Black bears making themselves at home in western WisconsinFour animals that have no problem living in close contact with humans are deer, turkeys, geese and bear. These animals have increased in number despite increased human interaction and appear to thrive on this contact.
By: By Mike Rei er, New Richmond News
Four animals that have no problem living in close contact with humans are deer, turkeys, geese and bear. These animals have increased in number despite increased human interaction and appear to thrive on this contact.
Bear, in the not so distant past, were a denizen of the north woods and the appearance of one in this area would be worth a write up in the local paper. Bear are now being seen throughout the county and have become a very common visitor to bird feeders and even city neighborhoods. Numerous reports of bear sightings on the New Richmond Golf Course and even along Paperjack Creek in the city have raised awareness of this interesting animal.
Sadly, it is not uncommon to see a marked increase in bear/vehicular accidents as listed in the weekly accidents report. Bear have increased in number and are here to stay.
The DNR is presently doing a study to determine how many bear are really roaming Wisconsin. Earlier this year bear bait was distributed to selected local landowners and placed out in areas where the bear could find them. Mixed in to the concoction of peanut butter and other bear treats was an antibiotic called tetracycline which, when eaten by the bear, will cause a staining the bones. In the future hunters will be asked to donate a section of a small rib from a harvested bear to the DNR.
Based on a formula of the number of baits eaten and the number of ribs that are stained or not stained will provide a handle on the actual bear numbers in any given area. A tooth is also taken and sectioned which will tell the age of the bear. Like trees, bear’s teeth when cut show a series of rings denoting age. Armed with this information, bear management plans can be implemented to assure that we will always have a healthy bear population.
Many people hear the term “duck stamp” and automatically think about ducks. In reality, many species of plants and wildlife benefit from the land purchased with federal duck stamp dollars.
Originally created in 1934 as the federal licenses needed to hunt migratory waterfowl, Federal Duck Stamps have a much larger purpose today. Since 1934, duck stamp funds have been used to purchase or lease more than 5.3 million acres of waterfowl habitat in the United States. These lands, many of which are called Waterfowl Production Areas and National Wildlife Refuges, are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the 95 million acre National Wildlife Refuge System. Besides waterfowl, many species of plants, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles benefit from land purchased with duck stamp funds.
June 24 was the First Day of Sale Event for this year’s Federal Duck Stamp. The main event was held at the Bass Pro Shops in Houston, Texas. This year’s Federal Duck Stamp features two white-fronted geese painted by James Hautman of Chaska, Minn. Last October, five judges chose his art to grace the new Duck Stamp from among 235 paintings at the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest, held in Berkeley, Calif.
In our local area, most of the 7,900 acres of Waterfowl Production Areas managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the St. Croix Wetland Management District were purchased with Federal Duck Stamp funds. These WPAs are managed with the goal of restoring the prairie, wetland and oak savanna historically found in St. Croix, Polk and Dunn counties in western Wisconsin. In addition to hunting, these WPAs are also open to bird watching, wildlife observation and wildlife photography. The Fish and Wildlife Service also maintains a one mile loop trail on our St. Croix Prairie WPA located about two miles west of New Richmond. Take some time and come out and enjoy your Waterfowl Production Areas.
If you are interested in buying a $15 duck stamp or learning more about duck stamps, check out the duck stamp website at http://www.fws.gov/duc kstamps/. We also sell duck stamps at the Wetland District Office at 1764 95th St. in New Richmond.
For information about the St. Croix Wetland Management District in western Wisconsin check out our website at http://www.fws.gov/mi dwest/StCroix/ and if you are interested in learning about other Refuge lands in Wisconsin go to the state map at http://www.fws.gov/mi dwest/maps/wisconsin.htm.
Although they are called Refuges or Waterfowl Production Areas, these public lands offer many other opportunities including hiking on a nature trail or observing wildlife.
So if you are interested in restoring or protecting some of our last remaining wild places for future generations, whether it’s for the birds or not, you can do your part by buying a duck stamp.
In early June the Nagel Wildlife Management Area was formally dedicated. Located just to the south of Erin Corners and a bit west on the north side of 140th Avenue, the Nagel Wildlife Management Area is a 204-acre parcel made up of native grasses, wetlands and diversified wildlife habitat.
Over the last 15 years, Vern Nagel and his wife, Becky, have restored this area converting it back to what it was long before intense human settlement changed the landscape. A parking lot is located off of 140th avenue and a kiosk has been constructed as part of an Eagle Scout Project under the direction of Eagle Scout Mitchell Kern.
This effort was a joint project by multiple partners and could not have been accomplished without the dedicated work of many individuals and organizations.
The following is a portion of descriptive verbiage from the dedication flyer. “The protection of this parcel was made possible by collaboration partnerships and financial contributions spear-headed by the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust Inc. and partners: the Nagel Family, the WI-Department of Natural Resources, the North American Wetlands Conservation Council, the Indianhead, Kinnickinnic and Racine chapters of Pheasant Forever, Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever National Build a Wildlife Program. This project represents Wisconsin’s first Pheasants Forever Build a Wildlife Area project. The KRLT donated the property to the WI-DNR for inclusion in the Western Prairie Habitat Restoration Area.”
What makes this setting such a unique wildlife area is that there is also a series of maintained trails that crisscross the property making it easier for anyone that may have difficulty accessing uneven terrain as they go about their outdoor activities. The trails allow small children to accompany adults giving them that “up close and personal” natural experience. Encompassing more than 200 contiguous acres also provides an opportunity to view both plant and animal species that may not be found together in any other location in the immediate area. Like all DNR properties, hunting is allowed and encouraged and this should not interfere with any other recreational use of the area.
The wildlife area provides an opportunity to get out into nature and observe the changing seasons any time of the year. Vern Nagel presently maintains these trails on his own accord and hopefully the state will realize the importance of continuing to maintain these trails for access to everyone as indicated in the last sentence of the flyer. “The property will be managed to provide habitat benefiting waterfowl, pheasants, songbirds, frogs, pollinators, other wildlife and for people.”