Whitetail Tactics Trail Camera Video for the Week Ending 11/3/2012

The rut action is picking up. There’s some nice bucks coming in, though most of them are still coming well past legal shooting hours.

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It’s deer-mating season: Drivers be aware

State again ranks high on auto insurer’s annual list of high car-deer collisions

MADISON — Wisconsin drivers have a 1-in-79 chance of colliding with a deer any month of the year – but even more likely during October and November when bucks are running wild looking for a date.

Reports from Department of Natural Resources offices around the state indicate the white-tail deer are now actively moving into their mating season, known as the rut.

Wisconsin ranks seventh in the new State Farm insurance company annual ranking of states where drivers are most likely to strike deer. The auto insurer uses its claims records and federal licensed driver data to calculate the ranking.

Chief Warden Randy Stark says the increased deer movement, both day and night, due to the breeding season being under way requires drivers to be especially cautious in the next month. This is particularly true at dusk and at dawn. “This is when the deer are on the move from where they’ve spent the night to where they are going to eat. Deer are the most active when feeding and chasing potential mates,” Stark said. “Deer are not looking for cars, which is why drivers must look for deer.”

Last year, the Department of Transportation says Wisconsin law enforcement agencies reported a total of 18,176 deer versus motor vehicle crashes.
• Dane County had the most motor vehicle versus deer crashes reported in 2011 with 846.
• Shawano County had the second most with 762 followed by Waukesha County with 714.
• In Shawano and Green Lake counties, more than half of all reported crashes in 2011 involved deer.
• Deer are the third most commonly struck object in Wisconsin traffic crashes (behind collisions with another vehicle or a fixed object).
• Motorcycles were involved in four of the five fatal deer versus motor vehicle crashes in 2011.

Stark says it pays to remember if you see one deer, it’s likely there are more. “It’s important vehicle operators drive defensively and anticipate the presence of additional deer when they see a deer along the roadway.”

The WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety offers the following advice to prevent deer crashes:
• Be on the lookout for deer, eliminate distractions while driving, and slow down in early morning and evening hours—the most active time for deer.
• Always wear your safety belt—there are fewer and less severe injuries in vehicle-deer crashes when safety belts are worn.
• If you see a deer by the side of the road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away.
• When you see one deer, look for another one—deer seldom run alone.
• If you see a deer looming in your headlights, don’t expect the deer to move away—headlights can confuse a deer and cause the animal to freeze.
• Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path.
• Do not swerve—it can confuse the deer as to where to run—and cause you to lose control and hit a tree or another car.
• The one exception to the “don’t swerve” advice applies to motorcyclists. On a motorcycle, you should slow down, brake firmly and then swerve if necessary to avoid hitting the deer. If you must swerve, always try to stay within your lane to avoid hitting other objects.
• If you hit a deer, get your vehicle off the road if possible, and then call a law enforcement agency. Walking on a highway is dangerous, so stay in your vehicle if you can.
• Don’t try to move the animal if it is still alive. The injured deer could hurt you.

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8 Point Buck on Trail Camera

Here’s a few pictures of a pretty decent 8 pointer that’s coming in. The buck activity is definitely picking up.
There’s bigger deer out there, but it would be tough to pass up a shot on this one.

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When to pull the trigger? Let the new Wisconsin DNR sunrise/sunset app be your guide

MADISON — It’s late in the day and a beautiful night is on the way. You’re in your tree stand and you realize you don’t have the hunting regulation pamphlet with you. You don’t know if it is still legal to shoot. Now what do you do?

It’s very simple. The answer is in your palm. (See below how to get it!)

Sunrise sunset QR code

Look at your Android phone. Tap on the new “Sunrise-Sunset” app and learn immediately the legal times of the day to shoot at your location. It’s so simple you’ll think it’s cheating, but it’s not.

Tested by Wisconsin conservation wardens, the app has been developed by the Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Law Enforcement to answer your needs.

