Nov 06 2020

Top 10 hunting violations during firearm deer season

As we gear up for the 2020 firearm deer season, DNR officials are expecting that this year’s higher hunting license sales will mean more new and experienced hunters in the woods. Here’s a list of the 10 most common hunting violations that conservation officers encounter every firearm season.

#1 – Using the wrong tag or improperly filling out a tag

Conservation officers often see the wrong kill tag on game – such as fish or turkey licenses on a deer. Often, this is a simple mistake made in the dark and can easily be corrected by re-tagging the deer as soon as you notice the error. 

Solution: Before field-dressing or moving the deer, kill tags should be filled out (including the month and date the deer was taken and the deer’s gender and number of antler points) and properly placed on the deer.

#2 – Not wearing orange

Some hunters remove their orange clothing once they get into deer stands or blinds. In the excitement of getting a deer, hunters may forget to put their orange clothing back on.

Solution: Commit to wearing hunter orange to keep yourself and others safe. Hunters are required by law to wear hunter orange as the outermost layer of clothing at all times.

#3 – Being unfamiliar with a firearm and how it functions 

Semi-automatic, lever, bolt and pump-action firearms are common choices among hunters, but each firearm functions very differently.

Solution: Take the time to familiarize yourself with your firearm and make sure it is properly sighted and functioning before you go hunting. Being able to safely handle your firearm is an important part of being a responsible hunter.

#4 – Committing safety zone violations

Each year conservation officers investigate property damage caused by firearms.

Solution: Rifle rounds travel long distances – hunters are responsible for where their bullets end up.  No one may hunt with a firearm within 450 feet of an occupied structure (including buildings, dwellings, homes, residences, cabins, barns or structures used for farm operations) unless they have permission from the landowner.

#5 – Trespassing

If a deer runs onto private property, the hunter cannot retrieve it without the landowner’s permission.  

Solution: Respect landowner rights and posted trespassing signs. If you’ll be hunting near someone else’s property, contact the landowner ahead of time; don’t wait until you’re tracking game.

#6 – Staking claims to public land hunting blinds

Confrontations over hunting spots, or the illegal posting (trespassing or hunting signs) of state-managed public land, happen every year.

Solution: Hunters should research and scout the land they plan to hunt – before hunting day. Brush, constructed blinds and tree stands on public land are just that – public. Regardless of who constructed, purchased or tends to these blinds, when they’re on state-managed public land, they are available on a first come, first served basis.

#7 – Littering

Leaving propane bottles, hand warmer wrappers, food wrappers, bottles and other trash causes problems for animals and people. 

Solution: Practice the “leave no trace” ethic. Whatever is brought into the woods should be taken back out. It is the responsibility of all hunters to be environmental stewards and clean up after themselves.

#8 – Baiting/attracting deer

Conservation officers stay busy responding to calls about illegal baiting.

Solution: Know the law. Baiting wild animals for hunting purposes is prohibited.

9 – Hunting out of hours or off-season

One of the most common complaints to the DNR’s Report All Poaching Hotline is about shots fired after dark. Often, these complaints are reported days later.

Solution: A hunter may legally shoot game 30 minutes before sunrise or until 30 minutes after sunset. Anyone who witnesses or suspects hunting outside of legal hours should immediately call or text the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline at 800-847-9367.

#10 – Harassing hunters

Conservation officers investigate acts of hunter harassment – which is when a person or organization intentionally sabotages another hunter’s quality opportunity to take game. Examples include spraying repellent around a hunter’s blind, creating loud noises and/or barriers that prevent or deter a hunter or game from accessing an area, or destroying other hunters’ equipment such as trail cameras and blinds.

Solution: Respect the law. Wisconsin law prohibits anyone obstructing or interfering with the lawful taking of animals. Hunter harassment is a misdemeanor offense.

