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NR 1.14(3) (3)Stocking and transplanting. There are 3 basically different objectives to the artificial introduction of upland game birds. The first is to restore a species which has been extirpated, the second to speed recovery of severely depleted numbers as a result of catastrophe, and the third to provide birds for hunting recreation on areas where the demand exceeds the capacity to produce wild birds. The first 2 are ordinarily short-term efforts involving wildtrapped stock, which are aimed at establishing or increasing wild populations which sustain themselves. The third is an annual effort which does not have lasting benefits and which often masks the continued deterioration of the habitat base necessary to sustain wild populations.
NR 1.14(3)(a) (a) Stocking of state wildlife areas to supplement wild populations for hunting recreation will be confined primarily to cock pheasants. However, stocked hens as well as cocks can be harvested on state wildlife areas in submarginal pheasant range. While stocking can usually put additional birds in the field at a lesser cost than habitat improvement, it yields only short-term, single-purpose benefits reaped primarily by the participants who hunt them. Therefore, user fees should be the primary means of support for pheasant stocking on designated state-owned areas. In order to assure the opportunity for a quality hunting experience on heavily hunted wildlife areas stocked with pheasants, (as was the case in s. NR 1.12 (2) (d) relating to waterfowl projects) a reduction in excessive hunter densities will be pursued by every available means.
NR 1.14(3)(b) (b) Cooperative game bird stocking (pheasant) programs will be used as necessary to supplement wild populations on privately-owned land in areas where the demand for upland game bird hunting exceeds the supply of wild birds. All game birds reared under cooperative programs continue to be the property of the state until released and harvested under general hunting regulations provided in ch. NR 10. The department will provide chicks and a specified amount of feed per chick to individuals or groups who care for the birds and provide rearing facilities that meet state standards. When the cost-sharing program is not elected, all game birds reared by private individuals or groups shall be released on lands which are accessible to the public for hunting without charge.
NR 1.14(3)(c) (c) Game birds shall not be stocked on lands to which the public is denied access for hunting unless a percentage of chicks fixed by the department is returned to the state at 8 or more weeks of age as specified in a written cost-share agreement. When cost-share birds are to be released, a percentage of the birds representing in total value the state's investment in chicks and feed shall be returned to the department and released on state wildlife areas. Cost records from the Poynette game farm will be used to determine the value at release age. The balance of the cost-share birds may be released by the individual or group on private lands, posted as desired, except that none may be released on private shooting preserves or private game farms.
NR 1.14(4) (4)Research and surveys. Statewide or regional surveys and investigations shall have high priority. Their primary objective is the establishment of base information regarding population densities, harvest, range and habitat quality or quantity. Periodic reassessment of these same bases will yield trend information necessary for management.
NR 1.14 History History: Cr. Register, April, 1975, No. 232, eff. 5-1-75; r. and recr. Register, July, 1977, No. 259, eff. 8-1-77.
NR 1.15 NR 1.15 Big game mammals. Big game mammals in Wisconsin are white-tailed deer, black bear and elk. The needs and actions specified in this section are essential to an effective big game management program.
NR 1.15(1) (1)Habitat management. The natural growth and changing composition of forest stands, particularly in the north, is causing a long-term decline in habitat quality for big game and other forest wildlife.
NR 1.15(1)(a) (a) Forest diversity. A planned program of maintaining forest diversity including shade-intolerant cover types, particularly aspen, oak and forest openings, is required to slow or halt this decline in habitat quality and to maintain deer populations at established population objectives.
NR 1.15(1)(b) (b) Summer range. Habitat conditions are deteriorating most rapidly on summer deer range. Forest maturation, conversion from sun-loving tree species to shade tolerant species and loss of grassy openings are reducing the quality of summer deer range and with it, the deer carrying capacity in northern Wisconsin. The habitat management objective is to provide an adequate mixture of aspen, oak, upland brush, jack pine and sodded openings in connection with regular forest management practices.
