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Hunters challenged by winds, chilly conditions; Tomahawk native, actor Jay Leggett dies post-hunt; more state briefs

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Hunters challenged by winds, chilly conditions; Tomahawk native, actor Jay Leggett dies post-hunt; more state briefs
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Temperatures hovering near 5 degrees at sunrise and winds gusting to more than 30 miles per hour made for challenging conditions for the opening of the 2013 Wisconsin nine-day gun deer season.


“The predawn cold and winds made it clear that opening morning was going to test the will of deer hunters today,” saidTom Hauge, wildlife management director for the Department of Natural Resources, who was hunting near Plain in Sauk County. “Even our blind did not offer much shelter. Snicker candy bars are frozen solid but still a treat.”

The first registration figures were expected to become available later Monday and as of late Sunday, authorities said six people were injured in hunting accidents -- four were self-inflicted -- during the season's opening weekend. That's double the statewide total of last year's opening weekend.

In Sheboygan County, authorities said a 52-year-old Cascade man was shot and wounded in a leg while hunting in a tree stand. Also, the state DN-R said a man was hit by a stray bullet Saturday while sitting at his kitchen table in Monroe County in western Wisconsin. He suffered only bruises. The incident remains under investigation.

Four other hunters accidentally shot and wounded themselves. They included a 32-year-old Mukwonago man who shot himself in the palm of his left hand while loading a pistol in Grant County. The gun season runs through next Sunday.

Kurt Thiede, DNR Land Division administrator, said “even the squirrels were hunkered down (Saturday),” near his hunting stand in southeast Richland County. “There were a few distant shots from the ridge tops and valleys but I didn't hear any shots from our guys. That wasn’t the story everywhere, though, as I headed in to warm up and get some brunch I had a nice buck with an 18-inch wide spread on a tail gate go by."

It didn’t start out as windy in the north, but very cold temperatures and up to 6 inches of snow on the ground in some areas made it a frigid opening.

Hollywood actor, Tomahawk native Jay Leggett dies following hunt TOMAHAWK -- Hollywood actor and Tomahawk native Jay Leggett was the first deer hunter to die in Wisconsin's nine-day gun season. Lincoln County authorities said the 50-year-old Leggett had returned from a tree stand to his hunting cabin late Saturday when he got off an all-terrain vehicle and collapsed. He died at the scene.

Leggett, 50, was born in Tomahawk, graduated from UW Stevens Point and lived in Los Angeles. He appeared in 26 episodes of the TV show "In Living Color," plus one-time appearances in several TV shows including "ER" and "NYPD Blue." Leggett also co-wrote and appeared in the 2006 film "Employee of the Month."

Leggett also wrote the Paramount Pictures feature film Without A Paddle starring Dax Shepard and Seth Green. He also produced and starred in the Spike TV series Factory, and produced and directed the documentary To The Hunt, which gave viewers a look into hunting culture through the stories of several different hunting shacks in Lincoln County.

A trailer from "To The Hunt" can be seen here:

DMV service counters closed Thursday, Friday MADISON -- Wisconsinites can shop at a lot of places on Black Friday -- but not the customer service counters at the state Division of Motor Vehicles. They'll be closed on both Thanksgiving and the Friday after.

Folks can still make appointments for road tests and get recorded information anytime on the DMV's automated phone line as well as the agency's Web site. Officials say people can renew their license plates, and get vehicle titles online or by mail.

Third-party providers also have those services. They include grocery stores, financial institutions, and some police offices. For more information, visit the DMV Web site at

Parents of dead UW-SP student aim to help other students avoid son's fate STEVENS POINT -- After losing their son to a night of drinking, the parents of a UW Stevens Point student helped start a program to try and prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

Daren and Joan Duffey worked with the campus Student Government Association to start a program called "Bring-a-Buddy." It seeks to assure that students have someone with them when they walk home from a night at the bars. Over 3,000 bracelets have been given to students on the Stevens Point campus, mainly to those living in the dorms. The blue bracelets include the phone number of a local taxi company, so students can get rides if they need them.

The campaign began after Stevens Point student Eric Duffey was found dead in an icy Wisconsin River, three days after he was last seen leaving a tavern in downtown Stevens Point in March of last year.

The problem is a lot more common in La Crosse, where 10 college-age men drowned in three local rivers over the past 15 years after nights of drinking.

Power outage yields day-off for WCTC students WAUKESHA -- Students at Waukesha County Technical College are getting an extra day off during this Thanksgiving week.

