noted that agency stakeholders felt the DNR was making decisions and implementing programs that directly impacted customers without those individuals or businesses either being notified or being able to provide input into the process.

“Now we have something in place that can helps us change that perception,” said Stepp. “And from the early returns, it seems to be working.”

Step said from early 2013 to fall 2014, there were 104 documents posted on the DNR’s web site for public comment. For guidance the agency completed, 82 percent received public comments and, according to Stepp, 84 percent of the documents receiving public comment were changed due to that input.

Information on the new guidance development process is available by going to the DNR website,, and typing in the keywords “program guidance.” An example of program guidance is also posted on the department’s web page.

DNR closes Wolf Harvest Zone 6 to hunting and trapping, effective 8 a.m., December 5.



MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has closed Wolf Harvest Zone 6 to hunting and trapping of gray wolves effective December 5, 8 a.m. At that time, the zone is closed to any further hunting and trapping of wolves for the 2014-2015 wolf harvest season.

With this closure, a total of 5 wolf harvest zones have closed this season. Wolf hunters and trappers are advised that they can currently continue to pursue wolves in Zone 3.

The department will announce additional zone closures through news releases, notification at, and via the wolf call-in number, 1-855-299-9653. It is each hunter and trapper’s responsibility to verify and abide by zone closures. The department encourages hunters and trappers to check the website and call-in number daily.

Wisconsin opening weekend nine-day gun deer hunt report

MADISON – Excitement was high throughout the state Saturday and Sunday, and 90,281 deer were registered in Wisconsin during the opening weekend of the nine-day deer season. This number is based on preliminary call-in numbers collected from registration stations by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff.

Hunters saw a variety of conditions on Saturday, ranging from what many described as “ideal,” with snow cover and comfortable temperatures, to fog and rain. Many hunters who headed into the woods Sunday experienced fog and precipitation across a large portion of the state, and many wildlife managers and wardens in the field described Sunday as being very quiet.

Of 90,281 deer registered over the weekend, nearly 1,500 were registered by those who were selected to participate in the pilot program for an electronic registration system that will be available to all hunters in 2015. As expected, the statewide deer kill is down most significantly in the far northern counties.

“As we communicated throughout the past year, many factors influence deer numbers in the north that include severe winters, comparatively more large predators than in years past, land ownership patterns, and habitat issues to name a few,” said DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang. “We are attempting to increase deer numbers in the north, so many counties have a buck-only season framework this year which is intended to allow herd growth.”    

A breakdown of opening weekend registrations by DNR region and county is available at, keyword “deer.”

Enthusiasm for hunting remains high

The department’s license sales office reported 589,830 gun deer licenses sold by midnight, Nov. 21, prior to the start of the season Saturday. Deer license and tag sales will continue through the hunting seasons.

Approximately 22,000 new hunters have purchased licenses to deer hunt for the first time, or for the first time in 10 years. Female deer hunters have continued to increase in number, and accounted for 35 percent of resident First Time Gun Deer licenses and 36 percent of resident First Time Junior Gun Deer licenses.

“It is exciting to see all the female hunters so far this year,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “We’re also seeing a large number of younger hunters and first-time hunters overall – traditions are being passed down and it is great to see such strong participation.”

In the days leading up to the nine-day season opener, the DNR call center set a record for calls handled, and provided excellent customer service to a number of hunters. On Friday, Nov. 21, the call center fielded 4,734 customer contacts, and From Nov. 1 through opening day, over 33,000 total calls were received. Hunters throughout Wisconsin have done an excellent job of learning new rules and regulations.

Hunters are encouraged to call toll free 1-888-WDNR-INFo (888-936-7463) with any questions. The line is staffed 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days per week.

Injury report

There were no hunting-related incidents recorded during the first two days of this year’s nine-day gun deer hunt. This year marks the second time in the last ten years 10 years that there were no hunting incidents investigated during opening weekend of the deer gun season.

Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller credits the good news to safety-conscience hunters and dedicated hunter safety instructors. “Wisconsin is dedicated to providing hunters a safe and enjoyable gun-deer season which starts with education,” Schaller said. “There are thousands of hunter safety instructors who give their expertise to others of all ages who participate in this tradition and hunters who follow the safety points taught (TABK) – and another safe opening weekend reflects this key educational aspect.”

For more information regarding hunter education and tips for safe hunting in Wisconsin, search keywords “safety tips.”

Stories from the field


Fleming with her first deer, an eight-point buck.
WDNR Photo

Darby Fleming, age 10, from Mt. Horeb, was on her first ever deer hunt with her dad, Brendan, when she harvested this nice 8-pt in Lafayette County. After pulling the trigger she said to dad, “I don’t think I shot it.” Dad assured her she had made a great shot.



Miller with his largest deer in twenty years of hunting.
WDNR Photo

Kyle Miller from Omro shot this 18-pt buck on Sunday morning south of Mount Horeb. He’s been hunting for 20 years and the largest deer he’d harvested previously was an 8-pt. He was happy and in spite of the steady cold rain at Barneveld where he registered his trophy, the buck attracted dozens of hunters, most of whom when they saw it gave a soft whistle and a Wow!



Gruse with her buck.
WDNR Photo

This buck was harvested in Marinette County by 12-year old Meghan Gruse from Oshkosh. She was out hunting with her grandpa, and when she called her dad to tell him, he could barely understand what she was saying because she was so excited!