NR 1.15(1)(c) (c) Winter range. Winter habitat may be increasing as a result of expanding coniferous cover and implementation of deer yard plans on public lands. However, winter deer survival is largely dependent on fat acquired on the summer range. Deer have evolved physiologically and behaviorally to survive in northern forest habitats under average winter conditions. Occasional severe winters will result in deer mortality. These periodic losses are considered normal for northern deer and will occur irrespective of winter habitat quality. Severe deer losses can be mitigated most effectively by maintaining quality summer habitat. Direct feeding of hay, corn or other agricultural crops is seldom effective and even detrimental if not introduced gradually over time. While browse cutting does provide natural feed, it is largely ineffective. Specially formulated feed in pelletized form has been demonstrated to benefit malnourished deer. However, the cost and logistics of feeding enough deer to produce a measurable result in subsequent years precludes feeding as normal public policy. The department recognizes public concern for malnourished deer, public desire to feed stressed deer regardless of cost or measurable results and the benefits to individual animals which are properly fed. Therefore, the following policy is adopted for wintering deer in the northern forest.
NR 1.15(1)(c)1. 1. The department will seek appropriate deer harvest quotas to move deer populations in the direction specified by deer population objectives.
NR 1.15(1)(c)2. 2. Habitat management will emphasize maintaining summer range quality which will produce well nourished deer in the fall and enhance their overwinter survival.
NR 1.15(1)(c)3. 3. The department will monitor wintering deer herds by surveying yarding areas and measuring winter severity.
NR 1.15(1)(c)4. 4. The department will implement existing deer yard plans to maximize browse and perpetuate priority cover.
NR 1.15(1)(c)5. 5. The department will provide technical advice and guidance to individuals and groups on where, when, what and how to feed privately acquired food to deer during severe winters.
NR 1.15(2) (2)Harvest. Big game hunting regulations shall be designed to meet the following objectives:
NR 1.15(2)(a) (a) Deer population objectives. The department shall seek to maintain a deer herd in balance with its range and with deer population and sustainable harvest objectives that are reasonably compatible with social, economic and ecosystem management objectives for each deer management unit. Deer population objectives are to be based on:
NR 1.15(2)(a)1. 1. Carrying capacity as determined by unit population responses to habitat quality and historical records of winter severity.
NR 1.15(2)(a)2. 2. Hunter success in harvesting and seeing deer and public deer viewing opportunities.
NR 1.15(2)(a)3. 3. Ecological and economic impacts of deer browsing.
NR 1.15(2)(a)4. 4. Disease transmission.
NR 1.15(2)(a)5. 5. Concern for deer-vehicle collisions.
NR 1.15(2)(a)6. 6. Chippewa treaty harvest.
NR 1.15(2)(a)7. 7. Hunter access to land in a deer management unit.
NR 1.15(2)(a)8. 8. Ability to manage the deer herd in a management unit towards an established population objective.
NR 1.15(2)(a)9. 9. Tolerable levels of deer damage as described in par. (am).
NR 1.15(2)(am) (am) Tolerable levels of deer damage to crops. Deer damage to crops in a deer management unit exceeds tolerable levels when the crop damage is greater than 2.5 times the median in 2 of the following 4 indicators:
NR 1.15(2)(am)1. 1. Appraised deer damage losses determined through the wildlife damage program under s. 29.889, Stats., per 100 overwinter deer.
NR 1.15(2)(am)2. 2. Appraised deer damage losses determined through the wildlife damage program under s. 29.889, Stats., per square mile of land in the deer management unit.
NR 1.15(2)(am)3. 3. Appraised deer damage losses determined through the wildlife damage program under s. 29.889, Stats., per square mile of agricultural land in the deer management unit.
NR 1.15(2)(am)4. 4. Number of claims for deer damage submitted through the wildlife damage program under s. 29.889, Stats., per 100 square miles of total land.
NR 1.15 Note Note: The crop damage data used for these evaluations are adjusted to omit damage losses to high valued crops such as cranberry, orchard, Christmas tree, truck farm crops, etc. where low deer numbers can still cause high losses, and where effective abatement is available in the form of 8 foot high deer barrier, high tensile woven wire fences. The focus of the “tolerable levels" criteria is on chronic damage losses caused by high deer populations.
NR 1.15(2)(at) (at) If crop damage in a deer management unit with an objective to maintain or increase the population is above the tolerable limit in 2 years out of a 3 year period prior to a unit review under s. NR 10.104 (3), the department shall consider establishing an objective to reduce or maintain the deer population.