Using a GPS system, the app tells you to the second the opening and closing time for various hunting seasons for your current location.
• No calculating is needed.
• No adding or subtracting of minutes is needed.
• What you see on the screen for an opening time or a closing time is when you can legally pull the trigger or when you should no longer shoot.

You also can use it to learn the opening and closing times for locations anywhere in the state or for future dates.

The app is really simple

Just turn on your phone’s GPS.
• Open the app and select the date you are going to hunt.
• Select the species you want to hunt.
• Set your location using the traditional state map areas (A-F) and the correct shooting opening and closing times will be displayed.

The app comes complete with a state time zone map tab, an informational tab and an email shortcut to notify the DNR about app needs and issues.

How to get it

Not only is it efficient, it’s cheap – that’s 99 cents cheap! Here are two surefire ways to get it:
• QR code above: If you have a QR code reader on your phone, fire it up and read the code shown above. It will take you right to the Play Store. After selecting the Plays Store [dnr.wi.gov/u/?q=16], you’ll be brought right to the app.
• Download the app at the Android Market. Search for Sunrise-Sunset by the WI DNR

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Minnesota DNR anticipates good deer hunting season

Deer hunting should be good when Minnesota’s firearms hunting season opens Nov. 3, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“Minnesota’s deer population is up from last year, in part, because of the mild winter,” said Lou Cornicelli, the DNR’s wildlife research manager. “Mild winters result in more survival of adults, more fawns being born, and more deer in the state’s fields and forests the following hunting season.” He estimated the deer population at about 1 million.

Cornicelli said one difference between this and last year is there are fewer areas where hunters can harvest more than one deer. This change, he said, reflects the agency’s interest in rebuilding or maintaining the deer herd in certain portions of the state by managing the harvest.

“Hunters in about half of the state had to apply for a limited number of antlerless permits,” said Cornicelli. “Moreover, there are fewer places where hunters can take two or more deer.” These harvest reduction changes, he said, were implemented based on hunter input and also addressing the interests of private landowners, agricultural growers, automobile drivers and others. They also reflect the fact that antlerless and bonus deer permit availability decreases as overly abundant populations are brought into line with agency goals.

Last year, Minnesota’s nearly 500,000 deer hunters harvested 192,300 deer.

Minnesota’s deer harvest has varied widely over the past half-century. In a historical context, too many deer were taken during the 1960s, forcing the closure of the deer season in 1971 and a rebuilding of the deer herd through the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s. The highest deer harvest occurred in 2003 when 270,000 deer were taken as part of an effort to reduce the deer herd. Today, the DNR manages the deer population based on goals established with public input.

“The state’s deer population has gone from too low to too high to fairly close to what people are willing to accept,” said Cornicelli. “I don’t envision spectacularly high or low harvests in the years ahead but rather moderate harvests . . . harvests that reflect the herd being managed responsibly and responsively.” Cornicelli said deer hunters play an important role in deer management by helping control deer numbers.

The firearms deer season concludes in the northern Minnesota on Sunday, Nov. 18, and Sunday, Nov. 11, in all other parts of the state. A late season in southeastern Minnesota that stretches from Watertown in the north to Caledonia in the south opens Saturday, Nov. 17, and closes Sunday, Nov. 25.

Northwestern Region Outlook
The northwest region expects a good deer hunting season in 2012, barring any adverse weather conditions. This past winter was extremely mild, which resulted in good deer survival and production.

Deer populations in most permit areas are at or near goal densities. To maintain populations or increase them to goal densities, most permit area designations have dropped one level from 2011. Hunter choice areas becoming lottery areas and managed areas becoming hunter choice areas are expected to lower the overall deer harvest from last year although the buck harvest likely will be higher.

DNR will again sample hunter-harvested deer in the bovine tuberculosis management area but at a reduced effort from prior years. Samples will be collected Nov. 3-11 at six registration stations. If no deer test positive, this will mark the third consecutive year of no positives and will be the last year of sampling for bovine TB.

