Your Comments are Needed on the WI State Budget

Have you benefitted from these programs – walked in your woods with a WI DNR forester, used WI Forest Landowner Grant Program cost-sharing, met with a Tax Law Specialist about your Managed Forest Law or Forest Crop Law plan, attended a winter woodland owner conference with WDNR speakers, learned from an article in Wisconsin Woodlands magazine that was authored by WDNR staff, or attended a WWOA chapter field day with WDNR staff presenting – don’t take these benefits for granted!

The WWOA Board of Directors met on Monday, March 27, 2023 to discuss proposed forestry budget initiatives for the Wisconsin State Budget 2023-25.   Here is their letter to members of the Joint Committee on Finance regarding forestry budget initiatives WWOA letter to WI Joint Committee on Finance.

WWOA members are encouraged to contact members of the Joint Committee on Finance or their State Senator or Assembly person to express their support verbally or in writing for forestry initiatives within the State Budget.  If legislators do not hear from woodland owners about forestry issues, then forestry items become easy to delete from or not include in the state budget.

In 2017, the Forestry Mill Tax (provided dedicated financial support forestry programs) was sunset.  Funding for forestry programs now comes General Purpose Revenue (GPR).  This means that forestry expenditures compete with other state program needs making it vital that woodland owners speak up to maintain these programs for the health of Wisconsin’s forests.

Voice your opinion by:

Other natural resource budget information can be found at
State Budget – Conservation Fund Report (Informational Paper 65) 2023– the Forestry Account starts on pg 18

WI Conservation Congress and DNR to Host Open Houses in All Counties

WWOA members are encouraged to participate in both of these activities – the WDNR Open Houses and the online Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearings online survey.  Questions on the survey are not just about hunting and fishing regulations or issues. Your input on natural resource issues ranging from banning the Fall shining of wild animals, lead poisoning of eagles, hazardous wakes from wake surfing boats, to mining regulations is important!

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) invite the public to attend an open house the week of April 3-6 to learn about resource management in their area.

Location details for each county open house are available on the WCC/DNR Open Houses webpage.

DNR staff and WCC delegates will be on hand at these open houses to discuss local issues of importance, answer questions from the public, and open a dialogue between the public, the DNR and the WCC about areas of interest and concern.

The WCC will also hold their delegates’ elections at each open house. Two of the five WCC seats will be up for election in each county.  The open houses precede the annual WCC/DNR Spring Hearings.

In addition to the opportunity to engage with DNR staff and WCC delegates at these open houses, the public is also invited to participate in the annual spring hearings the following week that focus on natural resource-related advisory questions and proposed rule changes.

The Spring Hearings will again be held in a virtual format, as has been done since 2020. Anyone can provide input on the 2023 Spring Hearing online questions. There is no age or residency requirement for providing input through this process. This year’s online questionnaire will be open for input from April 10 at noon through April 13 at noon via the Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearing webpage.

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress is the only statutory body in the state where the public elects delegates to advise the Natural Resources Board and the DNR on responsibly managing Wisconsin’s natural resources for present and future generations. The Congress accomplishes this through open, impartial, broad-ranged actions. Learn more about the WCC and how to become involved in resource management decisions on the Wisconsin Conservation webpage.

Adam N. Payne to Serve as WDNR Secretary

MADISON  Gov. Tony Evers today announced his appointment of Adam N. Payne to serve as secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) effective Jan. 3, 2022. The appointment fills the vacancy created by former Secretary Preston D. Cole’s retirement.

“Adam has deep Wisconsin roots and understands that our vast and valuable resources—from our waterways to our farmlands—are core to who we are as a people and a state,” said Gov. Evers. “He is an outdoorsman, a conservationist, and has been a strong, successful leader for Sheboygan County. I know he will bring that same dedication and spirit of service to this role as secretary.”

Payne currently serves as the county administrator for Sheboygan County, a position he has held for more than two decades. As county administrator, Payne has served as the chief administrative officer, coordinating and directing countywide administrative and management functions, initiating program and policy changes, working with state government for the betterment of the county, and leading Sheboygan County’s annual budget development process. Prior to serving as county administrator, Payne was the executive director of the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association and served for five years at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection from 1990 to 1995, including as the director of the Farmland Preservation Program.

“It is an honor to accept Gov. Evers’ appointment to serve as Secretary of the DNR,” said Payne. “I have always had a passion for protecting and enhancing our natural resources and am an avid outdoorsman. I look forward to working with a strong and diverse team of DNR staff, the Board and its many partners and stakeholders to problem-solve, protect, and enhance our natural resources for people today and for generations to come.”

Payne is from Plymouth, where he raised his family and as a boy, worked on his grandmother’s farm. Originally from Stevens Point, Payne grew up learning how to fish, trap, and hunt from his father along the Wisconsin River, and as an active outdoorsman to this day, Payne understands the importance of protecting Wisconsin’s natural resources for generations to come. During his time as county administrator, Payne led the County through two major conservation projects, including cleaning up the Sheboygan River and Harbor and purchasing and preserving the Amsterdam Dunes, which encompasses 328 acres of undeveloped shoreline along Lake Michigan.

Payne has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Communications and Urban and Regional Planning, respectively.

A photo of Payne is available here.

2022 Woodland Owner Tax Tips

Tax Tips for Woodland Owners for 2022 are out!  This 4 page document covers a variety of woodland owner situations and provides example situations.

