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Winter Deer TallySubmitted: 02/11/2013
Winter Deer Tally
Story By Ryan Abney

RHINELANDER - Winter weather in the Northwoods can be tough on some people. But we don't usually think about how the climate affects the deer population.

D-N-R Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Holtz gets paid to keep track of deer numbers year-around.

Because winter affects the population, The W-S-I scale is his best friend.

"The W-S-I metric or Winter Severity Index is the number one metric in deer management. We write down the minimum temperature of the day and the snow depth of the day. When the snow depth gets to 18-inches or higher, that's a mark; when the temperature gets below zero, that's also a mark."

So far this season's W-S-I comes in at a mild 20-point. Holtz has been around long enough to see what a bad winter can do.

"In 2007, at this time we were over 100. So you could imagine that deer were starving to death. They were dying of exposure, getting run down by coyotes. There were all sorts of things going on that were limiting the deer population."

The 2007 winter cut deer totals in a big way. But thanks to a string of mild winters, deer numbers are at a normal level.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

- A Nicolet College club provides a safe space for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender students and allies to socialize and discuss personal issues related to gender and sexual orientation.

However, outside of the campus, there is no supportive group in the Northwoods. Now, the Rainbow Hodags Club is helping to get a community LGBT group started. Club member Don Schindhelm says he wishes a club like this existed years ago.

"I really felt like I didn't know anyone else who was gay or lesbian. It was frowned upon, so I suppressed it for most of my life. That's why I struggled with it for so many years," said Schindhelm.

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RHINELANDER - Most people stop by Rhinelander's chamber of commerce to get their picture taken with the giant hodag out front. Visitors to the chamber can also stock up on Rhinelander trinkets and gear.

Now, the chamber has decided to downsize its store in order to let someone else set up shop. 

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 05/23/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll show you a training course for Taylor County deputies and courthouse staff on how to respond with and active shooter in the courthouse.

We'll take you live to Shepard Park in Rhinelander, the site some residents hope will have sections set aside for a dog park. Monday the Parks committed approved the proposal.

And a Nicolet College club provides a safe space for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender students and allies to discuss personal issues. Now they want to get a group started outside the campus. We talk to a member of the Rainbow Hodags Club about his experiences with the group.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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VILAS COUNTY - Many people love sightseeing on two wheels throughout the Northwoods. Now, you can get a prize for doing it.

"Bike the Heart" encourages riders to explore the different communities along the Heart of Vilas County Trail.

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RHINELANDER - One Rhinelander woman may see a 10-year-old bucket list wish come true.

 On Monday the Rhinelander Parks Committee supported having a dog park at Shepard Park in Rhinelander. 

For 10 years Tina Werres has been advocating to get support for a dog park in Rhinelander.

The decision is now left to the Rhinelander City Council when they vote on June 12th.

The same council denied the park in the past.

"I was very happy, I will be even happier when I hear the 'yes' at the council because we've come this far before with Pioneer park," said Werres. 

This is the second time Shepard Park has been proposed.

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MINOCQUA - In 2006, more than 40,000 pets died in fires due to smoke inhalation. 

That number has gone down, in large part thanks to oxygen masks designed for animals. 

The Minocqua Fire Department got its own set of pet oxygen masks Tuesday, courtesy of Invisible Fence of Northern Wisconsin.

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MADISON - The Legislature's budget committee has decided to put off votes on the University of Wisconsin System budget because Senate Republicans can't agree on what to do about tuition rates.

Gov. Scott Walker's budget calls for cutting tuition by 5 percent and giving the system $35 million to offset the lost revenue. It also would give the system $42.5 million in additional state aid. Campuses that do better on new performance standards would get bigger chunks of the funding.

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