Classes were canceled for Mondy, after a power outage on the main campus. Waukesha County tech plans to resume classes Tuesday.

Remains ID'd as those of Milwaukee man A body found by deer hunters in Upper Michigan earlier this month has been identified as 44-year-old Gerod Prince of Milwaukee.

His remains were discovered Nov. 15th.

Menominee County sheriff's officials in the UP said Prince disappeared on his own in September, and there were no signs of foul play.

A medical examiner said Prince died from exposure.

DNR's 'Walleye Initiative' deemed a success Lawmakers recently approved $8 million in additional bonding authority to expand the capacities of the state government's fish hatcheries -- and to start a competitive grant program for private groups to expand walleye production.

DNR fisheries' director Mike Steggs said there's been a large pent-up demand for larger fingerlings, as Wisconsin lakes exhausted previous limited supplies. He said his fisheries were planning to produce around 100,000 walleye fingerlings this year -- so it was a real challenge to ramp up the ongoing production to over 400,000.

The larger fingerlings are in the six- to eight-inch range. Biologists say it will give the walleye a better chance to grow to maturity.

Steggs said the DNR obtained help from tribal fisheries and outside contractors -- and the big concern is now the selection of lakes where the new fingerlings will go.

The agency is taking online surveys and holding public meetings to help determine future stocking locations.

-- Ken Krall, WXPR, Rhinelander

Two Wisconsin college seniors named Rhodes Scholars

Two Wisconsin college students are among 32 Americans named Sunday as Rhodes Scholars.

They are UW Madison senior Drew Birrenkott of McFarland, and Samuel Greene of Spring Green who's a senior at the University of Chicago.

The prestigious scholarships include all expenses for two- to three years of study in England at the University of Oxford.

Birrenkott, 23, majors in bio-chemistry, bio-medical engineering, and political science at the U-W. Among other things, he's involved with the group Engineers Without Borders. The Rhodes Trust says Birrenkott has been working to design an inexpensive, battery-powered cardio-respiratory monitor for use in developing countries -- and he's writing a thesis which compares health care policies in the U. S. and Europe.

The 21-year-old Green overcame cerebral palsy. He has been performing research into bio-fuels and climate change. Last summer, Green studied emissions from greenhouse gas methane from lakes in Alaska.

Saturday is next deadlinef for state's no-call list MADISON -- Saturday is the next deadline for getting onto Wisconsin's popular do-not-call list for telemarketers.

Those who sign up can be on the next list that's given to telemarketers at the start of the New Year. Those already on the list must re-register every two years.

If you're not sure if it's been two years, you can re-up now, just to be sure. The no-call service is available for landlines, cell phones, and voice-over Internet.

Non-profit groups can still call -- and so can political candidates and those with whom you've done business before.

Sign-up information is available at the state Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection's Web site, accessible at

Meanwhile, an effort continues to eliminate the state no-call list, and transfer everyone to the federal no-call list run by the Federal Trade Commission. Supporters say it would eliminate the need to sign up every two years. They also say it would save money, which state consumer investigators can use to go after more violators of the no-call law.

The Senate unanimously passed the measure in mid-October. It's pending in the Assembly.

Beloit police hunting suspect in teen's weekend shooting death BELOIT -- Police were looking for a 20-year-old man Monday morning in the weekend shooting death of a teenager at a house party.

Officials said Ezekiel "Chucky" Villa is considered armed and dangerous.

The victim was a 19-year-old man from South Beloit, Ill., who died at a hospital a short time after the incident. His name was not immediately released, pending notification of relatives.

Police said many of those at the party ran away after the shooting, which happened around 2 a.m. Sunday. Some witnesses stayed around and cooperated with police. Investigators are trying to find the other party-goers to learn more about what happened.

Beloit Police Captain William Tyler said there was some type of altercation, before the victim was shot to death by a man he apparently knew.

Truck-house collision yields charges against Edgerton man EDGERTON -- An man is facing several charges after he got a ride home from a bar because he was too drunk to drive, and he then allegedly drove his pick-up truck into a neighbor's house.

Authorities say 39-year-old Wade Johnson could face counts that include four-time drunk driving and hit-and-run. Rock County sheriff's deputies said Johnson got a ride home from a tavern Sunday afternoon -- and once he got there, he got into his truck, drove across two lawns, hit a tree, and then struck a neighbor's house.

Officials said Johnson and his 21-year-old passenger ran away, and were captured in a nearby wooded area.

The passenger was treated at a hospital for minor leg injuries, and was released.