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Hunters support special waterfowl rules at Mead Center

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MILLADORE, WI (WSAU) -  Waterfowl hunters like the experimental rules that have been in place for a central Wisconsin management area. Bill Hirt is with the Department of Natural Resources at the Mead Wildlife Center.

He says the hunters worked with them to develop the special rules.  "We're trying some experimental waterfowl regulations here on this property aimed at improving the quality of the waterfowl hunting experience here.  They're a little bit more restrictive than some of the other areas that you see in the state, but again, the goal is to improve the quality of the hunt."

Wisconsin’s waterfowl hunting season is 60 days long, but the Mead Wildlife Area rules require hunters to stop hunting at 1:00 p.m. for sixteen days after opening weekend to reduce hunting pressure on the birds.  "Based on the data we've collected, it has shown that by closing waterfowl hunting on this property by 1:00 p.m., and thereby making the whole property a waterfowl refuge, it's allowed the birds to rest a little bit more, become more accustomed to the property, their staging populations build, and ultimately holds ducks here on the property and in greater numbers."

Nearly 30 outdoors enthusiasts were at the Mead Wildlife Center Wednesday night to learn how the first three years went, and voice their opinions about the special rules, and Hirt says most everyone likes how they are working.  "It will be up to them mostly to say whether or not they want to keep these, or scrap them and try some different regulations, but it sounds like they're still in favor three years after the first year we tried them, so as long as the support continues, we should see them permanent in 2013-2014.”

The hunters and the Mead staff are concerned because preserving these special rules and making any changes will require support from state DNR staff, and it will be difficult for central Wisconsin hunters to voice their opinions. That’s because the upcoming DNR hearings will be in Appleton, Spooner, La Crosse, and Pewaukee. Several of the hunters would like to get an additional DNR hearing in central Wisconsin, perhaps at the Mead Wildlife Center.

Waterfowl hunters with comments about the Mead Wildlife Center’s special waterfowl hunting rules can make written comments.

 

Comments to the Department of Natural Resources can be emailed to:

Kent Van Horn, Migratory Game Bird BiologistKent.VanHorn@wisconsin.gov608-266-8841

James Christopoulos, Assistant Migratory Game Bird EcologistJames.Christopoulos@Wisconsin.gov608-261-6458

Or, you may send comments to the Mead Wildlife Area staff at:

William Hirtwilliam.hirt@wisconsin.govorPatrice Eyerspatrice.eyers@wisconsin.gov

For further details, please visit the Mead Wildlife Area’s Visitor Center, visit www.meadwildlife.org, or call 715-457-6771.

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