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  1. Wisconsin's new deer hunting regulations generated much discussion Monday at the statewide fish and wildlife hearings sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Conservation Congress. Patrick Durkin/Press-Gazette Media correspondent

    Pat Durkin column: New deer rules attract crowds at conservation hearings

    Attendance pushed above 7,000 statewide Monday night at the annual spring conservation hearings as Wisconsin's new deer-hunting regulations drew a more traditional crowd than in 2013 when wolf- and state-park hunting issues attracted many nonhunters.

    • Apr. 18, 2014
  2. Shed antlers are often difficult to spot on woodland floors. Patrick Durkin/For

    Patrick Durkin column: Joe Shead-Antler on A's, B's and C's of shed hunting

    Joe Shead of Superior thinks he was born to hunt shed antlers, even if he didn't discover this winter-spring hobby until he was in college.

    • Apr. 11, 2014
  3. This large albino white-tailed buck was photographed in Wisconsin's Buffalo County about 10 years ago. Tom Indrebo/Submitted

    Patrick Durkin column: Albino deer hunting question a waste of time

    If you want to see a dead idea in search of a grave, read Question 35 in the pamphlet for Monday night's statewide fish and wildlife hearings.

    • Apr. 11, 2014
  4. Anglers again will vote April 14 at the annual fish and wildlife hearings on whether to allow motor trolling statewide in Wisconsin. Patrick Durkin/Press-Gazette Media correspondent

    Pat Durkin column: Motor trolling on ballot ó again

    Depending on how you're scoring it, Wisconsin anglers will get their second, third or fourth (or more) chance to accept or reject motor trolling when they gather at 7 p.m. April 14 for the state's annual fish and wildlife hearings.

    • Apr. 4, 2014
  5. Tim Watson of Waunakee unhooks a yellow perch while fishing March 17 on Lake Mendota. Patrick Durkin/Press-Gazette Media correspondent

    Patrick Durkin column: St. Patrick's Day ice fishing one benefit of long winter

    Judging by their green flanks, orange fins and white bellies, even the yellow perch flopping atop the ice fit the St. Patrick's Day theme March 17 as I fished Lake Mendota with lifelong friend Tim Watson.

    • Mar. 28, 2014
  6. Patrick Durkin column: Too early to celebrate hunter participation survey

    Tom Heberlein flipped his newspaper aside, sipped his coffee and said skeptically, 'Someone needs to explain these higher hunter numbers rather than simply making happy dances about them.'

    • Mar. 21, 2014
  7. The blacklegged, or deer, tick. Submitted

    Pat Durkin column: Lyme disease risk grows across Wisconsin with deer tick's range

    With a record 3,609 cases of Lyme disease in 2011, the tick-borne illness has become Wisconsin's third-most-reported ailment, behind only chlamydia (24,254) and gonorrhea (4,761).

    • Mar. 14, 2014
  8. Once CWD infects deer, they have about 18 months to live. They'll look healthy until the final two months of life, at which point they lose weight, stagger and incessantly drool. Patrick Durkin/For

    Pat Durkin column: Put CWD ugliness to use

    What would deer hunters do if roaming dog packs were killing 25 percent of the deer herd, including 35 percent of its adult bucks, each year in the area they hunt?

    • Mar. 7, 2014
  9. A young sharp-shinned hawk rests near several backyard birdfeeders. Patrick Durkin/For

    Just accept them: Feeders will attract hawks, too

    If you put out seeds to attract songbirds, don't be surprised if you accidentally turn your backyard into a target-rich environment for Cooper's hawks and sharp-shinned hawks.

    • Mar. 2, 2014
  10. During 2013, CWD's infection rates increased in the state's core disease areas and spread farther. Patrick Durkin/For

    Pat Durkin column: CWD-positive cases continue to escalate

    Despite testing a record-low number of deer for chronic wasting disease in 2013, the Department of Natural Resources has verified a record-350 CWD-positive cases during the annual collection period that ends March 31.

    • Feb. 28, 2014
  11. New federal guidelines on chronic wasting disease could increase CWD's spread in Wisconsin and the rest of the country. Patrick Durkin/For

    Pat Durkin column: New chronic wasting disease rules enhance risks

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture's new CWD certification program for captive elk and deer herds could hasten the disease's spread, whether the animals are privately owned 'livestock' inside fences or publicly owned resources living in the wild.

    • Feb. 21, 2014
  12. Patrick Durkin column: Expert angler returns to Madison Fishing Expo

    Patrick Durkin previews the Madison Fishing Expo in a recent column on

    • Feb. 18, 2014
  13. Patrick Durkin column: Ice caves are worth the cold journey

    When stepping onto Lake Superiorís ice at Meyers Beach and looking northeast, you realize no one strolls, saunters or leisurely jogs to the lakeís famous sea caves over a mile away.