Conservation Corner is a weekly article produced by the Forest County Land &Water Conservation Department. For more information contact Steve Kircher, County Conservationist-Land Information/GIS Director at 715-478-1387 or by e-mail at

Oct 30 2020

2021 Forest County Land Conservation Plant Sale

The first annual “Forest County Land Conservation Department Plant Sale” is here! Although winter is just around the corner, it is time to start thinking about what colorful additions you can add to your landscaping next spring. This year, our Land and Water Conservation Department has decided to host a plant sale, selling only plants that are native to Wisconsin. Not only are the native plants eye catching, they help the environment.

Wisconsin-native plants help conserve water, reduce your mowing costs, provide habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife, and protect the soil. The June pick up dates were decided based on our average temperatures here in Forest County that time of year. By June the soils should be warm enough to take on these native plants. This time of year has several weeks of warm soil temperatures for the plant roots to establish before the soil temperatures drop.

On our order forms we will have ferns, grasses and wildflowers. You can find the forms on our website, under 2021 Plant Sales or pick them up at the Forest County Land Conservation office. This year we are working with a local nursery, and to make sure we have all orders filled, we are doing pre-order only this year.

ORDER DEADLINE: March 1, 2021

Plant Pick up: June 4, 2021—8:00AM-Noon OR June 5, 2021—8:00AM-Noon

Any Questions, please call the Land Conservation Office @ 715-478-1387.

Conservation Corner,  

 Cassidy Neilitz, Land Conservationist-Land Information/GIS Technician at 715-478-1387 or by e-mail at 

Oct 09 2020

Emerald Ash Borer Detected in Dunn, Florence, Oconto, Pepin, Price, and Shawano Counties

The Emerald Ash Borer isn’t in Forest County yet, but they’re getting closer.  As you head out to cut your winter firewood please pay attention to these invasive beetles.

In partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has detected emerald ash borer (EAB) for the first time in the following counties:

Florence County (Town of Fence),

Oconto (Town of Little Suamico),

Dunn (Town of Rock Creek),

Pepin (Towns of Lima and Waterville),

Price County (City of Park Falls), and Shawano (City of Shawano).

These are the newest county detections of 2020 for Wisconsin. There have also been 48 new municipal detections in counties where the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was previously detected.

To date, Wisconsin has found EAB in 58 of the state’s 72 counties. The entire state is part of the EAB federal quarantine area, so there will be no regulatory changes as a result of these detections.

Conservation Corner is a weekly article produced by the Forest County Land &Water Conservation Department. For more information contact Steve Kircher, County Conservationist-Land Information/GIS Director at 715-478-1387 or by e-mail at

Oct 03 2020

Top 10 Ways to Help Lakes from Home

Plant native & diverse vegetation 

Deep-rooted native plants and trees help absorb water and hold topsoil in place during rain events. As an added bonus, they will add beauty to your property and provide habitat for songbirds and butterflies. 

Create a rain garden 

Not only will rain gardens capture stormwater runoff and beautify your property, they also provide biodiversity that helps butterflies and bees survive. 

Redirect downspouts 

This simple action allows you to redirect rainwater to your lawn or garden, while also reducing the amount of stormwater that goes to streets and directly into the lakes via storm sewers. 

Pick up pet waste & litter 

This simple act helps reduce the potential of E. coli pollution from washing into our lakes and closing our beaches after rain events. If you don’t have a pet, simply pick up trash you may see on your walk to reduce pollution and make our community more beautiful for everyone! 

Reduce salt use 

Winter salt runoff into our lakes can be toxic to aquatic plants and animals. Reducing salt use does not need to compromise public safety. By shoveling snow, using sand, and limiting salt use, you can be lake friendly and safe at the same time. 

Start home composting 

Turn your food trash and yard waste into valuable, nutrient-rich compost that reduces fertilizer use and provides you with a cost-saving solution for use in your garden, planters, or rain garden. 

Install a rain barrel 

By capturing rainwater from your roof, rain barrels reduce the amount of stormwater runoff that reaches the lakes. Rain barrels also provide you with stored water that can be used on gardens and lawns. 

Plant home food gardens 

Planting a garden will provide food for you and your community. It also reduces transportation costs, provides a place for mulch and compost use, and helps infiltrate stormwater. 

