Wisconsin Waterfowl Association
Dedicated to the Conservation of Wisconsin's Waterfowl and Wetland Resources.
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Thank You To WWA's
2017 Sponsors & Donors

Gold Level Sponsors
Silver Level Sponsors
Bronze Level Sponsors
State Level Sponsors
State Level Donors
  • Dale Arenz
  • Ted Olson
  • Jack Olson
  • Tom Lutes
  • Patrick Smith
  • Erich Pitz
  • Randy Hess
  • Raymond Petersen
  • Bruce Urben
  • Brian Hadler
  • David R. VanLanen
  • John Wetzel
  • Scott Zoellick
  • Cal Barstow
  • Terry G. Doughty
  • Bill Peebles
  • Jim Weix
  • Leonard & Arleen Wurman
  • Jeff Nania
  • Rob Monette
  • Guy McFarren
  • John Regan
  • Jerry Burns
  • Jerry Gadamus
  • Don Moore
  • Arthur Anderson
  • Don Kloetzke
  • Buzz Balzer
  • David Uihlein, Sr.
  • Robert Kieckhefer
  • Mark Drollinger
  • Jason Alvarado
  • Scott Hedin
  • Austin Wheaton
  • Tom Seibert
  • Larry Kirby
  • Sharon Kirby
  • Keith A. Pamperin
  • Lance Voeltner
  • Benjamin Larson
  • Randy Helbach
  • Don Kirby
  • Robert Swanson
  • Michael Alaimo
  • Joseph Porten
  • Eric Urben
  • Bryan Urben
  • Erich Schultz
  • Jon Bergquist
  • Creed Ferch
  • Gunner Seibert
  • Reggie Rechek
  • Sophie Vanden Boogart
  • Moose Vanden Boogart
  • Max White
  • Eve Monette
  • Ziva Fisher
  • Nixx Urben
  • Pearl Olson
  • Lynard Sitton
  • Phez Bartelmez
  • Jax Braun
  • Sapphire Klug
  • Rolf Timm
  • Neka Otten
Gone but not forgotten
  • Les Didier
  • John Holmes
Gone but never forgotten
  • Zoe Regan
Thanks to all those that have cherished the memory of a loved one by donating in memoriam to the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association.
Those recently memorialized were:
Mr. John Held
Ms. Kathy Shurts

Mr. John Holmes
Dale W. Arenz, Jon Bergquist

Mr. Jay Reed
Donor: Bob & Cookie Olson  

Mr. Norman J. Brady
Dale W. Arenz

Mr. Robert E. Strous

: Bruce Urben

Mr. Stephan Rogge
Donors: Bob & Helen Harold, Law Offices of O'Flaherty Heim Egan & Birnbaum Ltd, La Crosse County Bar Association

