October/November 2004 Now in our thirteenth year. www.Bdarn.com
Canada geese before the MVP migrants arrive in our state.
For 2004, the early September season will offer a five-bird-per-day
limit for the entire state, excluding the closed Burnett County
subzone. Geese harvested during this early season are not included
in the regular season harvest quota.
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Wisconsin will again be offering a youth waterfowl hunt on Sept.
18-19, offering hunters an opportunity to introduce a young person
to the waterfowl hunting experience.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kent Van Horn - (608) 266-8841
2004 upland wildlife fall hunting forecast
By Andrea Mezera, Assistant DNR Upland Wildlife Ecologist -
Ring-necked pheasant: wild populations stable; 19,000 pheasants
to be released. Selected public hunting grounds around Wisconsin
will be stocked with 19,000 pheasants raised at the Department
of Natural Resources game farm to provide hunting opportunity.
Hunters should check the pheasant hunting regulations and the
general hunting regulations so they are aware of the counties
in which a pheasant stamp is required and which public hunting
grounds have a 2 p.m. closure and/or allow hen pheasant hunting.
Hen hunting properties were selected because they had no wild
hens on or near them. It is illegal to shoot hen pheasants anywhere
else in Wisconsin, except on licensed game farms. Such shooting
would harm Wisconsin's wild pheasant population.
Preliminary pheasant crowing counts indicate stable wild pheasant
populations statewide. Coupled with a series of mild winters,
population estimates appear to be favorable. Although, cold temperatures
and wet weather this spring and summer are expected to have a
negative effect on productivity and brood survival.
Areas within the pheasant management counties that contain adequate
winter cover (cattail and shrub-carr marshes and thick switch
grass fields) and have more than 15 percent of the landscape
in idle grassland will have the highest pheasant densities. In
Wisconsin research has shown that wetlands are one of the most
important year-round cover types for pheasants.
Over the long-term throughout the Midwest, pheasant populations
have shown a decline, coinciding with changing agriculture and
land use patterns. Pheasants once relied on small grain and hay
fields for nesting and brood rearing. These areas are now being
replaced with larger row crops of corn and soybeans. It will
be important for hunters to identify areas with high quality
habitat and concentrate hunting efforts in that area.
A pheasant stamp is required to hunt pheasants in pheasant management
zones. Pheasant hunting opens statewide at noon Oct. 16 and closes
on Dec. 31. From Oct. 16-17, the daily bag limit is one cock
and possession limit is two. For the remainder of the season
the daily bag limit is two cocks and the possession limit is
four. Some public hunting grounds have both hen and cock pheasant
hunting (requires free permits and tags) and /or 2 p.m. closure
times. See the Special Pheasant pamphlet for details.
Ruffed grouse population continues to be at low end of cycle
The 2004 ruffed grouse spring drumming survey shows a 14 percent
decrease statewide in the number of drumming grouse heard during
roadside surveys compared to last spring. The statewide average
was 0.67 drums per stop in 2004 vs. 0.78 in 2003. The largest
decrease was in the northern region of the state where drumming
activity was down 17 percent compared to last year. The southeast
region was the only part of the state that showed an increase
(20 percent) in drumming activity. Wisconsin is currently on
the downward side of the population cycle and biologists expect
numbers to begin climbing in about a year or two. Depending upon
the hatching success this spring, grouse numbers may begin to
slowly increase this year.
Results are in line with the 10-year ruffed grouse cycle that
peaked back in 1999. Reduced grouse in the bag can be expected,
but these are great years to scout new hunting areas. Hunters
will not find uniformly high numbers of grouse across the landscape.
They will need to seek good habitat for ruffed grouse hunting
this year and may have to move around to find the pockets where
good numbers of birds can be found. Ruffed grouse use a variety
of habitat types, but young, early successional forest types
are most important when trying to find a good grouse hunting
The ruffed grouse season opens on Sept. 18 in the northern and
western zone and on Oct. 16 in the eastern zone. The season closes
on Dec. 8 in the eastern zone, Dec. 31 in the northern zone,
and Jan. 31 in the western zone. The bag and possession limits
are five and 10, respectively, in the northern and western zones
and two and four in the eastern zone.