• Take your kids hunting this winter
• Jeff reports on the first NAIFC tournament of the year
RESULTS FOR POLL S701
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Should the DNR allow hunters to leave treestands and ground blinds on state lands overnight?
Use of treestands, cameras on state lands is debated
At its December meeting, the Natural Resources Board debated the overnight placement of both treestands and cameras on state land.
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Three people drown within three days after falling through thin ice
MADISON – Following three drownings over a three-day period after people broke through thin ice on Wisconsin waters, state recreational safety specialists are again strongly cautioning that ice on many state waterways is not thick enough to safely support a human -- much less any type of vehicle.
Conservation Warden Todd Schaller, recreation safety chief for the Department of Natural Resources, says the ice is always unpredictable, but this winter’s mild weather has resulted in ice levels much thinner that normal for this time of year.
A car with two occupants broke through thin ice on the Big Eau Pleine Reservoir near Mosinee on Saturday. One occupant was able to exit the vehicle and make it out of the water but another drowned.
Early Sunday a man walking on thin ice on the Fox River in Oshkosh broke through. His body was recovered Monday.
On Monday, a rural Warren man drowned after falling through the ice on a private pond in Monroe County. The man was riding a rough-terrain vehicle when the accident happened.
Two other people fell through thin ice in December, bringing to five the number of people who have died in such incidents this winter. An ice angler broke through thin ice on High Fall Flowage in Marinette County and drowned, and a teenager broke through the ice of on a quarry near Oshkosh and drowned.
Temperatures that have reached into the 50s in southern Wisconsin in the last week have continued to slow ice formation, and even helped melt ice that had already formed.
Conditions vary throughout the state with some of Wisconsin larger lakes like Lake Winnebago and Lake Mendota still having open water. Many river systems also remain open.
“It is important that ice fishers use caution if conditions in their area allow them to venture out,” Schaller said. “If ice thickness is unknown, stay on the shore and stay dry. The ice fishing season will be here soon.”
Schaller says people should use this time to brush on some ice safety precautions. Review these with others who enjoy the outdoors – especially any children. Ice poses dangers on ponds, lakes and rivers.
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DNR chat service up more than 20 percent
MADISON – Wisconsin residents and visitors are increasingly going online to communicate with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, according to records showing significant increases in the DNR’s chat service, which is just one of the many ways the agency is using technology to better serve Wisconsin citizens and improve customer service.
Use of the DNR’s chat service has increased more than 22 percent since last year, according to Diane Brookbank, DNR customer service and licensing director. The service allows customers to go online and to chat with a highly trained DNR customer service representative who responds to a wide variety of questions on DNR issues, from clarifying regulations on hunting and fishing to restrictions on firewood transportation.
“We believe that we are the only state agency to offer this service,” Brookbank said “Customer feedback has been phenomenal.”
Chat based customer support is much more cost effective than phone support; and agents can handle more than one chat at a time. Staff can send links, images and other digital information which assist them in servicing our customers.”
The service is available from 7 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. seven days a week through the “chat” link in the social media box on the DNR website home page or through the or through the contact icons at the top-right of most DNR web pages.
The agency is also turning to social media to better communicate with customers, having recently launched a Facebook page, Twitter account and YouTube channel.
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