2022 Tax Tips

2nd Wild Deer with CWD in Shawano Co


DNR Confirms CWD In Second Wild Deer Harvested In Shawano County

Baiting And Feeding Bans Renewed For Shawano, Waupaca And Marathon Counties


MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirms a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in southwestern Shawano County in the town of Germania. The deer was a 4-5-year-old hunter-harvested buck taken during the 2022 archery deer season. This is the second confirmed wild deer CWD-positive case in Shawano County.

As required by state law, the DNR enacts 3-year baiting and feeding bans in counties where CWD has been detected and 2-year bans in adjoining counties that lie within 10 miles of a CWD detection. The recent detection of CWD in Shawano County results in the renewal of the 3-year baiting and feeding ban in Shawano County and the renewal of the 2-year baiting and feeding ban in both Waupaca and Marathon counties.

[Read more…]

Tips needed on Illegal Elk Shootings in Jackson Co

DNR Seeks Tips From The Public On Illegal
Elk Shootings In Jackson County


MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requests the public’s help in solving the illegal killings of two cow elk in separate events in Jackson County during the recent gun-deer season.

DNR staff received and responded to a mortality signal from a cow elk’s monitoring collar on Sunday, Nov. 20. The elk was found on private property near Whitney Road in Knapp Township. DNR staff received a second mortality signal from another cow elk’s monitoring collar on Tuesday, Nov. 22. DNR staff found the second elk near the Castle Mound and Brockway Roads in Brockway Township. The deaths of two breeding cows are losses to the elk population growth.

Necropsy tests confirmed each animal had been shot. No other case information is available currently as the investigation continues.

“We ask the public to share any information – no matter how small it may seem – with the DNR’s confidential Violation Hotline via call or text to 1-800-847-9367,” said Conservation Warden Michael Weber. “We appreciate our partnership with the public in protecting our state’s resources and wildlife.”

Tips can also be submitted online.

Elk are found in two distinct ranges in Wisconsin. The largest, and oldest, elk herd in the state is the Clam Lake elk herd. The Clam Lake herd ranges across Ashland, Bayfield, Price, Sawyer and Rusk counties in northern Wisconsin. The other, the Black River elk herd, is found in the forested region of Jackson County in the central part of the state. Elk were reintroduced in Jackson County starting in 2015.

DNR staff work with partner agencies to support a robust elk population, which includes collar monitoring of mortalities and location data of calves and adults.

For more information on elk in Wisconsin, visit the DNR’s elk webpage.

Change in Forest Tax Rates (FCL & MFL) Announced

Good news on taxes for owners of MFL acres.

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue has updated the tax rate for land enrolled in the Managed Forest Law and Forest Crop Law, and the rate is slightly lower for MFL.  FCL acres remain taxed at the same or higher rate, depending upon when they were enrolled.

Tax rates are calculated based upon a fixed formula.  They are recalculated every five years for MFL land and every ten years for FCL land.  Here are the new rates:

For 2023 through 2027, MFL acres entered before 2005 (1987-2004):

Open land (acreage share tax):   $0.72/acre    (Currently $0.74/acre)

Closed land (acreage share tax plus $0.96/acre closed acreage fee): $1.68/acre   (Currently $1.75/acre)


For 2023 through 2027, MFL acres entered after 2004 (2005 and later):

Open land (acreage share tax):   $1.90/acre  (Currrently $2.04/acre)

Closed land (acreage share tax plus $7.59/acre closed acreage fee): $9.49/acre   (Currently $10.20/acre)


For 2023 thrugh 2033, FCL Tax Rates:

Before 1972: $0.10/acre  (Does not change)

After 1972: $3.60/acre  (Currently $2.52)


The new rates take effect January 1, 2023.

Powassan Virus – a tick-borne virus

As reported on NBC Channel 26 by: Valerie Juarez

Nov 04, 2022

A Wausaukee man is battling for his life after a tick bit him this summer.

Since August, 71-year-old Al Dennis hasn’t been able to walk or talk.

Doctors said the tick that bit him was carrying an extremely rare disease and it was not Lyme Disease, but was the Powassan virus.

“It was like ten at night, he got up to use the bathroom. He fell down in the hallway, he was having a seizure and he hasn’t moved since,” said Betty Dennis, Al’s wife. “He’s been hospitalized for 86 days now.”

All of this was a result of a tick bite.

Learn more at the CDC website on Powassan virus.

Emerald Ash Borer found in Menominee County

In partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has detected emerald ash borer (EAB) for the first time in Menominee County. County forestry staff detected this ash tree-killing beetle along the roadside right-of-way of non-tribal land in the area of Legend Lake on August 3.

[Read more…]

DNR To Host Intro To Hunting Webinar Series Beginning July 28

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host the first of several educational hunting webinars beginning July 28 for members of the public that are new to hunting or hunting curious.

The webinar series is in partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever and Becoming an Outdoorswoman. The series is designed for those interested in learning about hunting, fishing and trapping.


What: Wanna Go Hunting? Let’s Get Started! Webinar

Who: New hunters Andrea Lutz, Michael Menon and Martin Perales

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, July 28

Where: Tune in via YouTube here. The webinar will be recorded and can be viewed on YouTube any time using the same link.

[Read more…]