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Sandhill crane season awaits introduction
Wisconsin Outdoor News contributing writer Don Bluhm wrote:
Madison — What would Aldo Leopold say about hunting sandhill cranes in Wisconsin?
Based on his writings, teachings, and today’s sandhill crane numbers, he likely would support a hunting season.
Leopold, the legendary Wisconsin environmentalist, seemed pretty sure at one point in his career, in the early 1900s, that the sandhill crane was doomed, the result of habitat loss and overharvest.
Instead, the bird’s recovery has been remarkable, and today the sandhill is considered the most numerous of all the crane subspecies in the world, with an estimated population of 600,000.
“The sandhill crane has emerged as an icon of conservation success and a changing wildlife legacy,” said Kent Van Horn, the Wisconsin DNR’s migratory bird ecologist.
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DNR unveils new website
MADISON – The Department of Natural Resources website, dnr.wi.gov, has undergone an extreme makeover and now it’s ready for the big reveal.
The new layout, global header, footer, topic-based landing and content pages will make it easier for those looking for information or ways to access permit applications and purchase licenses online. This new look and functionality is designed to provide a better customer experience.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with this new design,” said DNR Secretary, Cathy Stepp. “It’s been a challenge but I think it’s turned out wonderfully and I’m very interested in hearing from our customers what they think of this effort. I hope they will be pleased and as they explore the site give us feedback for ways to make it even better.”
In addition to a cleaner design and improved search functions, the new website will feature images of Wisconsin outdoors and outdoor activity in all seasons of the year and one-click links to news of the day and other popular features. Visitors will also be able to link directly to the department’s Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr sites from any page.
“Our visitors will notice a cleaner, simplified, more customer and business-friendly layout,” said JD Smith, redesign project manager. “We’ve improved our search function using keywords with the goal of helping website visitors find the information they’re looking for easier and faster. We invite visitors to click on the feedback link in the footer to provide comments.”
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Bears with cubs on public property need understanding and space, not food
EAU CLAIRE – With longer days and warming temperatures, bears are moving around their winter dens and in some cases are easily visible. Sows, in particular, will stay close to their dens to care for cubs.
Wildlife biologists with the state Department of Natural Resources are asking people to give these bears a lot of space. Curiosity is natural, and seeing bears is exciting, but when people gather at these sites, the sows feel threatened, according to John Dunn, a DNR wildlife biologist.
DNR conservation wardens report that people have gotten too close to a sow with cubs in Eau Claire County and have also tossed food at bears. The bears do not need human food and this amounts more to harassment than charity, biologists said.
“In this case, you have cubs that are probably two months old,” Dunn said. “They are dependent on their mother for warmth and food and nursing. If there is a certain level of harassment, she will abandon them. We are depending on the public to leave the sow alone so she can take care of her cubs.”
DNR employees report that a similar situation in Wood County has been troublesome. In that case, with a sow and cubs easily visible in a road culvert, people have thrown food at the bears and the landowner reports seeing spotlights shined into the den at night.
Additionally, while black bears are not generally a threat to people, Dunn said, and will tolerate a fair level of harassment without becoming aggressive, there are limits. When a sow with cubs has a den in a publicly accessible location, public safety becomes an issue.
In the Eau Claire county case, the sow has already exhibited aggressive behavior indicating it is feeling threatened and doesn’t have enough space to feel safe with its cubs, Dunn reports. Fortunately, the bear has moved its cubs a short distance onto private property, still visible but less accessible.
DNR employees have increased monitoring efforts, have spoken to neighbors and have sought assistance from local law enforcement.
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