• Great White Hunter Weekend
• New outdoor adventure book series for kids
• Raccoons in your attic can endanger your family’s health
• Ice fishing is under way in northern Wisconsin
• Jeff videotaped for Ice Men TV Series at North American Ice Fishing Circuit Championship
• Jeff scores on early-ice panfish
|Contest CALL IN Prize for S652
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RESULTS FOR POLL S651
Do you think the reduction in salmon stocking in Lake Michigan was a good idea?
YES 57.1% | NO 14.3% | MAYBE 0.0% | UNDECIDED 28.6% | COMMENTS 14.3% 
|INSTANT SURVEY VOTE ON - POLL
Should Wisconsin eliminate the requirement to wear a back tag while hunting deer?
Back tags waste time, effort, moneyWisconsin is one of only four states to require back tags while hunting deer. Patrick Durkin, columnist for the Green Bay Press Gazette and Wisconsin Outdoor News, writes:
“For all the demands about getting government off our backs, why do Wisconsin deer hunters tolerate wearing state-mandated back tags when bowhunting and gun-hunting?
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Salazar Announces Recovery of Gray Wolves in the Western Great Lakes, Removal from Threatened and Endangered Species ListStates, tribes to assume management responsibility
WASHINGTON – On Dec. 21, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that gray wolf populations in the Great Lakes region have recovered and no longer require the protection of the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is publishing a final rule in the Federal Register removing wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and in portions of adjoining states, from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants.
“Once again, the Endangered Species Act has proved to be an effective tool for bringing species back from the brink of extinction,” Secretary Salazar said. “Thanks to the work of our scientists, wildlife managers, and our state, tribal, and stakeholder partners, gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region are now fully recovered and healthy.”
The rule removing ESA protection for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes becomes effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
“Gray wolves are thriving in the Great Lakes region, and their successful recovery is a testament to the hard work of the Service and our state and local partners,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “We are confident state and tribal wildlife managers in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin will effectively manage healthy wolf populations now that federal protection is no longer needed.”
Wolves total more than 4,000 animals in the three core recovery states in the western Great Lakes area and have exceeded recovery goals. Minnesota’s population is estimated at 2,921 wolves, while an estimated 687 wolves live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and another 782 in Wisconsin. Each state has developed a plan to manage wolves after federal protection is removed.
Wolf populations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan will be monitored for at least five years to ensure the species continues to thrive. If it appears, at any time, that the gray wolf cannot sustain itself without the protections of the ESA, the Service can initiate the listing process, including emergency listing.
In the Service’s May 5, 2011, proposal to delist western Great Lakes wolves, the agency also proposed accepting recent taxonomic information that the gray wolf subspecies Canis lupus lycaon should be elevated to the full species Canis lycaon, and that the population of wolves in the Western Great Lakes is a mix of the two full species, Canis lupus and Canis lycaon. Based on substantial information received from scientists and others during the public comment period, the Service has re-evaluated that proposal, and the final rule considers all wolves in the Western Great Lakes DPS to be Canis lupus.
The Service also previously proposed delisting gray wolves in all or parts of 29 states in the eastern half of the United States. The Service continues to evaluate that portion of the May 5, 2011, proposal and will make a final separate determination at a later date.
Gray wolves were originally listed as subspecies or as regional populations of subspecies in the lower 48 states and Mexico under the ESA in 1973 and its predecessor statutes before that. In 1978, the Service reclassified the gray wolf as an endangered species across all of the lower 48 states and Mexico, except in Minnesota where the gray wolf was classified as threatened.
More information on the recovery of gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes .
The ESA provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife and plants. The Service works to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species.
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The Twelve Days of Aquatic Invasive Species ChristmasTim Campbell, aquatic invasives specialist with the UW Sea Grant program, wrote this spoof on The 12 Days of Christmas, featuring aquatic invasives. Here’s what Tim has to say about it:
“‘Tis the season to spread some holiday cheer, and of course, ‘tis always the season to spread aquatic invasive species awareness. With some inspiration from Al House, one of our advisory committee members, I put together an AIS version of the classic ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas.’ Enjoy not only the song, but some commentary from yours truly!”
On the twelfth day of Christmas, a freighter sent to me: As many know, ballast from large ocean-going vessels has been identified as the primary invasion pathway of invasive species into the Great Lakes and since a freighter can send things, I think it makes a great start to the song.