    • Feb. 15, 2014
  14. Even though hunters will soon be able to register deer electronically from the field, the DNR will probably have to keep offering in-person registration as an option. Patrick Durkin/For

    Patrick Durkin column: Look next door for a glimpse into hunting's future in Wisconsin

    To preview what Wisconsinís new deer-registration process might look like this fall and beyond, we could look next door to Minnesota, which switched to 100 percent electronic registration in 2008.

    • Feb. 15, 2014
  15. Pheasants Forever has 140,000 members nationwide, including 9,000 in Wisconsin. Badger State hunters travel often to Iowa and the Dakotas to hunt pheasants, and work closer to home with Pheasants Forever to improve pheasant habitat in Wisconsin. Pheasants Forever

    Pat Durkin column: Pheasant Fest not just for bird hunters

    Whether you want to ogle nearly 40 breeds of sporting dogs, introduce your kids to Rudy the Rooster or seek professional advice on managing your land's pheasant habitat, you'll find plenty of ways to busy yourself this coming weekend at the National Pheas

    • Feb. 8, 2014
  16. Wisconsin's new deer hunting rules are neither sweeping nor exciting. File photo

    Pat Durkin column: Deer hunting rules package ignores more than it tweaks

    You have to love DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp's spontaneous 'Yes!' outburst when the Natural Resources Board unanimously passed a rules package Jan. 22 that tweaks Wisconsin's deer hunting regulations.

    • Feb. 1, 2014
  17. Jeff Walters, Scott Walters, Michael Gilson and Steve Walters pose with the black bear Gilson shot while hunting with the Walters and their hounds in September in Marinette County. Submitted

    Patrick Durkin column: Cold? These hunting stories will warm your heart

    Hunters tend to view other hunters as competitors for game they pursue.

    • Jan. 27, 2014
  18. Two raccoons run through the snow after being called from their den inside an old oak tree. Patrick Durkin/For

    Raccoon hunting: It's not just for nighttime

    When boar raccoons square off in mating-season battles each winter, their roars, growls and hisses could chase hell's demons from the woods.

    • Jan. 18, 2014
  19. Canada geese, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys and black bears cause Wisconsin to pay more for crop damage each year than what it has paid for wolf depredations the past 25 years. Patrick Durkin/For

    Pat Durkin column: End wildlife damage payments

    Folks punched their outrage buttons last week after Bill Lueders at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reported that the Department of Natural Resources paid nearly $40,000 in recent years to compensate lawbreakers whose hunting dogs were k

    • Jan. 18, 2014
  20. Lyme disease has increased in many parts of Wisconsin in which red fox were driven out by coyotes. Herb Lange/Wisconsin DNR

    Pat Durkin column: Populations of predators affect human disease

    We often blame white-tailed deer and the deer ticks they carry for spreading Lyme disease in the United States, especially from Minnesota to New England to northern Virginia.

    • Jan. 11, 2014
  21. Fresh snowfalls in mid-December helped houndsmen find fresh wolf tracks and boost hunting success between Dec. 15 and Dec. 23 in northwestern Wisconsin's Zone 3, the only area open to wolf hunting in December. Patrick Durkin/For

    Pat Durkin column: Future wolf kills difficult to predict after two seasons

    Wisconsin's second wolf season provided new insights into hunting and trapping our most controversial wildlife species, but results varied so widely by zone and the state's first two seasons that it's tough to predict how future hunts will unfold.

    • Jan. 5, 2014
  22. Doug Duren, Madison, and Jack Gabrielse, Oregon, walk out to hunt deer Monday in Richland County during the holiday hunt in the CWD zone. Patrick Durkin/For

    Patrick Durkin column: Deep freeze doesn't deter holiday deer hunt

    The morning air was so cold it scared the wind into hiding.

    • Jan. 4, 2014
  23. Patrick Durkin column: Harvest down across the Upper Midwest

    Contrary to widespread whining and whimpering, the deer hunting gods and Department of Natural Resources didn't single out Wisconsin's nine-day gun deer season for abuse.

    • Dec. 28, 2013
  24. Hunting camo is popular with hunters and useful for football games, but it's not as chic in everyday society as some fashion writers claim. From left, Leah Durkin, Matthew Morse, Karsyn Morse and Patrick Durkin. Patrick Durkin/For

    Patrick Durkin column: Rocking camo really isn't for state's hunters

    Fashion writers keep telling us that camouflage is 'trending' and 'going mainstream,' and then try proving the claims by name-dropping celebrities who 'rock camo' in their daily wardrobe.