If you'd like to consider a lasting and meaningful memorial fund contribution for that friend, hunting partner, co-worker or relative with WWA, please contact us. Each contribution will offer:
  • A personalized letter to the family of the deceased,
  • A letter from WWA sent to the donor confirming contribution for tax purposes (address & individual donation amount must be supplied),
  • The option for the donor to designate which WWA program they wish their contributions be put towards, and a listing in this section for the duration of one year
The Wisconsin Waterfowl Association is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission focuses on wetland and upland habitat restoration, youth and adult environmental education and environmental- and hunter-based legislation.  
To contact us call (800) 524-8460 or (262) 968-1722, email wwainfo@centurytel.net or visit our website at  www.wisducks.org        
Don Kirby
Executive Director
Wisconsin Waterfowl Association
PO Box 427
Wales, Wisconsin 53183
Join Us December 12th for a Night of Winning
Don Kirby, Executive Director, 262.224.4949  
S peaking of winter season prep, after 7 years and 1,000's of miles Tom's trailer needed a facelift! A big THANKS to Image Advantage Signs of New Franken, WI; Nikki & her team made our rolling billboard look like new again!
Thanks for taking a moment to read this update about your Association.  Things start to pick up again after a few weeks where everyone's focus is centered on the hunt, and preparations for the coming holidays, and winter season.As I write this introduction in advance, we're preparing for the Lakeshore Chapter dinner event that opens on Thursday night.  Thanks to all of the chapter volunteers, and helpers from other areas, that helped make this 28th annual event happen. 
We'll finish off our fundraising events with one more party, coming up on the 12th, with our second annual Christmas Bash. This is one of our speedy 2-hour events built around a major drawing; we'll sell final tickets and draw the grand prize winner of the 2017 State Hunt to Bust A Duck Outfitters in Arkansas, as well as playing a few other fun games and giving away a bunch of prizes.  Make your reservations today for this entertaining night out with friends. Thanks also to everyone who participated earlier this week with another Giving Tuesday, in response to the special appeal Kelcy sent out earlierthis week. 
I received a nifty surprise when I returned from the holiday week:  as you'll read below, we've received another "Green Gifts" grant from Cellcom/Nsight for our long-term project property in Abrams.  In addition to that great help, they sent their in-house videographer to spend a morning with me, out on the property, where I gave him the "nickel tour" and shared the story of the project.  It really shows when you have a professional doing the video work & editing, a luxury we don't normally have. We'll be posting this video to our website, along with a number of updates on the activities going on at the project property. Thanks to Cellcom, the NE WI Deer Mgmt Alliance, and all our other partners, for helping make the disabled hunting access to this property possible. Watch the video here:
Please check out the updates from others, below, and I'll finish with a few reminders:  don't forget the "last call" for 2018 Conservation Calendar sales, and, as always, if you're reading this note, and didn't get to attend a banquet or other event this year - consider renewing your Membership, now - on-line, or by contacting Kelcy at the WWA office.  Your financial contribution is critical, but so is your very presence.  As our Association has grown, so has our credibility, with potential sponsors, vendors, and other agencies.
Finally, as we enter the end of the year, a tax-deduction reminder:WWA can be a resource for those individuals and businesses who find themselves in a position to make charitable donations, to improve their tax liability position.  WWA is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and your choice to assist us with our works in habitat restoration, learn-to-hunts, and the like can also assist you, or your business, if providing a charitable donation is part of your tax planning process.  Whether you consider advancing into a Life Member or Life Sponsor status, or simply wish to make a business contribution, WWA can certainly use your help!  With WWA's endowment account established in the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, those who wish for their assistance to be protected, long-term, can now participate in that way, more easily than ever (undesignated Life Member funds are assigned to this endowment account)!
If you'll be getting out on some final hunts, I wish you safe & successful endeavors, and a wonderful holiday season to come.

See you on the water, Don
Adopt A Wildlife Area Program Update
By Mike Alaimo, Lead AWA Volunteer
With the holiday season upon us, do not forget our feathered friends.  Last year, this wood duck hen wished for a new home and WWA helped to grant
This hen found her home in a nesting box placed by WWA volunteers on the Rome Pond WA.
that wish.  
'Tis the season, as winter is the perfect time of year to install new wood duck boxes and tend existing ones.  This can be a fun family or hunting buddy activity.  If you do not have private property to add boxes on, research your local WIDOT or DNR Wildlife Area.  Upon your request, we can help initiate contact with the DNR to begin a new adventure on our public lands or point you in the right direction to a team that is already working out in the field.  Fill out our volunteer form if you'd like to get involved in our Adopt A Wildlife Area (AWA) program.
This last month, we had a new volunteer step up through a message on Facebook.  He just wanted to get boots on the ground to do positive work through the WWA.  A Wildlife Area near his home was recently adopted by the WWA and this WWA volunteer stepped-up to help initiate a wood duck box project on the property, along with refuse clean-up and other improvements.  
This is a great example of how volunteers in the WWA can make a positive impact locally.   So in 2018, make it a resolution to help a hen fulfill her wish and reach out to us about project ideas in your area.  
We would like to conclude by thanking all of the volunteers that put time out in the field this year and/or worked in support of our fundraising events that contribute to even larger statewide improvement projects, conservation education and a presence in front of our legislators.
WWA volunteer Don Guenther installing the same box on the Bark River in the Rome Pond Wildlife Area this year

Christmas Bash Returns December 12th!
Join us at the Delafield Brewhaus for a "Night of Winning"!