Conditions are very dry this year so hunters should generally find easier access to hunting areas compared to past years. In addition, the crop harvest is well ahead of normal, meaning there will be less cover available for deer as compared to most openers.

Northeastern Region Outlook
DNR wildlife managers in northeastern Minnesota are expecting a good deer season in 2012. Harvest regulations generally are more conservative than in the recent past. Following public input into our deer population goals, harvest changes were implemented that will allow the deer population to grow in most of the permit areas in this region.

The likely result for hunters is that more permit areas will have a lottery or hunter choice designation in 2012. The 2012 harvest is projected to be less than that of 2011 because of these restrictions but hunters should expect to see good numbers of young deer.

Due to the discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease near Shell Lake, Wis., the DNR will conduct surveillance in deer permit areas 159, 183 and 225 along the Wisconsin border until 300 samples have been collected from each area. CWD has not been found in those areas; however, the CWD management plan calls for surveillance when a new infection is discovered near Minnesota.

Central/Southeastern Region Outlook
Another mild winter and an early harvest of crops should lead to an outstanding deer hunting season in this region, which stretches from the northern borders of Morrison and Todd counties southeast to the Minnesota-Wisconsin-Iowa border.

The deer population overall is extremely healthy. Most of the region’s deer permit areas can be categorized as hunter choice, managed or intensive. This region has traditionally boasted excellent deer hunting with harvest rates per square mile well above average in spite of heavy human development, typically accounting for close to 30 percent of the state’s deer harvest. Considering that nearly three-fourths of the state’s human population lives in this area, it’s clear that a lot of people are finding quality deer hunting opportunities close to home.

Hunters in 300 series permit areas (southeast) can legally shoot either a doe or a buck. Bucks, however, must have at least four antler points on one side to be legal and buck cross-tagging is prohibited. The experimental antler-point restriction, aimed at increasing take of antlerless deer and producing older, bigger bucks, is in its third and final year, and will be re-evaluated this winter. It does not apply to youth hunters ages 10 to 17. Deer taken in an antler point restriction permit area must be registered at a walk-in station; telephone or internet registration is not allowed.

The Central/Southeastern Region also includes two no-limit antlerless permit areas that run for a full three weeks: 601 and 602. Permit area 602 northwest of Rochester is a special area where chronic wasting disease was discovered in one hunter harvested deer nearly two years ago. Special rules require hunters to submit deer taken there for lymph node sampling, and they prohibit carcasses from being moved out of the area until a negative CWD test result has come back. Permit area 601 encompasses the seven-county metro region.

Southern Region Outlook
The Southern region, which encompasses much of Minnesota’s prime farmland, anticipates good deer hunting opportunities in 2012. This mostly open, agricultural part of Minnesota is dominated by a lottery season framework.

Corn and soybean harvest is mostly complete. The number of antlerless permits offered this fall under the lottery was decreased significantly from 2011 levels. This will provide protection to the herd and allow for herd growth where desired.

The effects of the relatively mild winter of 2011-12 has helped deer and they are in good condition. Generally, the population goals are to continue to increase the deer population, and the number of permits allotted should do just that.

Finally, the eastern portion of the region will have a block of six hunter choice permit areas where hunters can shoot one deer of either sex without first obtaining an antlerless permit through the lottery process.

Conditions are dry and hunters need to be careful to prevent wildlife fires.

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The Rut is On!

In case you haven’t already noticed, or been told, the rut action is picking up. Sparring activity is picking up, and scrapes and rubs are appearing. The bucks that haven’t been around for a while, plus ones that we haven’t seen before, are making the rounds.

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Wet weather challenges hunters during first Camp Ripley hunt

Archers took a two-day total of 208 deer during the first bow hunt Oct. 18-19 at Camp Ripley Military Reservation near Little Falls, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The second two-day hunt is scheduled for Oct. 27-28.