    • Dec. 21, 2013
  25. Kay Kavanagh of rural Aurora in Florence County is one of Wisconsin's most serious birdwatchers. Patrick Durkin/For

    Patrick Durkin column: Kavanagh is one rare birder

    When talking to Kay 'The Bird Lady' Kavanagh, don't be hurt that she's more interested in the chips, chirps, tweets and songs of nearby birds than anything you might say.

    • Dec. 21, 2013
  26. With his wife, Lenore, beside him, Herb Behnke speaks in November 2011 at the inaugural ceremony for the Herb and Lenore Behnke Scholarship program at UW-Stevens Point. Patrick Durkin/For

    Patrick Durkin column: Behnke wasn't afraid to blur party lines

    Herb Behnke of Shawano understood this irony better than most: Wisconsin needs wise politicians if science is to outweigh raw politics in managing our natural resources.

    • Dec. 14, 2013
  27. Many Wisconsin hunters will want a crossbow for Christmas, given that they'll be legal for use during the archery deer season starting in 2014. Patrick Durkin/For

    Patrick Durkin outdoors column: Gift ideas for all of your outdoors people

    With Black Friday more than a week behind us and Christmas a little more than two weeks ahead, maybe it's time to get serious about buying gifts for your beloved outdoors-folks, or giving them some ideas on what they can buy you.

    • Dec. 7, 2013
  28. Occasional success and the camaraderie of deer camp success sustain the hunt when deer sightings are few and far between. From left, Patrick Durkin, Waupaca; Tom Heberlein, Madison; and Chris White, Toledo, Ohio. Durkin Durkin/Press-Gazette Media correspondent

    Patrick Durkin column: Frustrated about hunting? Don't change camps, but scout new areas, expand your experience

    An email arrived three days after deer season, and began thus: 'The 2013 gun season is history and I need a shoulder to cry on, so why not yours? I don't know who else might listen. Certainly not those in the DNR.'

    • Dec. 8, 2013
  29. Tom Heberlein, left, and Ben Niemann, share the story of 'Schleppus,' a buck Niemann killed in 1982. Patrick Durkin/Press-Gazette Media correspondent

    Patrick Durkin column: Stone Age hunters would enjoy Story of Schleppus

    'Storytelling began with Stone Age hunters sitting around a campfire recounting their deeds.'

    • Nov. 30, 2013
  30. Joseph 'Terry' Durkin and Leah Durkin pose with a buck he shot on his farm in Richland County in November 1991. Patrick Durkin/For

    Patrick Durkin column: This hunt and forward, Uncle Terry's unselfish spirit lives on

    Three flags at half-staff furl and flap outside the farmhouse on the Richland County hilltop, reminding our clan we'll never again chase deer with our hunting patriarch, chief storyteller and proud family chauvinist.

    • Nov. 23, 2013
  31. Jeff Peters crosses a frozen cornfield near Shiocton at sunrise Saturday on the way to join his son in their deer stand on the opening day of the gun-deer season. Wm.Glasheen/For

    Patrick Durkin column: Success stories warm hunters on blustery day

    When opening morning of deer season arrives most years, the only numbers I track are how many deer I see and how many shots I hear.

    • Nov. 23, 2013
  32. The DNR's new deer season proposals drew little interest or opposition from hunters. One proposal is to allow hunters to register deer online or by telephone starting in 2015 as the DNR ends the state's tradition of mandatory in-person registration. Patrick Durkin/For

    Patrick Durkin column: All deer season proposal meetings draw is apathy

    If the purpose of Wisconsin's great deer-season makeover the past 18 months was to abolish controversy and put the state's approximately 660,000 deer hunters to sleep, the Department of Natural Resources gets an 'A.'

    • Nov. 16, 2013
  33. Patrick Durkin rides out to hunt deer in Manitoba's Duck Mountain Provincial Forest. Patrick Durkin/For

    Patrick Durkin column: Horseback-guided hunt is the last of its kind

    Gray smoke curled from a .50-caliber hole in the ground, signaling the end of my six-day muzzleloading deer hunt in the Duck Mountains Provincial Forest.

    • Nov. 9, 2013
  34. Vermont's Larry Benoit in 1978. File/AP

    Patrick Durkin column: Farewell to cantankerous legend Larry Benoit

    Larry Benoit of Vermont was as legendary as Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett for boys who began hunting in the 1970s.

    • Nov. 9, 2013
  35. Trappers accounted for 83 percent of the 173 gray wolves tagged during the first two weeks of Wisconsin's 2013 wolf season. Patrick Durkin/For

    Patrick Durkin column: Wolf hunters nearing statewide quota

    Hunters who are hoping to use hounds to trail wolves might not get their chance this fall because the 2013 wolf season could close statewide before hounds can join the hunt Dec. 2.

    • Nov. 2, 2013

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