Preliminary registration numbers show hunters harvested 4,157 bears during Wisconsin’s 2017 bear hunting seasons. Preliminary registration totals for the 2017 bear hunt are as follows:
• Zone A: 1,069
• Zone B: 816
• Zone C: 1,009
• Zone D (Northwestern Wisconsin): 1,263.
“Although harvest declined slightly from 2016, this follows a pattern of annual variation that has developed in recent years, and reflects the goal to reduce bear numbers in certain areas of the state,” said Jeff Pritzl, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources acting large carnivore specialist.
The preliminary harvest of 4,157 is close to the previous four alternate year harvests when hound hunters had the first week of the season, Pritzl said.
Turkey hunt deadline
The deadline for firearms wild turkey hunters to apply for early-season spring hunting permits in Minnesota is Jan. 26, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The spring season, which runs from April 18 to May 31, is divided into six time periods. Only people age 18 and older who want to hunt using a firearm during the first two time periods (A or B) need to apply for a spring turkey permit. Permits for the remaining time periods (C-F) can be purchased over-the-counter.
Archery and youth turkey hunters can hunt the entire season without applying for the lottery. Visit mndnr.gov/hunting/turkey for more information.
Wisconsin walleyes stocked
A record 881,977 walleye were stocked in Wisconsin waters this past year as part of the state’s Walleye Initiative, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Natural reproduction accounts for more than 80 percent of the walleye caught in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative is part of DNR’s overall management strategy to help restore naturally reproducing populations of walleye.
In the last year before the initiative was launched, the DNR stocked 142,121 extended growth walleye. Since the initiative began, DNR has stocked 455,307 large fingerlings in 2013, 719,670 fish in 2014, 760,969 fish in 2015 and 797,815 in 2016.
Wild turkey sightings have been increasing in Northeastern Minnesota in recent years. A couple of recent mild winters seem to have allowed the birds to push farther north. Reports of sightings have become fairly common in the Floodwood area, and recently some Grand Rapids residents saw a flock there.
A week ago, Claudia Mills of Duluth’s Piedmont Heights neighborhood was surprised to see a group of turkeys in her backyard.
“The dog was barking (inside the home),” Mills said. “I looked out and there were six hens and one tom in the yard. I was just mesmerized. The tom was tall. It was like he was looking over his harem. They were out there for 15 or 20 minutes.”
Kirtland’s numbers increasing
Ten years after Kirtland’s warblers were first documented in Wisconsin, populations of the songbird have increased and their range is expanding, Department of Natural Resources officials said.
According to the 2017 nesting season report, the number of Kirtland’s warblers grew from 11 birds and three nests in 2007 to 53 birds and 20 total nests in 2017.
The population’s range has expanded from Adams County to include Marinette and Bayfield counties. The birds fledged a minimum of 49 and up to 63 young in 2017.