Inspire a friend or neighbor 

Leading by example creates a large ripple effect! Can you inspire friends, family, and neighbors to adopt these actions at their own homes? Share what you’re doing or bring someone to a Clean Lakes Alliance event so they can learn more about helping our lakes. 

Rake for leaf-free streets 

Leaves contain phosphorus. When left in the street, stormwater passes through leaves like a teabag and brings the phosphorus with it. Raking leaves from the street edge (three feet from the curb) and onto lawns will help fertilize the grass and reduce cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms in our lakes. 

Conservation Corner is a weekly article produced by the Forest County Land &Water Conservation Department. For more information contact Steve Kircher, County Conservationist-Land Information/GIS Director at 715-478-1387 or by e-mail at 

Sep 29 2020


By the time you read this, we will have passed the Autumnal Equinox that arrived on Tuesday, September 22nd.  Did you know that Equinox comes from the latin meaning equal night? During the equinox, the sun crosses the celestial equinox creating days and nights of equal length followed by days of shorter daylight. The sun rises and sets due east and west, respectively.  The sun will set before 7 pm from now until the middle of February.

As the days become shorter and the temperatures become cooler, a chemical change takes place within Wisconsin’s deciduous (which means falling off at maturity) tree leaves. In the summer, these leaves use the process of photosynthesis – when chlorophyll (green pigment in leaves) absorbs sunlight’s energy to transform water and carbon dioxide into starches and sugars – to fuel the tree’s growth and release oxygen. 

As the hours of sunlight decline and cooler weather comes, trees respond to these changes by making less and less chlorophyll until they stop making it. This allows the carotenoids (yellow and orange pigments) existing within the leaves to show through.

Researchers have found some tree species have leaves that produce red anthocyanins pigments at this time of year. These pigments create leaves of bright oranges and reds, and deep purple colors. The brilliance of anthocyanins each year is weather dependent. During warm, sunny autumn days, trees still produce sugars but the cooler nights prevent these sugars from moving into the branches and trunk. Anthocyanins allow these trees to recover nutrients found in the leaves before the leaves fall off. 

In the fall, you can identify trees by the colors the leaves change to.

Dogwoods and sumacs – reds/purples

Birches – bright yellows

Aspen/poplars – golden yellows

Sugar maples – orange-reds

Red maples – bright scarlett

Hickories – golden bronze

Oaks – reds, russet browns

Larches/tamaracks – golden yellows

Also during this time, a special layer of cells is created at the point where the leaves attach to the branches. These special cells gradually cut the tissues that hold the leaves to the trees, while the trees seal the cut by creating leaf scars when the leaves fall off the trees. Trees lose their leaves because the leaves will not be able to survive the cold. Oak trees are an exception – they hang onto their leaves through the winter!

Conservation Corner is a weekly article produced by the Forest County Land &Water Conservation Department. For more information contact Steve Kircher, County Conservationist-Land Information/GIS Director at 715-478-1387 or by e-mail at

Sep 23 2020

When is the Best Time to Seed Your Prairie Flowers?

Fall is a great time to plant your prairie grasses and flowers. Smooth Phlox, Wild Petunia, Blue Vervain, and Wild Bergamot are just a few that are native to Wisconsin. These seeds need exposure to cold, damp conditions for better germination rates. Most of these flowers and grass seeds have a built-in dormancy that need to be exposed to the cold conditions for a specific amount of time. Once the soil starts to warm up in the spring the seed will know it is okay to germinate. 

Early fall is also a good time to transplant your trilliums, bloodroot, Virginia bluebells, etc. By planting them early in the fall, this give the plants enough time to establish their roots for a head start come spring. Before the snow flies a good tip is to cover your early-blooming spring ephemerals with a few inches of straw. 

Watch for the Forest County Land Conservation Plant Sale. Coming soon! 

Conservation Corner,  


 Cassidy Neilitz, Land Conservationist-Land Information/GIS Technician at 715-478-1387 or by e-mail at 

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