“Wet weather greeted hunters and made it challenging for them to maximize their time in the field, with most of the hunters leaving by midday on Friday,” said Beau Liddell, DNR Little Falls area wildlife manager. ”Nevertheless, hunters still did well, resulting in the ninth highest harvest for the first hunt.

“For the ninth year in a row hunters were allowed to take up to two deer and to use bonus permits to increase harvest on antlerless deer,” Liddell said. “Harvest was above average. We are pleased that fawns and does comprised 61 percent of the harvest.”

The total harvest of 208 deer thus far is 14 percent above the long-term average harvest of 182 deer for the first hunt. “Unless we get poor weather, we’re on pace to register another top 10 harvest for both hunts combined,” Liddell said.

There were 2,502 permits issued for the first hunt, with 2,059 hunters participating, for a participation rate of 82 percent (down from 84 percent last year). Hunter success was 10 percent (identical to the long-term average for the first hunt). Seven hunters took their bag limit of two deer.

“With 14 consecutive mild winters in this part of the state and strong harvests since 2000, Camp Ripley’s deer herd is in good condition,” Liddell said. “Many hunters who provided comments indicated they saw numerous deer.”

Five adult bucks tipped the scales at or above 200 pounds. The largest buck registered weighed 215 pounds, taken by James Higgins of South Haven, Minn. Of adult does registered, the largest weighed in at 142 pounds, taken by Gerald Hartung of Clear Lake.

The DNR coordinates the hunts with the Department of Military Affairs, which manages the 53,000-acre military reservation.

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Michigan DNR asks for continued assistance in reporting deer die-offs from EHD

The Department of Natural Resources asks hunters and other Michigan residents to continue to report sightings of dead deer to help with the department’s efforts to monitor the outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in the state this year.

Deer have died in substantial numbers in at least 29 counties this summer and fall due to EHD, and the DNR’s Wildlife Division is recording reports of dead deer in these areas in order to answer questions from the public and prepare informed hunting season recommendations for 2013. The department will be taking reports of dead deer that are likely EHD-related until Jan. 1.

“Some people may have the perception that, once we have confirmed the presence of EHD in an area, we are no longer interested in additional reports of dead deer in those areas ? that is not true. We want the reports,” said Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason. “Any and all reports, whether the deer seem to have died recently or not so recently, will help ensure we have accurate information about the extent of die-offs.”

To report the presence of dead deer, the DNR encourages residents to contact their nearest Wildlife Office (information on Wildlife Offices is available at www.michigan.gov/wildlife, under Contact Information) or fill out the online Report Diseased Wildlife form.

For additional information about EHD and a regularly updated map showing the number of deaths from the disease by county, as well as a link to the report form, see www.michigan.gov/wildlifedisease (under Current Issues).

EHD is caused by a virus that is transmitted by a type of biting fly called a midge. A constant characteristic of the disease is its sudden onset. Deer can suffer extensive internal bleeding, lose their appetite and fear of humans, grow progressively weaker, salivate excessively and finally become unconscious. Due to a high fever, infected deer often are found sick or dead along or in bodies of water.

At present, just over 10,400 dead deer have been reported. The DNR expects more dead deer to be found as hunters take to the field.

“We want to thank the many volunteers and hunters who have helped – and continue to help – monitor the outbreak of this disease,” Mason added.

Mason reminded hunters that the current deer season framework remains in place and will go as planned this year. When considering regulations for next year, the DNR will factor in the impact of EHD along with other influences on the deer population. In the meantime, Mason recommends that hunters and landowners assess the deer population in their area and carefully consider the amount of antlerless deer harvest they desire this year. People hunting in areas that were hit hardest by EHD may want to limit or curtail antlerless deer harvest.

EHD does not affect humans, so edibility of the venison is not affected by this disease. There is no evidence that humans can contract the EHD virus either from the midge or from handling and eating venison.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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Safe deer hunters are never sorry

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urges deer hunters to make safety their first priority when Minnesota’s firearm deer season opens Nov. 3 by taking the time now to plan for a safe and successful hunt.