What: Raffles - Games - Free Beer! - Appetizers
Where: Delafield Brewhaus, south of I-94 on Hwy 83
When: Tuesday, December 12th from 6:00 - 8:00pm.
Featuring the main event of the evening: the final ticket sales and drawing of our Waterfowler's Dream Hunt Arkansas Raffle!
Amazing raffle packages and fun games with a chance to win some pretty amazing prizes, including a Vortex binocs & rangefinder, a Parker crossbow, Yeti cooler and meat certificates, a Frabill ice shack, a S&W M&P Shield .45 pistol and vault set and LOTS more!
Check out all the details and get your tickets, for just $25, here!
2018 Conservation Calendars Are Here
Featuring 365 Fabulous Prizes, Including:
  • 57 Rifles & Shotguns
  • 20 Pistols & Revolvers 
  • 14 Mathews Archery Mission Compound Bows
  • 84 Cabela's Gift Cards and Packages
  • 12 Parker Crossbows
  • 6 Guided Fishing Trips from Conro's Family Resort
  • And more!

Our 2017 edition of the calendar sold out and we're expecting another sellout of the 2018 Conservation Calendar Raffles so get yours soon

2nd Annual Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

WWA's Second Annual Hall of Fame nominations and voting have commenced and we are excited to announce the Second Annual Class inductees.  Congratulations to:
  • Member Category: David Bente
  • Board of Directors Category: Lee Graves
  • Sponsor Category: Stephanie Grenzer/Cabela's
  • Posthumous Inductee: Robert Kuehl
Dave, Lee, Stephanie and Robert will all be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame at WWA's Annual State Meeting, taking place Saturday, January 27, 2018 at the Cabela's store location in Richfield.  Please plan to join us to welcome them into our 2nd Annual Hall of Fame Class. 

WWA Receives Green Gift from Cellcom
We're very excited to announce WWA has been selected as a 2017 Cellcom Green Gift recipient. The organization received a $2500 Green Gift from Cellcom to continue work on its Abrams property.  The funding from this grant, along with a hopeful future continuing partnership with the NorthEast Wisconsin Deer Management Alliance, will finish out these final two blinds, in a fashion similar to the three existing ones on the property.  All five blinds will now provide excellent hunting opportunities, due to the extensive food plot re-working & expansions done by life member Erich Schultz, of Pro Plots, LLC. Read on for the press release from Cellcom: 
Abrams, WI - November 8, 2017 . The Wisconsin Waterfowl Association (WWA) works to further restoration and conservation of the state's waterfowl and wetland resources and implement education for Wisconsin youth that heighten awareness about these resources. The group continues work on its Abrams property, a 152-acre area that is open to the public for hunting and wildlife viewing and includes a number of accessible features for hunters with disabilities. The Green Gift from Cellcom will fund the addition of two enclosed accessible binds for deer or turkey hunting on raised platforms.
"The opportunity to have a large) property open to the public, which features significant access for disabled Veterans and other differently-abled persons, to use the property for a variety of pursuits - all within a short drive of a large metropolitan area, is very unique," said Don Kirby, executive director of WWA. "Due to its easy access to the highway, and near-by location to both Green Bay and Oconto, the property allows ready viewing of many species of birds and other wildlife. The disabled access trails also allow ready travel, and invite those who might not otherwise, to explore the outdoors."Read the full press release here...  