NR 1.15(2)(b) (b) Hunting objectives. Achieving and maintaining opportunities for a range of deer hunting experience while still allowing to the extent possible, freedom of choice by hunters. Regulations should provide incentives or disincentives to encourage better distribution of hunting pressure. If hunter numbers continue to increase, control of hunting pressure may become necessary.
NR 1.15(2)(c) (c) Black bear. Maintaining the black bear as a trophy big game animal and offering the best opportunity for a quality hunting experience. In addition, the maintenance of a quality hunt will be emphasized by continuing controls over the use of bait and dogs.
NR 1.15(2)(d) (d) Animal damage. Deer, bear and elk damage complaints will be handled according to the provisions of s. 29.889, Stats., and rules as published in the Wisconsin administrative code. Damage can be most economically controlled by maintaining populations with a hunting season harvest as specified in par. (a).
NR 1.15(2)(e) (e) Elk. Maintaining elk as a big game animal and offering the best opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime, quality hunting experience. In addition, the maintenance of elk as a valued component of the natural community will be emphasized by continued management.
NR 1.15(3) (3)Research and surveys. Surveys, investigations and research shall be conducted to provide technical information necessary to evaluate population objectives and establish population trends, harvest recommendations, population objectives and habitat management needs and guidelines.
NR 1.15 History History: Cr. Register, April, 1975, No. 232, eff. 5-1-75; r. and recr. Register, July, 1977, No. 259, eff. 8-1-77; am. (2) (d), Register, January, 1984, No. 337, eff. 2-1-84; am. (1) (a), (2) (a) and (b), r. and recr. (1) (b) and (c), Register, July, 1987, No. 379, eff. 8-1-87; r. and recr. (2) (a), Register, July, 1996, No. 487, eff. 8-1-96; correction in (2) (d) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, September, 1999, No. 525; CR 00-154: am. (2) (a) and cr. (2) (am) and (at), Register January 2002 No. 553, eff. 2-1-02; CR 08-021: am. (intro.) and (2) (d), cr. (2) (e) Register November 2008 No. 635, eff. 12-1-08; Emr1405: emerg. am. (2) (at), (3), eff. 2-25-14; CR 13-071: am. (1) (a), (b), (c) 1., (2) (a) (title), (intro.), r. and recr. (2) (a) 8., am. (2) (at), (3) Register July 2015 No. 715, eff. 8-1-15.
NR 1.16 NR 1.16 Furbearers. For the purposes of this section, furbearers are muskrat, mink, weasel, beaver, fisher, otter, skunk, raccoon, fox, coyote, bobcat and opossum. The furbearer management program has the following essential needs and actions:
NR 1.16(1) (1)Habitat management.
NR 1.16(1)(a) (a) Wetlands are the primary habitat component for many furbearers so the actions regarding wetland protection and management stated in s. NR 1.12 (1) are reemphasized in relation to furbearers.
NR 1.16(1)(b) (b) The capacity to produce furbearers on lands and waters under the management and control of the department can be increased through more intensive management of suitable habitat. Generally, management activities designed to improve furbearer populations are compatible with management for other species of wildlife. In certain situations, populations of furbearers such as fox, raccoon, coyotes and skunks can depress the population of other game species. Management activities on department lands should be designed to achieve a desirable balance between predator and prey species which is consistent with goals and objectives established in the course of developing master plans for state properties.
NR 1.16(1)(c) (c) Since the majority of furbearers depend upon habitat under the control of private landowners, management information will be provided to private landowners requesting it. Incentive programs to encourage habitat preservation and management on private lands will be developed where they are feasible.
NR 1.16(2) (2)Harvest. Furbearers are significant from an ecological, biological, recreational, cultural and economic standpoint. Management efforts will assure their future in suitable natural ecosystems and harvest regulations will be designed to make optimum use of these species for these purposes.
NR 1.16(2)(a) (a) Every effort shall be made to design regulations on as uniform a basis as possible that will still maintain desirable population levels from year to year. Best management practices that include cultural, ecological and biological objectives shall be accorded primary consideration in the management of furbearer populations and the establishment of harvest regulations.
NR 1.16(2)(b) (b) Because of the cultural, economic, recreational and public service value of the furbearer harvest, present trapping methods and techniques must continue. However, efforts to develop best management practices for trapping that would improve humaneness, selectivity, efficiency, effectiveness and safety will be encouraged.
