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Birding hike planned at Nagel WMA

The Western Meadowlark may be among the birds spied during the upcoming birding outing at Nagel Wildlife Management Area.

A birding outing is scheduled for Saturday, April 28, on the Nagel Wildlife Management Area located southeast of New Richmond.

Area Wildlife Biologist Harvey Halvorsen and birder Larry Sirvio will lead the group that morning. Both Harvey and Larry have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to birds and their avian expertise will prove extremely valuable whether you are a seasoned birding veteran or a novice.

Larry, a bird bander at Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings, Minn. and a member of the St. Paul Audubon Society, is also a master photographer who will be more than happy to pass along any photo taking tips.

The Nagel Wildlife Management Area is one of the featured stops in the Auto Tour Birding Guide recently put out by the Friends of the St. Croix Wetland Management District. The area is comprised of 205 acres and, according to the guide, this unique parcel of land was the first to become a part of Pheasant Forever's "Build a Wildlife Area" campaign, which strives to create and maintain permanent public wildlife areas. It features more than 16 acres of wetlands surrounded by miles of restored prairie grasslands, savanna and working farmlands.

Hiking will be easy on a mowed trail maintained by Vern Nagel, the former owner of the property. Along with hoped for sightings of tall grass prairie and water dependent birds, the habitat should include forest edge, shrub and woodland dwellers. A pair of binoculars or a spotting scope plus a bird guide will aid in identifying those hard to ID birds. An overview of the Western Prairie Habitat Restoration Area (WPHRA) and the Nagel Wildlife Area will also be provided.

To reach the wildlife area from New Richmond take Highway 65 south turning left on County Road G. Continue east on G for five miles then turn right on County Road T at Erin Corners. Proceed south on T for a mile then hang a right on 140th Avenue and go about three-quarters of a mile and park in the lot on the north side of the road. We'll meet in the parking lot at 7 a.m. The hike should conclude around 9:30 a.m. For questions, call Harvey at 715-684-2914, ext. 113.

Hearing results

On Monday, April 9, the Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Conservation Congress held its annual Spring Hearing in all 72 counties of the state. A total of 4,611 people participated in this meeting statewide while 68 conservation-oriented folks attended the St. Croix County meeting.

A total of 91 advisory questions were asked of those in attendance. While the questions are advisory, a positive or negative response goes a long way later in determining which way a proposed rule change will be developed.

County Conservation Congress delegates were also elected at this meeting. Dave Larson from Glenwood City is the St. Croix County chairman, while Dan Donahue, Baldwin, is vice chairman. Craig Olson from River Falls, Claude Bovi from New Richmond and Jeremy Sarauer from Baldwin round out the five man delegation. Claude was named to replace Mike Reiter who moved out of the county, while Jeremy replaced Jerry Thompson from Baldwin who served as a delegate for more than 25 years.

A statewide question which asked about the use of one, two or three lines per angler while motor trolling failed but another question which would allow trolling statewide passed 1,928-1,576. Simplification of regulations with standard bag limits and the elimination of zones if there was no detriment to the resource drew favorable responses. If uniform bag limits, size limits or season structure adversely affected the resource, a strong negative response was obtained. Elimination of less popular licenses, separate tags and stamps also was not looked on favorably. Several environmental questions all received positive responses.

Archers would need to purchase an antlerless permit in quota areas, turkey bones and feathers could be legally sold, crossbows could be used during bear and turkey seasons, landowner preference turkey tags would be property specific and the coyote season would be open statewide during the deer gun season if the majority of the attendees had their way. The creation of a crane season in Wisconsin was favored by a vote of 2,559-1,271.

The question of the creation of a public/private antlerless deer system was defeated as was the creation of a maximum 25 mph speed limit on frozen water and a modification of the panfish bag limit.

Results of all the advisory voting can be viewed on the DNR website.

Warden Paul's Corner

Closed Game Fish Season

Anglers are reminded that the game fish seasons (walleye, bass and northern), are closed. Anglers cannot fish for these species even for catch and release fishing. Once the season is closed, anglers cannot even target these fish. Therefore, someone who is casting a top-water bait for bass, daredevil for northern or other type of bait targeting game fish, that angler would be in violation.

Boat Registration

With spring here, many people are getting ready for the upcoming fishing and boating seasons. When getting your boat ready, make sure you look at your registration to see if it is still current. Remember boat registration expires on March 31 of the year listed on your decal. Don't just look at your decal and see 2012 as that is expired and needs to be renewed.

All boats with motors, including canoes with motors attached (gas or electric), have to be registered and display the assigned letters, numbers and decals.

There are five exemptions for boats needing registration in Wisconsin and they are:

1. Sailboats 12 feet and under without a motor.

2. Manually propelled boats not equipped with a motor or sail.

3. Licensed documented fishing vessels.

4. Sailboards.

5. Any boat covered by a valid certificate from another state or federal government and has been in Wisconsin not more than 60 consecutive days unless Wisconsin is the state of principle use.

Once the owner is issued the certificate of number (registration) and decal, the owner shall display the issued numbers on each side of the forward half of the boat. The owner must purchase the numbers and letters or paint them on the boat. The numbers and letters must be block in style, not less than three-inches high and in contrasting color to the surface on which they are applied. Display the registration number with at least a two-inch space between the letters and center four numbers. It is the responsibility of the owner to be sure that the registration number is clearly visible ad maintained in legible condition at all times. Place the decal in line with and three inches from the registration number toward the stern (back).

For any questions or to report a violation, call Warden Paul Sickman at 715-684-2914, ext. 120.