Waterfowlers - Hunter Scientists
By Bruce Urben, President, 920.660.2773
Bruce Urben
Duck hunting on the west shore of the bay of Green Bay is seldom done on warm, bluebird, sunny days with mild winds. The second weekend in November this year was no exception. With the thermometer hovering around 16 degrees, southwest winds were at 20-30 mph, with rain and snow showers. Those are conditions that most waterfowlers dream about.
The landing that weekend was busy with hunters launching their rigs beginning at 4 am until sunrise. The open water hunting was incredible with a full migration going through the bay, that is if you were able to get out of the 3-4 foot waves! Most waterfowlers that weekend came in with near limits of bluebills, canvasbacks, goldeneyes and buffleheads. 
While we motored back into the landing at noon in blowing snow, we were met by a cheerful voice from shore, "Did you get any ducks?". After getting the high sign from us, this "student" from Ohio State University (OSU) College of Veterinary Medicine raced to his car for his log sheet, sample tubes and swabs.
Wild waterfowl are recognized as the major reservoir for influenza A viruses which can infect poultry, swine and humans. Waterfowl often show no sign of the infection and make them a good source for the transmission. Avian flu is an enteric virus which infects their digestive system. Infected waterfowl feces can be easily transmitted within the waterfowl population during fall migration with large duck populations. Students from OSU have been asking hunters in Wisconsin to allow them to collect anal swabs for analysis at several major waterfowling locations the past two years.
Why is this important? Commercial and domestic poultry and swine are susceptible to viruses passed by Waterfowl. Infections could lead to outbreaks that could decimate domestic poultry or swine populations. While there is also some evidence that influenza A in waterfowl also presents some risk for humans as well.
That weekend 2 student researchers were able to collect over 200 fecal swab samples from ducks for analysis for influenza A from the west shore of Green Bay. Hunters coming into the landing were anxious to have their ducks tested and cooperated in the study. Waterfowlers are truly "hunter scientists"!
In looking at the OSU results of testing for 2016, only 2% of the ducks sampled in Wisconsin tested positive for influenza A. 743 ducks were tested last year in Wisconsin with 15 being positive. The average for 9 states in the flyway where testing was done was 1.9% positive for Influenza A. Sampling this year will determine if this average is increasing or decreasing! Check out all the details at OSU's College of Veterinary Medicine website.
Photo courtesy OSU College of Veterinary Medicine
While hunting in this unpleasant weather is a plus for waterfowlers, collection of samples by these students in the same weather was truly challenging.
Thanks to all the Wisconsin waterfowlers that participated in this study. It just proves that waterfowlers are concerned for the well being of the State's Waterfowl population. As hunters we are conservationists and as it turns out "Hunter Scientists" as well! Check out the 2016-2017 results, below; w e look forward to the 2017-2018 results.
Image courtesy OSU College of Veterinary Medicine
Habitat Project Program Updates
Peter Ziegler
By Peter Ziegler, Project Director 

WWA wrapped up a projects in Columbia, Dodge and Washington Counties this past month and I also made it up to the Eagle River area to lead a group of high school students through the woods and onto the water. In Dodge County we had a small basin with a ditch plug, which will increase opportunity for nesting waterfowl and probably will be a good wood duck spot in the long run. 
In Columbia county we opened up an old oxbow along the Baraboo River and let me tell you, if you know anything about that river, there is no shortage of old oxbows.  Oxbows form over time as the river naturally changes course.  The sharp "U" shaped corners of many meandering rivers and streams eventually cut themselves off at the bottom by creating a new river channel and slowly filling in the old corner or oxbow with sediment.  This has been happening for millennia and will continue to happen; most noticeable changes occur after large flood events.  The sandy soils along the Baraboo River make it a prime river for channel changes which create these eventually disconnected oxbows.  Take a look at an air photo of the lower portion of the Baraboo River where it meets the WI River and you can easily see numerous old river channel oxbows indicating where the river once flowed.