NR 1.16(3) (3)Stocking. Stocking of furbearers is restricted to the trapping and relocation of certain species to effect planned range extension or introductions.
NR 1.16(4) (4)Damage.
NR 1.16(4)(a) (a) All of these species are capable of causing economic damage. Section 29.885, Stats., provides a procedure for dealing with wild animals causing damage to private property. Desired population levels of furbearers and hunted carnivores will be maintained primarily by the use of general public hunting and trapping seasons. Control of damage through the issuance of permits to the complainant shall be the next step employed to control problem animals. Direct control by the department shall be employed only where other control methods are not feasible or effective.
NR 1.16(4)(b) (b) In addition to the above, beaver activities can harm trout habitat and lowland forest stands but at the same time can benefit the habitat of other wildlife species. Beaver reduction and management programs shall be based on the following guidelines:
NR 1.16(4)(b)1. 1. In all areas containing class I trout waters or productive lowland coniferous stands, a program to keep beaver populations at low levels that do not adversely affect these resources shall be conducted;
NR 1.16(4)(b)2. 2. On reaches of other trout streams, where it is clearly demonstrated that beaver activity is deleterious to water quality or trout habitat, beaver populations shall be kept at sufficiently low levels to protect these resources;
NR 1.16(4)(b)3. 3. In all other areas, beaver shall be managed to produce populations that will provide sustained annual harvest.
NR 1.16 History History: Cr. Register, April, 1975, No. 232, eff. 5-1-75; r and recr. Register, July, 1977, No. 259, eff. 8-1-77; correction in (4) (a) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, September, 1999, No. 525; CR 01-008: am. (2), Register November 2001 No. 551, eff. 4-1-02; CR 04-046: am. (intro.) Register September 2004 No. 585, eff. 10-1-04.
NR 1.17 NR 1.17 Nongame wildlife. Nongame species play an important role in the normal functioning of ecosystems and contribute to the aesthetic quality of our environment. Since nongame management programs provide significant benefits to many segments of society, new sources of revenue (other than hunting license fees or excise taxes) will be sought to support expansion of these programs. New federal excise taxes on selected outdoor recreation equipment are supported as one appropriate source of funding for this program. Nongame species include all birds, mammals and other terrestrial vertebrates which usually have no open season for hunting or trapping. Species classified as endangered or threatened are also included in this section. To implement an adequate program for nongame wildlife, the following needs and actions are essential:
NR 1.17(1) (1)Habitat management. Habitat requirements of nongame wildlife collectively encompass almost every combination of topography, soils, water and vegetative types. The highest priority for management will be allotted to endangered, threatened and uncommon species. In order to protect and manage habitat for nongame species on public and private lands, programs will be initiated as required which may include the protection, development and maintenance of key nesting grounds, den sites, feeding areas, roosting areas, wintering areas, strategic migrational rest areas and other critical habitat components. Program implementation may employ one or more of the following actions:
NR 1.17(1)(a) (a) Acquisition, lease or easement of land rights;
NR 1.17(1)(b) (b) Food and cover management, construction of artificial nest or roost devices, refuge creation, protective fencing, incorporating important habitat needs into management plans for public lands, or providing incentives to private landowners to develop or protect habitat.
NR 1.17(2) (2)Protection. Most nongame species are protected by law; however, certain species may become so low in numbers that the special status of “endangered" is created by administrative rule under s. 29.604, Stats., and ch. NR 27. Endangered species are those whose continued existence as a part of the state's wild fauna (or flora) is in jeopardy and, without further state action, may become extirpated. Threatened species currently receive some protection under ss. 23.09, 23.11, 29.011, 29.014 (1) and 29.041, Stats., and those which appear likely, within the foreseeable future, to become endangered. Additional regulations will be adopted as necessary for the protection of endangered and threatened species and for any nonhunted wildlife species that is exhibiting a chronic decline in abundance. Human access to critical areas of endangered or threatened species habitat on public lands will be limited or prohibited as necessary.
NR 1.17(3) (3)Damage. The payment of damages caused by nonhunted wildlife species is opposed. Should legislation mandate such payment, sources of funding other than hunting license fees or excise taxes will be sought.
