DNR Bear Population Study

The Wisconsin DNR approached Central Wisconsin Fur, Fin & Feather to assist with a bear population study conducted by DNR biologists. We were asked to hang bait boxes throughout western Clark county during the month of May and record their activity.

Jeff and Don Hang Bear Bait BoxEach bait box contains basically a peanut butter sandwich that consists of nine marshmallows with a tetracycline pill stuffed into each marshmallow. One bait box was to be set in each section of the township on a sturdy, soft-bark tree at about seven feet off the ground. The idea, is that the bear will knock the box out of the tree and eat the contents. The tetracycline pills, which are not harmful to the bears, will dye the bones a yellow tinge and can be differentiated once a rib sample in sent in after the bear is harvested or hit on the road with bear that haven’t eaten the contents of one of these bait boxes.

The premise of the study was to set a single bait box in every section within a township for a month’s period of time. Once a month had passed, each bait box needed to be collected and a number of data points were recorded, such as whether or not the bait was hit, what type of animal hit the bait, how much of the bait was eaten, and the coordinates where the bait was set. The correlation with the number of baits hit and the number of bear harvested with yellow-tinged bones will give biologists a better sense of the bear population in Wisconsin.

The F3 guys enjoyed being out in the brush in the off season, helping with a worthwhile cause. In our opinion, better stats leads to more and quicker kill tags—so we were glad to help.

Learn more about the DNR’s bear population model.

Wood Duck Houses on Sportsman Lake

The Central Wisconsin Fur, Fin, & Feather board along with their family and friends spent a day on the Sportsman Lake in Owen hanging wood duck houses. CWF3 founding board member, Brian Hanson, spearheaded this project in conjunction with DNR biologist, Matt Zeronski during the fall of 2010 and continues to be an ongoing project for the F3 organization.

Wood Duck EggsThis has truly been a community project from the beginning—the wood duck houses were built by the seventh grade Industrial Arts class in Owen/Withee and materials paid for by a number of local donors, including 2011 Dylan Crabb Award recipients Curt and Diane Benrud.

Seven houses were placed in various locations on the Sportsman Lake based on ‘best-practice’ recommendations from DNR biologist, Matt Zeronski. After cleaning out the houses following the first nesting season, the project appears to have already been a success. Four out of the six wood duck houses positioned around the lake served as a nesting site for wood ducks and the remaining two houses also served as a home for other bird species.

Each year after the nesting season has passed, the F3 board will go out to the lake and clean out the old bedding in the houses a replace with fresh woodchips to allow for a new family of wood ducks to use the houses when they fly back in the spring. These houses will require attention each year because wood ducks will not inhabit a nest with used wood chips—so as an organization, we look forward to this being a great project and reason to spend an afternoon on the Sportsman Lake for many years to come!

Learn more about wood duck box maintenance.