There are many considerations to take into account before the opening morning, according to Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Division education program coordinator. “First, are you going to hunt public or private land? If you are hunting public land, plan that there will be other hunters in the area,” said Hammer. “Scouting for deer signs and signs of other hunters is important to help determine a set-up location during the early morning hours before the season starts.”

Hammer noted knowing the safe zone of fire is especially important.

“Properly identifying your target and who or what’s beyond the target is a basic rule of hunting safety,” Hammer said. “Hunters must always be aware of surroundings and never shoot at a sound, which could be from another hunter rather than a deer.”

Hammer urges hunters to check elevated stands for proper tree attachment before hunting. He also recommends using a fall arrest system when leaving the ground, and using a haul line to raise and lower unloaded firearms.

“Falls from elevated stands are a leading cause of injury for deer hunters,” said Hammer.

Ground blinds are becoming increasingly popular with deer hunters because they offer protection from the wind, rain and snow. Hammer said it’s important to place blaze orange on the outside of such blinds to alert other hunters.

Deer drives also present several potential safety problems. “Plan your deer drive around safety,” Hammer said. “Everyone involved should know the plan and stick to the plan.”

Hammer offered other safety reminders:

■Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.

■Always control the muzzle, keeping it pointed away others and yourself.

■Keep fingers outside the trigger guard until you are absolutely sure it’s safe to fire.

■Carefully identify your target, ensuring you have a safe backstop before shooting.

■Never load or unload firearms around others.

■Be sure that the barrel and action are clear of obstructions.

■Never climb a tree or jump a ditch with a loaded firearm.

■Never pull a firearm toward you by the muzzle.

■Always ask permission before entering private land

■As a guest of the landowner, act accordingly.

■Avoid alcoholic beverages or other mood-altering drugs before or while hunting.

■Wear plenty of blaze orange; the minimum requirement is a blaze orange cap and blaze orange above the waist

Hammer said hunting safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Hunters should refer to the big game hunting section of the 2012 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook for detailed information concerning deer hunting regulations or call DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367 for more information.

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New penalties for deer baiting in Minnesota

According to the Minnesota DNR, participants in Minnesota’s firearm deer season will be greeted with new penalties for baiting violations when they go afield Nov. 3.

“It seems that every year our officers are spending more and more time responding to complaints about baiting or discovering it while on patrol,” said Lt. Col. Rodmen Smith, Minnesota DNR Enforcement Division assistant director. “We hope these new penalties curb what has become an all too common violation.”

Deer baiting is placing food near deer stands or clearings with the intent of luring a deer into close shooting range. It has been illegal to bait deer in Minnesota since 1991.

DNR conservation officers issued 144 citations, gave 24 warnings and seized 134 firearms/bows in baiting related investigations during the 2011 bow, firearms and muzzleloader seasons. It’s the highest number of baiting citations issued during the deer hunting seasons since the DNR began tracking these violations in 1991.

The Minnesota Legislature recognized the negative impact of baiting deer and recently passed legislation to increase the penalties for those convicted of baiting deer.

“It was apparent that a fine and forfeiture of a firearm or bow was not enough to curtail the activity,” said Smith. “In order to show the seriousness of the offense hunters will be subject to license revocation when convicted of baiting deer.”

The new penalties for baiting:

■A person may not obtain any deer license or take deer under a lifetime license for one year after the person is convicted of hunting deer with the aid or use of bait. The DNR’s Electronic Licensing System (ELS) will also block a person’s ability to purchase a license. A second conviction within three years would result in a three-year revocation.

■The revocation period doubles if the conviction is for a deer that is a trophy deer scoring higher than 170 inches.

The fine for illegal baiting is $300, plus $80 or so in court costs. Another $500 can be tagged on for restitution if a deer is seized. Guns may be confiscated as well.

Smith said he is hopeful the new penalties, in addition to fines, restitution and confiscation of guns sends a message that Minnesota values it natural resources and there is a price for engaging in this illegal activity.

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