NR 1.17(4) (4)Research and surveys.
NR 1.17(4)(a) (a) Many nongame species require the development of new survey techniques as well as a system to monitor population trends. Annual surveys will not be required for most species. Indications of marked population declines will require more frequent and precise surveys to determine if management action is required. Endangered and threatened species will require close monitoring until they become more abundant.
NR 1.17(4)(b) (b) A nongame program must rely on the knowledge available for each individual species to be managed. Research projects will be initiated as required to provide the following information: life history, habitat requirements, population distribution and abundance, census methods, management techniques and effects of land use changes, pesticides or other environmental population depressants.
NR 1.17(5) (5)Propagation and stocking. Due to habitat changes or other ecological factors, a species may decline to the extent that viable breeding populations are absent. In this event, a reintroduction program would be considered and evaluated to determine potential adverse interactions with other species, and any environmental factors that would negate successful establishment. Wisconsin pledges cooperation with other state and federal agencies in feasible reintroduction programs which require the capture and export of Wisconsin wildlife.
NR 1.17 History History: Cr. Register, July, 1977, No. 259, eff. 8-1-77; corrections in (2) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, September, 1999, No. 525.
NR 1.18 NR 1.18 Captive birds and mammals.
NR 1.18(1)(1)Definitions.
NR 1.18(1)(a)(a) “Captivity" or “captive" means the state of confinement within a fence, pen, cage, house or similar enclosure.
NR 1.18(1)(b) (b) “Captive game farm birds and mammals" means birds and mammals which were propagated in captivity.
NR 1.18(1)(c) (c) “Wildlife" means birds and mammals which have inhabited and were propagated in a natural environment.
NR 1.18(2) (2)General.
NR 1.18(2)(a) (a) Authorized activities involving captive wildlife result in recreational, educational and economic benefits. The department, when feasible, will establish joint permit systems with other agencies having jurisdiction of the protected wildlife.
NR 1.18(2)(b) (b) Permits authorizing possession of captive wildlife or captive game farm birds and mammals shall be denied or revoked upon a showing that such possession results in care practices which are not humane, adequate or sanitary.
NR 1.18(2)(c) (c) The department may receive confiscated wildlife and shall render care consistent with standards and guidelines established for captive, protected wildlife.
NR 1.18(3) (3)Rehabilitation.
NR 1.18(3)(a) (a) First aid and temporary care administered to orphaned, injured or confiscated wildlife may provide important benefits to the scientific community through knowledge gained during such treatment as well as benefit the wildlife being treated.
NR 1.18(3)(b) (b) Necessary standards for facilities and care shall be established to assure proper care and confinement.
NR 1.18(3)(c) (c) Skunks may not be held under this permit authority.
NR 1.18(3)(d) (d) Wildlife may be destroyed by the department or permittees when there is no hope of successful release to the wild or for cost free use for falconry, wildlife exhibits, propagation, zoos or educational institutions.
NR 1.18(3)(e) (e) The department may not actively engage in a rehabilitation program but provide coordination of referrals to authorized rehabilitators. The department may continue to provide care for confiscated wildlife.
NR 1.18(4) (4)Falconry.
NR 1.18(4)(a) (a) The use of certain species of raptors for the pursuit and capture of wild animals is a legitimate use of a natural resource which requires skill and dedication on that part of the user and may yield important biological, ecological and other scientific knowledge of predatory birds.
NR 1.18(4)(b) (b) Because of the complexities of the sport, permit applicants will be tested for their knowledge of basic biology, raptor care, literature, laws, and regulations.
NR 1.18(4)(c) (c) Special hunting seasons may be established within the biological limits of the wildlife species to provide recreational opportunities.
NR 1.18(4)(d) (d) When the security of any wild population of raptor is in doubt or in jeopardy, the department shall prohibit the use of wild-trapped birds of that species for falconry.
NR 1.18(4)(e) (e) The use of raptors hatched, raised or rehabilitated in captivity will be encouraged for falconry to reduce the use of wild raptors.
NR 1.18(4)(f) (f) The department will encourage educational efforts to improve the public's knowledge of raptors and monitor the program, particularly regarding the health, care, taking and transfer of raptors.
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Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.