The WWHC was created for the purpose of insuring that all Wisconsin Waterfowl Hunters have a vehicle in which to have their voices heard by those that administer our rules, regulations, and laws. It is this same voice from our Conference that is directed towards the individuals who study and implement scientific practices to preserve our passion for generations to come. We are an independent body of concerned waterfowlers not affiliated with any government or private association. The only formal connection to another entity is with the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. This connection exists to cover the WWHC with liability insurance and 501C3 “Non- Profit” status.
The Wisconsin Waterfowl Hunters Conference is designed, developed and managed by a committee of INDEPENDENT waterfowl hunters. It is supported by individuals, conservation organizations and government agencies.
2016 WISCONSIN WATERFOWL HUNTERS’ CONFERENCE SUMMARY
The 2016 Wisconsin Waterfowl Hunters’ Conference was held the afternoon and evening of March 11 and the morning of March 12. Attendance was down some from recent years. We don’t know if that was due to the Friday/Saturday schedule or conflicts with other meetings and events around the state. Unlike many years, the weather just prior to and at the end of the Conference gave participants great travel conditions.
George Meyer, the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, gave his Wisconsin Legislative update. He reviewed some introduced legislation that would be very beneficial to our waterfowl/wetland resources and hunter harassment protection and some legislation that was passed at the state level that will have negative impacts on our waterfowl habitats, both wetlands and uplands.
Kent Van Horn, WDNR’s Migratory Game Bird Specialist and his assistant, Taylor Finger, updated the attendees on the new Federal Migratory Game Bird Hunting Rule process and provided us with an update on what the Mississippi Flyway Council and its Technical Section were working on. Brenda Kelly (WDNR) gave an update on habitat projects on the Mississippi River. Jon R. Bergquist introduced and awarded Luke Fara the 2016 WWHC $1,500.00 scholarship. Luke received his BS degree from UW Stevens Point and is currently working on his master’s degree at Southern Illinois University looking at life history aspects of Long Tailed Ducks wintering on Lake Michigan. Luke then gave a presentation on his field work. Tyler Strelow (WDNR Warden Supervisor) provided the attendees with an update on waterfowl and wetland enforcement issues.
Three breakout sessions followed the afternoon group presentations. Kent Van Horn and Taylor Finger sought input on the Department’s proposed Wisconsin’s Migratory Game Bird 2016 regulations, Tyler Strelow and John Below (FWS Horicon Refuge Officer) talked about and answered question on various waterfowl hunting regulations and Jason Hintz offered techniques on field hunting geese. These sessions were repeated Saturday morning.
Then participants had an opportunity to look at poster displays from over 15 different wetland/waterfowl organizations before the evening’s “Waterfowl Hunters Party” where participants sampled a variety of wild game dishes and had an opportunity to chat with fellow waterfowlers. During the evening event the drawing was held for the “Bring a New Buddy Event” which was a one day waterfowl hunt on the Mississippi River offered by “Swift-Waters TV” thanks to Connie Markham and Shawn Gibbons. The winner was Steve R Groshek. Thanks Connie and Shawn!
The Conference reconvened Saturday morning and Jason Fleener (WDNR) opened the session with a presentation on how our state Waterfowl Stamp funds were being used. That was followed up by a nearly hour long presentation by our Keynote speaker, Dr Ken Abraham, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Retired. He informed us about the status of migrant Canada geese (Mississippi Valley Population), their nesting and brood rearing range near the Hudson Bay and James Bay coasts in northern Ontario, how they are surveyed each spring, the results of past nesting studies, how banding operations are done in this remote area and some of the other critters that reside on the lowlands including that big white bear.
That session was followed up by Dr Christine Thomas, Dean of the College of Natural Resources, UW- Stevens Point who spoke about the recently announced 2 million dollar Waterfowl/ Wetland Endowment UW SP received this past winter. It creates a Professor position with funding for research on waterfowl and wetlands.
Those of you that did not make this year’s Conference missed an informative Conference and we hope to see you at our 15th annual Wisconsin Waterfowl Hunters’ Conference which will be held on March 11, 2017 at the Hotel Mead and Conference Center in Wisconsin Rapids. More details about the 2017 Conference are coming to the website.
Please contact any one of the listed Steering Committee members with your questions or comments.
Jon Bergquist – (NW WI) – firstname.lastname@example.org – 715-268-5584
Robert Landerman – (C WI) – email@example.com – 715-592-3651
Don Gamble (NW WI) – firstname.lastname@example.org – 715-595-6045
George Braunreiter – W WI – email@example.com – 507-251-0550
Shawn Gibbons – S WI –firstname.lastname@example.org – 262-720-5937