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THE EVENTS CALENDAR HAS BEEN MOVED DANSMALLOUTDOORS.COM/EVENTS
Operation Deer Watch runs August 1 through September 30
MADISON — In an ongoing effort involve the public in deer management and to effectively monitor and evaluate Wisconsin’s deer herd, people can record and report online all bucks, does, and fawns they see in the wild from August 1 through September 30.
Summer deer observations have been a part of the Department of Natural Resources deer management program for more than 50 years, but in 2010 the agency started a unique collaboration with citizen scientists to collect data called Operation Deer Watch. The public observations along with DNR observations provide greater insight on the reproductive status of Wisconsin’s deer herd. Since the survey’s initiation in 2010, the DNR has received more than 7,000 citizen observations.
“This is an opportunity to be the daily eyes and ears for the deer herd in your area and to become personally involved and committed to the success of Wisconsin’s deer herd,” said Brian Dhuey, DNR wildlife surveys researcher. “The results from Operation Deer Watch become more meaningful as we gather many years of summer deer observations and can monitor production trends.”
The number of deer seen and the number of fawns seen with each doe are indicators of annual deer herd production. Last summer, Operation Deer Watch generated more than 3,300 observations. A total of 4,004 deer were observed by 1,059 individual observers during August and September 2011. The statewide estimate for the 2011 fawn-to-doe ratio using Operation Deer Watch data was 93 fawns per 100 does.
Participating in the survey is simple. Beginning August 1 people record all bucks, does, and fawns seen during the day on a tally sheet and then enter those numbers online through September 30.
“It is important that all the information be filled out for each observation. Please ensure that the date, deer management unit, and the type and number of deer observed are recorded, without this information the data are of little value,” Dhuey said.
A report summarizing the results of each participant’s 2012 deer observations will be produced at the end of the survey period and sent to all individuals who enter their email address on every observation form. For more information, videos, and results of previous years, go to the DNR webpage and keyword search “deer watch,” and click on the link for online wildlife surveys.
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Property owners need to follow appropriate ways to resolve problems with raccoons
MADISON – Reports from property owners in many corners of Wisconsin suggest raccoon populations are large enough to cause nuisance problems in some areas. While there are methods for dealing with “critters,” property owners are reminded that there are no poisons approved for use on raccoons.
“If you have a problem raccoon family in your attic, walls, shed or barn, I know how frustrating it can be. Cute, maybe, but destructive, for sure. Most people are looking for humane ways to deal with them,” said Brad Koele, wildlife damage specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Depending on the situation there are a number of alternatives property owners can choose from when dealing with raccoons. Removing food sources, harassment, exclusion, and live trapping and relocation are all non-lethal options to consider.
“There are no legal toxicants or poisons approved for use on raccoons and it’s against both state and federal law to use pesticides such as fly bait and rat poison in a manner inconsistent with package labeling,” Koele said. “Non-target animals like the family pet dog or cat, or other wildlife may ingest the poison.”
Anyone relocating animals must have the landowner’s permission when releasing the animal on private property. Live trapped animals cannot be released on DNR owned or managed properties. In areas where the discharge of a firearm is not legal, live trapping is the legal alternative.
“If you are experiencing problems with raccoons and need assistance removing the animal, contact a local wildlife control operator. DNR does not remove raccoons for landowners,” Koele said.
If lethal control is needed, trapping and shooting are options. State law allows landowners or occupants of land of legal age to trap or shoot raccoons year-round and without a hunting or trapping license with the exception of the 24-hour period preceding the gun deer season.
Anyone conducting removal efforts on behalf of the landowner must possess a valid trapping license if they are trapping the raccoons or a valid small game license if they are removing raccoons by shooting and in both cases must have written permission from the landowner. Individuals must also follow all other trapping and hunting regulations.
For assistance on how to deal with nuisance wildlife go to dnr.wi.gov page nuisance wildlife. This webpage also has a link to the Wisconsin Trappers Association’s Nuisance Wild Animal Removal Handbook [PDF] which includes a list of trappers around the state who can help with animal removal.
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