Twelve quaggas clogging – Quagga mussels are now the dominant invasive mussel in Lake Michigan. A congener (a member of the same genus) of zebra mussels, the quagga mussel can tolerate colder water and colonize soft substrates. These abilities have helped it colonize most of benthic Lake Michigan. Just like zebra mussels, quagga mussels are quite effective at clogging water intake pipes and other infrastructure. Mitigating these impacts has cost Great Lakes residents millions of dollars.
‘Leven gobies gobbling – Round gobies are very effective egg predators. Their advanced lateral line system (a series of fish sensory organs) allows them to find eggs that native benthic egg predators are unable to. The round goby’s fondness for fish eggs has affected restoration efforts of lake trout and lake sturgeon, and has caused managers to alter fishing regulations to protect nesting smallmouth bass.
Ten alewives croaking – Alewives are one of the few invasive species that foul Great Lakes beaches throughout the summer. Until the introduction of Pacific salmon, alewives died off in such great numbers that tractors were required to remove them from beaches. Salmon now do a great job controlling alewife numbers, but there are still alewife die-offs due to spawning-related stresses.
Nine eggs in resting – The spiny waterflea and the fishhook waterflea produce tiny resting eggs that can survive long after the mature waterflea has perished. The resting eggs can also survive extreme environmental conditions, so it is imperative to make sure that recreational equipment is cleaned to prevent spreading these invasive crustaceans. Luckily, their Wisconsin distribution is limited to Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, the Madison Lakes, and a few other inland lakes.
Eight shrimp ‘a swarming – The bloody red shrimp, Hemimysis anomala, is one of the Great Lakes’ most recently discovered ballast invaders. Another Ponto-Caspian invader, bloody-red shrimp swarms have been documented up to 1500 individuals/square meter. Their effects on the Great Lakes are largely unknown, but they may compete for food with young fish, and have been found in the diet of some fish in the Great Lakes. Regardless of the impacts, eight shrimp ‘a swarming is a huge underestimate.
Seven carp and counting – There are seven species of invasive carp in the United States. There are the four collectively known as Asian carp (black, grass, silver and bighead), the common carp, the crucian carp, and last but not least, the Prussian carp (aka the goldfish). While the current focus is on the silver and bighead carp, all of these carp cause problems one way or another. Hopefully we won’t actually be counting any other carp species soon.
Six lamprey leaping – This is actually some bad lamprey biology humor. Lampreys are poor jumpers, especially when compared to trout and salmon, so a small low-head obstacle or ledge can prevent lampreys from moving further upstream while other fish leap over the obstacle. Thus, physical barriers are one way managers are preventing lampreys from invading more streams in the Great Lakes basin.
FIVE BOAT WASH STATIONS! – I wish we had five boat wash stations in Wisconsin! Actually, the new term for boat wash station is “decontamination station,” but since it had too many syllables I took some artistic license and used boat wash station instead. A boat wash station can be any station that uses water to clean off a boat, whether it is to remove organisms or to just clean off muck. Decontamination stations, however, use hot water (+140 degrees F!) and special attachments to “cook” any organisms on or in a boat, resulting in the total sterilization of the boat. The WDNR currently has one decontamination station, and is hoping to have at least one more next summer. No decontamination station nearby? Don’t sweat it; a light bleach solution will do the job. Commercial car washes are also quite effective, as are the third day’s gifts.
Four perch on ice – Icing your catch is another way fishermen can help prevent the spread of invasive species. Many invasive species aren’t readily visible to the naked eye, including zebra and quagga mussel veligers, spiny and fishhook waterfleas, and viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS). Icing the day’s catch makes it so anglers won’t transport water and the organisms in it, while also improving table fare. That’s a win-win if I’ve ever heard one.
Three clean boat steps – Clean. Drain. Dry. Follow those three simple steps to stop aquatic hitchhikers.
Two red swamp crayfish – Two is the number of documented red swamp crayfish populations in Wisconsin. Both populations were detected early and contained. Time will tell if eradication efforts were successful in eliminating this common classroom dissection subject.
And a carp barrier in the city! – There is not only one electric barrier in Chicago, but three! One barrier is always on (usually the middle), while the other two are on standby to provide emergency backup or to be functional during periods of maintenance. The original barrier is closest to Lake Michigan and only generates a high voltage field. The two newer barriers are a short distance downstream, and both generate a low voltage and high voltage field. The lower intensity field does a better job of making fish uncomfortable, while the higher intensity field is more likely to stun the fish. The dual fields have made it so no radio tagged fish involved in an Army Corps of Engineers study have traversed the barriers in an upstream direction. The barriers should prove to be effective at preventing the silver and bighead carp from entering the Great Lakes until a permanent solution can be found.
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