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Tuesday, July 16th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Tuesday, July 16th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Patrick Durkin

Patrick Durkin: 28 boating fatalities in 2023 sets Wisconsin record

Wisconsin set a tragic record in 2023 when 28 people died while enjoying the state’s lakes and rivers by fishing, hunting, paddling, jet-skiing, waterskiing or motorboating.
Most of those folks drowned. Only one died in a collision. The record toll marked the 12th year since 2005 that Wisconsin recorded 20 or more boating-related deaths. The previous one-year record was 25 fatalities in 2017 and 2021.

Patrick Durkin: 28 boating fatalities in 2023 sets Wisconsin record Read More »

Jefferson County judge’s navigable water ruling faces likely appeal from Wisconsin DNR

A Jefferson County judge’s recent ruling that forbids boaters, anglers and other water-borne recreationists from entering flooded private lands can’t be enforced outside the county and faces a likely appeal by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
That’s the opinion of former DNR Secretary George Meyer, who was a water-regulations attorney throughout his three decades with the agency, including his 1993 through 2002 stint as agency head. The DNR won’t comment on Circuit Judge Bennett J. Brantmeier’s June 24 ruling that restricts public access to navigable waters over private land, but Meyer said the agency is reviewing the case.

Jefferson County judge’s navigable water ruling faces likely appeal from Wisconsin DNR Read More »

Patrick Durkin: Registering nonmotorized recreational ‘assets’ makes sense in Wisconsin

Those of us with long memories perked up in April when voters at Wisconsin’s annual conservation hearings supported registering nonmotorized recreational “assets,” which often go adrift or are left stranded on weak ice.
Imagine that, making folks pay fees to register canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, nonmotorized boats, portable ice shanties and other equipment that help us hunt, fish, explore, soak up sunlight and breathe fresh air. Other states, like Minnesota, impose such fees to cover work by conservation wardens and law-enforcement officers to reunite owners with their possessions after severe storms or simple carelessness.

Patrick Durkin: Registering nonmotorized recreational ‘assets’ makes sense in Wisconsin Read More »

50,000 turkeys shot during Wisconsin’s spring season for first time since 2009

Wisconsin’s turkey hunters broke the 50,000 harvest mark for the first time in 15 years when the spring season ended May 28 with a registered kill of 50,435 jakes and gobblers.
By most accounts, few turkey enthusiasts would have expected that to happen. In fact, here’s what this reporter wrote two years ago in a post-season recap of the spring 2022 hunt: “Wisconsin’s largest flocks and best hunting are history, and that particular history won’t repeat itself. Wisconsin hit its turkey-hunting peak from 2007 to 2009 when the statewide harvest averaged 52,630 jakes and gobblers three straight springs. The spring harvest hasn’t cracked 50,000 since, and it’s doubtful we will again.”

50,000 turkeys shot during Wisconsin’s spring season for first time since 2009 Read More »

Tales of when predators attack…turkey decoys

Nature’s surprises often turn routine hunts into lifetime memories.
Sometimes you smile, wondering why a mallard hen would expose her waddling brood to avian and terrestrial predators by marching them across a bare 300-yard field in mid-May. Other times, you can only shake and twitch, wondering how you got between a protective cow moose and her calf on a mountain trail before first light. Which brings us to my friend, Walt Larsen, a Minnesotan who hunts turkeys each spring in Iowa, Wisconsin and his home state.

Tales of when predators attack…turkey decoys Read More »

Group-hunting with bows denied by Wisconsin’s Conservation Congress

Group-hunting has been legal during Wisconsin’s gun deer seasons since the mid-1980s, but four decades later it remains a bridge too far for bowhunters.
Group-hunting – also known as party-hunting or group-bagging – allows members of the same group to shoot and tag/register deer for each other as long as they don’t exceed the group’s total bag limit. Even though group-bagging is technically illegal but commonly accepted in fishing, it’s usually illegal and enforced, or strongly discouraged, in hunting.

Group-hunting with bows denied by Wisconsin’s Conservation Congress Read More »

Patrick Durkin: Recent study offers detailed look at Wisconsin’s falling hunter numbers

More females and crossbow hunters joined Wisconsin’s deer hunting’s ranks the past decade, but those gains didn’t halt the state’s nearly 20-year decline in hunter numbers and license sales.
That’s one takeaway from a recent DNR study by the agency’s science operations staff. The team studied 18 years of license data gathered since 2005 by the agency’s high-tech ALiS licensing system. That software allows the DNR to precisely track and analyze the ages, gender, success rates, and license-buying patterns of hunters, anglers, and trappers throughout their lifetimes.

Patrick Durkin: Recent study offers detailed look at Wisconsin’s falling hunter numbers Read More »

Patrick Durkin: Show folks a sturgeon, they’ll tell you a story

First, they made the morning headlines April 22 by not landing on the nation’s endangered species list (ESL). The Center for Biological Diversity claims lake sturgeon are “imperiled,” and had petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to put them on the ESL even though sturgeon doing well in Wisconsin and elsewhere.
Hours later, the prehistoric fish made more headlines when news broke of a Wisconsin-based lake sturgeon turning up in a research net 651 miles from home on the Mississippi River between Illinois and Missouri. In other words, just another day in the media spotlight that shines often on Wisconsin’s “dinosaur fish,” our version of charismatic megafauna.

Patrick Durkin: Show folks a sturgeon, they’ll tell you a story Read More »

Wakeboats dominate Wisconsin spring hearings; a look at how voters responded to key questions

Wakeboats struck another tsunami of opposition during April’s Wisconsin conservation hearings, with more than 70% of voters favoring restrictions on the fun, but controversial, wave-generating boats.
Voters also supported a proposed ban on 360-degree forward-facing imaging cameras for fishing, but rejected a proposed ban on all lead-based ammunition by 2030. The hearings attracted 18,802 participants, who weighed in on 49 proposals. It was the first time since 2019 that citizens could attend the hearings and vote there. Roughly 1,000 people voted in person April 8, but most voted online April 10-13.

Wakeboats dominate Wisconsin spring hearings; a look at how voters responded to key questions Read More »

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