Recently completed project in Columbia County, this historic oxbow was restored as an offline floodplain wetland of the Baraboo River, restoring habitat diversity

Once again we were able to continue our wild rice seeding efforts in northern Wisconsin.   This year we worked with the ecology class from Northern Pines School in Eagle River to help seed an historic rice lake where it had disappeared.   I literally lead them through the woods (a beautiful mature hemlock forest) to the canoe launch site where we casted 150 pounds of locally collected wild rice.  

Also, earlier this month we helped the City of Port Washington disable a tile line in their Birchwood Hills park as part of their larger plan for restoration of the site for education and public access. The small wetland restoration will help with flooding, increase wetland dependent species and reduce a point source discharge, improving water quality to the creek and ultimately Lake Michigan located about 1 mile down stream of the site.

Tom's Event Corner
By Tom Seibert, Regional Director
As always, I want to thank all of you for your support throughout this year.  Your contributions have enabled WWA to complete many habitat projects and continue our mission of habitat, restoration and education throughout 2017. 
We will be selling the final raffle tickets and drawing the winner of our Waterfowlers Dream Hunton December 12th at the Delafield Brewhaus at our Christmas Bash.  Along with that raffle we'll have a full "night of winning", with games, several great prizes and guns to win at this event as well.This is a quicky 2-hour event that is loaded with loads of fun events, free beer (or soda) and appetizers, all for just $25!  I see another road trip in your future, check out all the details here. 
I hope you have had a chance to partake in our current hunting seasons.  Your support has contributed to the upkeep and creation of many of the lands you have hunted on.  Without all your support WWA's efforts couldn't exist, so Thank You!  Come and have fun at our last remaining event and help us help this state's wildlife flourish. 
Many of you have been long time attendees at WWA events and the many other great conservation groups' events and you have seen many nifty raffles and games over the years, I'm sure.  I would like your input on the types of games, raffles, prizes and guns you would like to see at our events.  Many of you grab me at a banquet and make suggestions and I truly appreciate that. Now I would like to hear from more of you with ideas to help make our events better for all of our membership.  I understand that most of you haven't the time to serve on a committee but still have valuable ideas to share, so now is your time to help make your association even better for all of us.  Drop me an email and let me know your ideas!  I will be updating you all on some of the new great things you will see in the upcoming new year.
If you would like to participate as a volunteer on a committee or would like to start a new chapter please take a second to fill out our volunteer form and let us know where and how you'd like to help. 
Speaking of help, we are looking for some in finding a donor of road bed #3TB gravel to apply to the road to the disabled hunters blind we are constructing
Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area, adopted by WWA Volunteers
on the AWA project in Jackson Marsh.  If you could help in that aspect please contact me.  WWA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and your contribution would be fully tax deductible and greatly appreciated!  Let us know if you, or someone you know of, can help!
Thanks again for all you do for WWA. 
Sponsor Spotlight: von Stiehl Winery
It seems very appropriate to recognize our partners from Algoma for the last "spotlight" of the year, during the year of their 50th Anniversary.  Our friends at the von Stiehl Winery have been assisting our Association for many years.  If you've ever been to one of our fundraisers, you've likely seen the promotional brochures, wine guides, the bottles of one their best-selling wines, and the group winery tours and wine tasting certificates they've shared with the members of WWA.  With the whole world looking to the Door Pennisula for vacation-time trips, their setting in nearby Algoma, makes these offerings a winner for us, at all our outreach events.
 According to their website:  "The von Stiehl Winery, listed in the Federal Historic Registry, offers a nostalgic view of turn-of-the-century German America. Winery Tours include a visit to the century-old underground limestone caverns where wine is fermented and aged. See and learn how wine is created, then plan to sample over 25 varieties of grape and fruit wines...
The small town charm of the von Stiehl Winery, with its view of Lake Michigan, gracious staff, and room to stretch out on the lawn make visiting von Stiehl a "must do" while in the area. If you can't join us in person, browse our online store, pick out a favorite wine, and we'll send a bit of von Stiehl your way."
To learn more ab out von Stiehl Winery, and plan a visit to their great location, right on Lake Michigan, see their website by clicking on their logo in the margin of this newsletter.  WWA extends its most sincere thanks to all of the folks at von Stiehl, and to the recently retired Tasting Room Manager, Sallie Marquardt, for all your support over the years.


