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Outdoors Roundup: Three species of owls are now into Wisconsin from Canada

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reports three species of owls have been pushed south from Canada into this state this winter. A crash in rodent populations may be the cause. The northern hawk, the great gray and the boreal owls are normally rare sights in Wisconsin. The drop in rodent numbers in Canadian forests has forced them to move. Some of the observations have been made in southern Wisconsin, including a great gray seen in Middleton, in Dane County. There have been some problems. Northern hawk owls have been hit by cars. Experts say the drop in rodent populations in Canada is cyclical.


Wisconsin farmers are being advised to protect themselves from damaging weather by purchasing crop insurance and to evaluate markets before they lock in prices. The state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says farmers should plan early to minimize their risks, even before the spring planting. Those farmers are being told to get seed, fertilizer, fuel and other supplies before they begin planting. The state agency says those who rent land should make sure the rates and contract terms are set in writing. The department's farm center can help those farmers make their financial plans and it can mediate conflicts which arise in any form of negotiations.


It will be at least another year before Wisconsin hunters can try to bag an elk in the state. State wildlife officials say the herd is still too small and fragile to implement a statewide elk hunt. Wisconsin law prohibits elk hunting until that herd includes more than 200 elk. That could have come this year, but DNR biologists say lack of food, vehicle kills and predators have limited the herd's growth. Plans for a hunt date back about 10 years. The Natural Resources Board has adopted a new elk management approach calling for 275 wild elk to be imported from other states over the next three-to-five years. The cost of more than a half-million dollars would be covered by groups like the Ho-Chunk Nation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The importation process could start in two years.