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OSHKOSH The state Department of Natural Resources says there will be a record number of sturgeon spearers this year.

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More than 12,400 licenses were sold before the Oct. 31 deadline. Last year was the last record with nearly 10,900.

Sturgeon biologist Ron Bruch said the license numbers have been increasing every year. They are up 46 percent since the 2007 season.

Bruch says spearing interest has increased because of the DNR's success in managing the population and a recent book and Imax movie on the fish.

Spearers must have licenses for the Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing season or the upriver lakes (Butte des Morts, Poygan and Winneconne) season. Both start Feb. 12. There's a limit of one sturgeon per person.

The DNR has increased harvest caps this year because of a growing population.

During last year's spearing season, 1,820 fish were harvested.

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