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Outdoors News Briefs: State records 15th snowmobile death

MOUNTAIN - Wisconsin has recorded its 15th snowmobile death of the winter. Authorities in northeast Wisconsin said a 62-year-old man from Illinois suffered a heart attack, and it apparently caused him to flip over his machine.

It happened just before midnight last night in Oconto County on a state trail in the town of Mountain. The state DNR says five snowmobile deaths have been recorded since Valentine's Day in the Badger State - and that's five more than the state had during a much milder winter a year ago.


Two men killed when their snowmobile broke through the ice on Lake Superior were identified today as 38-year-old Mark Backes and 30-year-old Joshua Reynolds, both of La Pointe on Madeline Island. Ashland County authorities said the two left Bayfield late Wednesday night in a single snowmobile, and were headed southeast to La Pointe on the South Channel when they broke the ice and fell in. Backes and Reynolds were reported missing about 12 hours after the incident. One of the men's bodies was found late yesterday morning in open water close to the partially-submerged snowmobile. The other victim was found about three hours later.


When you see trout anglers go into Wisconsin's streams, you know that spring is not far off. The state DNR says the early trout season begins a week from tomorrow - and it runs through April 27th. If you're interested in going after those brownies and brookies, the DNR says the best time to do it is in the afternoons, when water temperatures are higher. Experts say scud-flies and wooly-burger are good choices when there's no surface activity, and the line has to go deeper. There's more information - including a map of trout waters and access points - on the DNR's Web site, accessible at


Wisconsinites are being asked to share their ideas for carrying out the "Deer Czar's" recommendations. The DNR will hold seven public meetings at UW-Stevens Point to get input from hunters and others interested in how the state's deer herd should be managed. They'll be asked to suggest ways to adopt 62 proposals made by James Kroll and his team of deer researchers. The first meeting is set for Saturday, March 9th. The DNR has created four "action teams" to focus on the general areas of regulations and deer seasons - science and research - deer health, including chronic wasting disease - and the new "D-MAP" deer management assistance program. Almost two dozen other states use "D-MAP," a system in which hunters and landowners work together with the state to manage deer and other habitat on specific lands. All four action teams will meet at the same time at Stevens Point - so groups with an interest in more than one area are being told to bring more than one person. Besides the March session, meetings are planned April sixth and 27th, May 18th, June 8th and 29th, and July 20th. The ideas will then be considered in the DNR's rule-making process. Governor Scott Walker has included funding in his state budget to carry out Kroll's recommendations.