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Wisconsin roundup: DNR to post opening weekend deer harvest totals Tuesday; more state news stories

The DNR expects to release deer totals on Tuesday from last weekend's opener. Pictured is Nick Johnson of Prescott, who took this deer in 2016. File photo

MADISON — The state DNR expects on Tuesday to release how many deer were shot during the opening weekend of the nine day gun season.

Last year, more than 120,000 bucks and does were taken in the first two days — and that was a five-percent drop from the previous year. Most hunting takes place during the season's opening weekend, and about 60 percent of last year's total harvest was taken on the first Saturday and Sunday. Sheriff's officials say one unidentified hunter shot himself to death near Westfield in Marquette County on Saturday — the first shooting death in Wisconsin's gun season since 2015 — and a second hunter died from natural causes just 10 miles from there.


State has first deer-hunter shooting death in 2 years

Wisconsin recorded its first shooting death of a deer hunter in two years, and the fourth since 2012.

It happened Saturday near Westfield in Marquette County, where Sheriff Kim Gaffney said a 57-year-old county resident somehow shot himself — and his father found him dead in the town of Newton after hunting ended for the day. About 10 miles away, a 62-year-old Shawano County man died from natural causes after his body was found in a tree stand 16 feet up.

In Juneau County, sheriff's deputies say two hunters reported finding unidentified human remains in the woods near Lyndon Station late Saturday morning. Officials say three other hunters accidentally wounded themselves Saturday in Brown, Shawano, and Forest counties as 600,000 hunters took to the woods throughout Wisconsin to begin the state's nine day gun deer hunt.


Mining: As state moratorium ends, locals can still regulate

WAUSAU — At least one central Wisconsin county is in the process of setting up its own mining regulations, as the state is about to end a 19-year-old moratorium on sulfide mining.

The Marathon County conservation department in Wausau is rounding up information for an ordinance to make sure taxpayers don't get left holding the bag for environmental damage once miners leave. Aquila Resources has been considering mines in Marathon and Taylor counties, but has not filed for state licenses — and Taylor County has had a similar environmental protection ordinance since 2013. Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign a bill passed earlier this month which ends the state's mining moratorium and relaxes certain regulations. The bill's main author, Senate Republican Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst, says he did not seek to ban tougher local ordinances — saying companies need some type of "social license" in order to conduct mining.


UW-Superior to suspend 25 programs

SUPERIOR — It's student-related performance, not budget cuts, driving a decision by leaders at the University of Wisconsin-Superior to cut 25 programs.

The move comes in response to the state's decision to fund universities based on student access and success. Several faculty members, students and alumni are resisting, saying they weren't part of the discussion. Any student enrolled in a suspended program will be allowed to graduate. If there is enough interest shown over the next five years, the programs could be brought back. Among the factors being considered in funding decisions are graduation rates and the time it takes to earn a degree.


Four caught with gun stolen in burglary

MOUNT PLEASANT — Four people from Racine are awaiting charges after Mount Pleasant Police say they stopped their vehicle and found a gun stolen in a burglary.

A 25-year-old woman was arrested late Saturday night along with three men ages 27, 29, and 31. All face possible charges of receiving stolen property — and some of them face gun and drug charges. One had a warrant pending, two others allegedly violated previous probations, and police say one gave officers a fake name. Mount Pleasant Police say an officer smelled drugs in the vehicle that was stopped — and a later search turned up two weapons including one stolen during a burglary in Burlington.


Wind farm to power 25K homes

TOWN OF SEYMOUR — The $167 million Quilt Block Wind Farm in southwestern Wisconsin is expected to produce enough electricity to power about 25,000 homes.

Each of the 49 towers erected in Lafayette County generates about two megawatts. Dairyland Power Cooperative has signed an agreement to buy the wind farm's power for the next two decades. Landowners will be paid about $23 million to host the towers. Dairyland says it made the agreement so it can diversify its sources for energy and become less carbon-intensive.


Duluth man wanted on attempted homicide charges

SUPERIOR — Authorities on both sides of the border in the Twin Ports are looking for a 24-year-old Duluth man who shot another man when they argued over the sale of a vehicle.

Police say Edward Isaiah Austin is considered to be armed and dangerous. He is suspected of shooting the 29-year-old Superior man in the head, although the victim didn't realize he'd been shot.

The shooting happened during an argument over a $400 transaction. The victim's name hasn't been released. He survived, telling police he felt OK, but had a headache. He thought Austin had hit him in the head.


Mississippi River lock repairs to begin

GLENHAVEN — Repairs will begin next month at a lock on the Mississippi River in southwest Wisconsin.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to fix the armor plate and concrete in the lock chamber at Lock and Dam No. 10 between Glenhaven and Cassville in Grant County. Officials say the lock will close Dec. 12, or earlier if ice forms on the river by then. Sam Mathiowetz of the Army Corps at St. Paul says the project will result in safer passage by boats on the river — and it's being done during the winter to reduce the impact on boat traffic. The lock is right next to Guttenberg, Iowa, and it's expected to reopen March fourth.


Menomonie police want information after high school threat

MENOMONIE — The Menomonie Police Department is investigating after a threatening note was found at the high school.

Menomonie High School was put on lockdown for most of Tuesday, Nov. 14, after a message was found in the girls' restroom. Police are hoping someone comes forward with information about the threat.