- Associated Press - Sunday, January 19, 2014
Wis. DNR board set to vote on deer proposal

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin deer hunters have hauled their kills to roadside taverns or gas stations to be counted for decades, hanging around after the work is done to slug beers, swap stories and show off their trophies.

Now, though, the tradition, camaraderie and spending in-person registration generates are in jeopardy. The Department of Natural Resources has proposed moving to online and telephone reporting as soon as this fall.

Gov. Scott Walker’s deer trustee, Texas researcher James Kroll, proposed the switch to as a way to tally kills faster, save money and make life more convenient for hunters. But tavern and convenience store owners who have relied on registration to draw in hunters for 70 years worry about the loss of business, and DNR officials warn they could lose detailed biological data on the state’s herd and tissue samples used to test for chronic wasting disease.

The DNR’s board is set to vote on the plan Wednesday along with other rules implementing Kroll’s recommendations on improving Wisconsin deer hunting.

“It affects the culture. It affects the local economy,” said Lee Fahrney, a deer hunter and spokesman for the Conservation Congress, a group of sportsmen who advise the DNR on policy. “It just affects the whole social underpinnings of the annual deer hunt.”

Currently hunters register their kills at 626 locations, including DNR-run stations, taverns and convenience stores. DNR workers staff 100 or so stations during the popular nine-day November gun hunt to collect age and sex data as well as tissue samples for CWD testing. The agency uses data from that hunt and others to tally kills, track buck mortality and gender ratios, and assess deer health and antler characteristics.

The rules call for eliminating in-person registration across all deer seasons in an effort to maximize savings, said Eric Lobner, a DNR wildlife supervisor who is coordinating efforts to implement Kroll’s recommendations. The first sites would disappear this fall; all would be gone by 2015.

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Manitowoc man jailed in tricycle hit-and-run

MANITOWOC, Wis. (AP) - A man suspected of drunken-driving was jailed Sunday after a hit-and-run crash involving a man on a pedal tricycle that left the victim sticking through the vehicle’s windshield.

The vehicle, driven by a 20-year-old man, hit the a 56-year-old man riding the tricycle about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, the Manitowoc Police Department said in a news release. The cyclist went partly through the windshield of the vehicle, but the motorist did not stop. Instead, police said, the driver headed home, striking another vehicle along the way when he ran a stop sign.

The cyclist pulled himself into the vehicle after it stopped at the suspect’s home, and the suspect then tried to lock him inside, the statement said.

A witness had followed the suspect to his home and called police, who arrested him. The victim was able to get out of the vehicle. Police found him nearby.

The cyclist was taken to a hospital, where he was treated and released for unspecified nonlife-threatening injuries.

The suspect, who suffered a “significant laceration” on his hand, faces potential charges including OWI causing injury, hit and run causing injury, and failure to render aid.

The investigation was continuing, and police were looking for other witnesses.

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3 wounded in shootings at liquor store in W Wis.

HUDSON, Wis. (AP) - Police are investigating a shooting that left three people wounded outside a liquor store in western Wisconsin.

Police Chief Marty Jensen says it happened before 9:30 a.m. Sunday in a parking lot at Spirit Seller Liquors in downtown Hudson. He says the victims and suspects were in cars with Minnesota license plates, and may have driven across the border to Hudson to buy alcohol because Minnesota liquor stores are closed Sundays.

Two men and one woman were taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn. Their conditions were not available. Two male suspects were arrested at a hotel in Bloomington, Minn.

Liquor store owner John Kromer says it’s the first incident he’s had in 36 years there. He says the parking lot isn’t a place where people usually linger.

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Tensions flare between Wis. DNR, Gogebic Taconite

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Tensions between state regulators and a company that wants to bring an open pit iron mine to northern Wisconsin could be a signal of more conflict yet to come.

Gogebic Taconite and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources got into a public dispute last week over how much regulatory authority remains in the agency’s hands under a 2013 law that rolled back environmental restrictions to make mining easier. The dispute over what is and isn’t allowed under the untested mining law may be a preview of what’s to come when the company seeks a mining permit, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/1f3iUMphttp://bit.ly/1f3iUMp ).

Letters illustrating the tensions were posted on the DNR website last week. The company objected to a DNR research document that listed environmental hazards of mining, which the company considered biased, and it sharply criticized the extent of agency questions about Gogebic’s plans to dig up rock for testing.

“All of the tests and modeling we’ve done cost money,” company spokesman Bob Seitz said. “(Some studies cost) tens of thousands of dollars a crack. So this should be about what’s necessary and not what’s wanted to satisfy curiosity.”

Seitz said multiple rounds of questions from the DNR have delayed completion of its plan for collecting bulk samples from the site in Iron and Ashland counties.

Sen. Bob Jauch, a Democrat whose district includes the mine site near Mellen, accused the company of “bullying” tactics.

Gogebic Taconite’s tough tone will backfire if the DNR is forced to deny the company’s final mining permit because the company fails to provide needed data within the new law’s tightened timeline for decision by the state, Jauch said.

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