  • 10th: January Calendar Raffle Drawing - Marsh Inn, Collins, WI
  • 27th: WWA State Meeting - Cabela's, Richfield, WI


Thank you to everyone who purchased our 2017 Conservation Calendar! This raffle was again an immensely successful fundraiser for our organization's mission.  

NEW for 2017: Drawings will be held on the SECOND WEDNESDAY of each month and all drawings will be held at Marsh Inn, 220 S. Hwy W in Reedsville, WI, at 6:00 p.m. The drawing is open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend. 

Winner's results are posted online by noon on the Thursday following the drawing and the month's drawing results can also be obtained by request via email or by calling (262) 968-1722 or writing to PO Box 427, Wales, WI 53183. 
Good luck to all who are entered!
By Dr. Jacob Straub,Kennedy-Grohne Chair in Waterfowl & Wetlands Conservation, College of Natural Resources, UW-SP

Habitat: don't mess with the ingredients!
In a prior WWA newsletter (February 2017), I wrote about habitat as the recipe for successful waterfowl management.  In a quick summary, management has been and remains successful at increasing waterfowl populations because millions of acres of wetland habitat have been protected by conservation groups including and like WWA.  Well, the ingredients in this habitat recipe are in danger of becoming spoiled and perhaps right in your backyard.  To write in more clear terms, legislation has been proposed in Wisconsin that removes this states permit authority for the protection of over one million acres of protected wetlands.  This matters for ducks and hunters!  Here is why.
The wetlands in question are considered "i solated" meaning they don't have
An isolated wetland in Wisconsin. Photo WDNR
an obvious connection to other larger bodies of water, steams or river.  They are also typically small and ephemeral meaning they might not retain water all year.  However, isolated, small and ephemeral should never be confused with having no value or considered useless.  Quite the opposite! 
Waterfowl, especially ducks, rely on these wetlands in potential jeopardy.  In spring, when most of these wetlands are inundated, they provide high quality food resources like invertebrates and provide pair isolation so successful reproduction can occur.  In summer, duck and goose broods seek small wetlands for foraging opportunities and safety as these wetlands are often devoid of predators like mink (which prefer larger and deeper water).  Lastly, in fall these wetlands provide refueling centers for migrating birds but also hunting opportunities for thousands of hunters.  These wetlands provide substantial value to waterfowl and waterfowl hunters and if this legislation passes 1 million acres, or about 20% of all wetlands in this state, would be in jeopardy of permanent loss. 
I'll end this month with a fairly obvious call-to-action.  There is still time to stand up for the birds and for the hunters.   Please contact your local representatives to encourage them NOT to co-sponsor, or support, LRB-4115/1 & LRB 4410/1.

