The whitefish harvest and lake trout stakeholders are among the topics
by KEVIN NAZE, [email protected], Peninsula Pulse contributor
Door County commercial fisherman Charlie Henriksen, chair of the Lake Michigan Commercial Fishing Board, will be among the presenters during an informational portion of the state Natural Resources Board meeting in Viroqua on Wednesday, Aug. 9.
Henriksen and a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) representative will provide an update on the Great Lakes commercial harvest and electronic fish-harvest reporting, lake whitefish rules, and the latest from the lake trout commercial harvest stakeholder group process.
The Newport Wilderness Society will also be acknowledged for its $22,910 gift to Newport State Park, which will be used to pay for a naturalist and corresponding programs at the park for fiscal year 2024.
The public can view the meeting via the DNR’s YouTube channel. Learn more at dnr.wisconsin.gov/about/NRB.
No Goal for Wolves
Wolf advocates and those who want to see wolves aggressively managed will find plenty to howl about in the new revised draft plan, which was announced this week. After the members of a diverse, 29-member wolf-management committee did their best to lobby for changes that would reflect their views, or views of those they represented, the agency released the first draft and received about 3,500 public comments.
Few major changes were made, and the revised plan – the first update since 2007 and two and a half years in the making – is expected to be presented to the state Natural Resources Board on Oct. 25. The DNR encourages anyone who’s interested to take a look at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/wolfmanagementplan.
DNR large-carnivore specialist Randy Johnson noted that though the DNR recognizes wolves as “biologically recovered” in Wisconsin, they are still federally protected by a Feb. 10, 2022, court ruling that relisted them as an endangered species. While the legal battle continues, harvest and lethal depredation control are prohibited.
Even if wolves are delisted, the DNR plan aims to guide management efforts to maintain a sustainable population while also addressing wolf-related conflicts and concerns.
The annual winter estimate has been double or triple the previous minimum population goal of 350 wolves outside of tribal lands for many years, and the agency is recommending doing away with the numeric goal. Under this plan, the DNR expects to maintain statewide winter wolf abundance of 800 to 1,200 during the winter, before new pups are born to the more than 250 established packs.
In other words, even though the agency says it’s not going to use a population goal going forward, those numbers have roughly tripled the previous overwinter minimum.
Shooting Sports Month
With a boom in firearm sales in recent years, the National Shooting Sports Foundation is encouraging experienced shooters to mentor first-time gun owners to help them have safe, enjoyable experiences at the range. To that end, August is National Shooting Sports Month: the seventh year of highlighting the positive impacts of recreational shooting enjoyed by more than 60 million Americans.
Whether it’s sporting clays, trap, skeet or stills, target shooting is a fun way to make sure you’re practiced up for the fall hunting seasons. Many people take up hunting because they’re interested in harvesting their own healthful food. A trip to a firearm retailer or range can provide answers about how to get started, such as enrolling in a hunter-education course and practicing shooting to be ready for the fall seasons.
Virlee Gunworks Shooting Center in Sturgeon Bay has been a busy place this summer, helping new and experienced shooters gear up and have a safe spot to shoot indoors. In addition, the Door County Rod & Gun Club, Peninsula Gun Club, Gardner Rifle Club, Black Ash Gun Club, Kewaunee Swamp Trap Club, Luxemburg Sportsmen’s Club and New Franken Sportsmen’s Club are among those offering a variety of outdoor target-shooting opportunities.
Whether you hunt or not, enrolling in a firearm training course is a wise choice. Responsible gun owners handle their firearms safely and store them securely when not in use. Learn more about safety, conservation and community impacts at gunownerscare.org.
Game Bird, Deer Surveys
Wildlife enthusiasts are encouraged to report game-bird observations throughout August and deer sightings through Sept. 30. The Game Bird Brood Survey and Operation Deer Watch are easy to use, thanks to online apps. Find out how to get set up at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/WildlifeHabitat/GameBirdBroodObservations and dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/WildlifeHabitat/summerdeer.html.
Water Levels Update
Green Bay and Lake Michigan water levels are down four inches in the past year – part of a 29-inch drop since the record high in 2020. Water levels are still about four inches above the long-term monthly average, and 37 inches higher than the record monthly low set in 1964.
Bow Deer Opportunity
Applications for the first bow deer hunt at the Sandhill Wildlife Area in Babcock since 1968 are being taken through Aug. 14, and the hunt will be held Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Successful applicants will be notified by Aug. 21. Check the DNR website for an application.
Shanty Days Contest
Algoma’s Shanty Days Fishing Contest is Aug. 10-13. Youth tickets ($5) and adult tickets ($10) are available at Algoma BP, Graf’s Mobil and Hooked Up Tackle.