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Snow Cover Creates Added Stress on Deer PopulationSubmitted: 04/18/2013
Story By Melissa Constanzer


WISCONSIN - Deer hunters care a lot about late fall weather, but there's also reason to care about spring weather. It's harder for deer to find food with snow on the ground. That puts deer under added stress. The DNR wants to know just how stressed they are. That's why they measure the severity of the winter with an index. Temperatures and snow cover add points to the total.

"When you get to the end of the winter, if you have a score of less than 50, it's considered mild. If it's more than 80 it's considered severe or 100 is very severe. At the present time in Rhinelander, it's only 44 which would say it's a mild winter," says Keith McCaffery, DNR Retired Deer Biologist.

But this spring is one for the record books. The DNR has been keeping records since 1960. Only one other year has had this much snow cover this late. In the southern part of the state, that's led to deer deaths.

"That high density of deer is likely to cause some stress. There is that indication that we have very severe browsing going on in some of the wood lots, in the area where these moralities are taking place. Aspen branches are chewed off to the diameter of a person's thumb," says Keith McCaffery.

Here in the Northwoods, the deer are still doing well despite the snow cover. This means there are not concerns for the upcoming hunting season yet. Still the DNR reminds people not to feed or bait deer.


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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - With spring finally here, you'll probably start noticing more pests around the house.

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WAUSAU - Three people confined for sex crimes will be coming back to the Wausau area.

Wausau police tell us the three men are to be released.

Terrance Steppert has been in prison for more than 30 years.

The 51 year old Steppert was convicted of first degree sexual assault of a child and burglary while armed.

He will go into transitional housing near the Marathon County Courthouse.

65 year old David Schuetz spent six years in prison for 1st degree sexual assault of a child.

He will be on extended supervision for the next 12 years.

And 26 year old Justin Larson was found not guilty because of mental issues on a charge of second degree sexual assault.

He was committed for treatment in 2009.

He will be released to a group home a few blocks from the Marathon County Courthouse.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 05/02/2016

- Last month, voters in the Unified School District of Antigo rejected a referendum that would have consolidated the district's seven elementary schools. Now the district has to figure out what to do with the teachers, staff and students of one school that will close in June.

- Plus, until now Price County has never had any type of public transportation.  Park Falls hasn't even had a taxi service in years.  That all changed in April with a new bus.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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LAONA - Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson faces a tough path to reelection this fall.  The Republican has found himself down by double digits to challenger Russ Feingold in Marquette Law School polls at times.  But Johnson says he'll swing voters when they look at his record of getting work done in Washington, D.C.

Johnson announced his bid for re-election during stops across Wisconsin Monday.  The senator began the day at his Oshkosh-based plastics facility before meeting with state Sen. Tom Tiffany, logging industry and school leaders at a logging site in Laona.  Johnson said Monday was a great day to start his run.

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MATTOON - Last month, voters in the Unified School District of Antigo rejected a referendum that would have consolidated the district's seven elementary schools. The referendum would have kept two rural schools�"Mattoon and Crestwood�"open.

But now, Mattoon Elementary School will close in June. The school board voted 5-4 to close the school at the end of this school year.

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PARK FALLS - Park Falls's Bob Kranig hadn't been to the grocery store in three years, by his estimation.

"I've got to rely on other people," he said.

Getting to the store himself was simply too tough. Kranig doesn't walk or drive. He mostly stays in his motorized wheelchair, which he calls his scooter.

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ADAMS COUNTY - Update-We now know the names of two men who died in a two car crash near the Wisconsin Dells over the weekend.

The Wisconsin State Patrol tells us 65 year old Timothy Helm and his passenger, 72 year old Frances Chowaniec died at the scene of the crash.

Both men were from Oxford.

24 year old Kolton Coon of Wisconsin Dells was the second driver.

He was taken to a hospital and expected to survive.

The crash happened Saturday afternoon around 2:00 on County Road B north of state highway 23 in Adams County.

Wisconsin State Patrol is still investigating.





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