The Decoy Corner: Evans Decoys, Another Wisconsin Original
By Bruce Urben, President 
In late 1927, Walter Evans established the Evans Decoy Company in Ladysmith, Wisconsin. It was very likely that Walter was carving decoys several years earlier on a part time basis, but a fall from a scaffold at his job at Flambeau River Lumber Co. disabled him and the Evans Decoy Co. was officially in business.
Walter Evans purchased several duplicating lathes from the Rhinelander Boat Co. after their plan to build decoys never materialized. Evans offered his decoys in 5 different models: hollow mammoth, solid mammoth, hollow standard, solid standard and competitive. He also made special order decoys to customer specifications. The most rare Evans species are redheads, black ducks, coot, pintail and blue wing teal. Standard and competitive grades did not have highly carved bills, the rest did. Evans hollow decoys were produced by drilling and plugging a 2-1/2 inch hole in the breast of the decoy (you can clearly see the circular plug in the breast). Many Evans decoys used thin wood wedges inserted in body cracks caused by improper drying of the wood he used. Mammoth and Standard models were sanded smooth while the competitive models clearly show the lathe turning marks. Most Evans decoys have elaborate and impressive scratch or comb painting techniques on the bodies. He used oil paints that weathered extremely well. 
Walter Evans was  no longer producing decoys in the early 1930's because of health issues, but his son-in-law (C.A. Ellingboe, an undertaker in Ladysmith) took over until 1934 when the Evans Decoy Co. ceased operation.
Evans Decoys are highly sought after by Wisconsin collectors. Warman's Duck Decoys (by Russell Lewis) lists the value range of Evans decoys from $750-$5000, while the rarest species command the highest value.
Some key Evans identification traits:
  • Most have elaborate bill carving,
  • oval, flat bottom wood decoy,
  • most are ink stamped "Evans Decoy" on the bottom,
  • a mild to moderate upswept bill,
  • wood wedges are seen in body cracks, and
  • unique almond shaped wing patterns.
Maybe you have an Evans Decoy on your mantel or stored away in the shed. If you do, you truly do have a Wisconsin original!
Young Hunters: When and How to Get Children Hunting
From Outdoor Empire, By Erik Jutila 
Photo: Chris Waters
Passing the Torch
There are a lot of reasons to introduce kids to hunting. It is a wholesome hobby that teaches valuable life lessons, encourages exercise and promotes spending time outdoors. In addition to the reasons that hunting is a good activity for the individual, getting the next generation involved is good for the overall sport.
  • As the world becomes increasingly modern and technology-flooded, and gun and hunting rights continue to be challenged, hunting is in danger of becoming a thing of the past.
  • Today's youth will be responsible for keeping the sport alive by advocating for gun and hunting rights in the future. Hunters are also some of the primary activists that support habitat restoration and wildlife management.
Aquatic Invasive Species Waterfowl Hunter Outreach 
Submitted by Jeanne Scherer, AIS Outreach Specialist, UW Extension

Photo credit WI DNR
Thank you to the over 700 waterfowl hunters who took the time to speak with Wisconsin DNR Water Guards, Wardens and partners across the state who conducted boat inspections and Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) education during the 2017 duck hunting openers. For the second year, AIS outreach was held at access points at the Mead Wildlife Area, Big Muskego Lake, Horicon Marsh, and in the Green Bay and La Crosse areas. This year, AIS partner organizations also spoke with hunters at Crex Meadows, Rock Lake (Jefferson County), Two Rivers, Lake Poygan and Sheboygan Marsh.

The Waterfowl Hunter AIS Outreach Campaign is based on the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program many know from the summer boating season. Hunters were approached at launches or other access sites where they were asked to complete a quick survey which also engaged them in conversation about how we can slow/stop the movement of AIS around the state. The summer survey was rewritten to make it specific to hunting. Hunters were also reminded that steps, such as carefully checking blinds and draining decoys, can be challenging but worth it to protect the sport from invasive species like Faucet snails that can cause large scale duck die-offs. Most hunters showed a strong understanding of the importance of the AIS message and that it is also law in Wisconsin. The message was new to many people who only use their boat for hunting or don't use a boat at all. Sometimes they knew about invasive species and the associated problems but hadn't related the AIS law to their sport. A token of thanks, a bird band printed with the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers logo, was given to everyone who talked with the inspectors.
The Message: To help protect waterfowl habitat and populations, hunters must take these simple steps before launching into and leaving a waterbody:
Inspect waders, boats, trailers, motors and hunting equipment, including boots, blinds and dogs.
  • Remove all plants, animals and mud.
  • Drain all water from decoys, boats, motors, livewells and other hunting equipment.
  • Never move plants or live fish away from a water body.
Contact Jeanne Scherer if you would like to send input for the 2018 campaign or are interested in the hunters AIS brochure or bird bands for events: jeanne.scherer@ces.uwex.edu.
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