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.
MADISON - An aide to a Wisconsin lawmaker says Gov. Scott Walker intends to sign a bill that would put outside agencies in charge of investigating officer-involved deaths.
Craig Trost, an aide to Rep. Chris Taylor, says in an email that Walker's office notified Taylor's office that he plans to sign the bill Wednesday.
Taylor, a Madison Democrat, and Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, developed the legislation in response to three high-profile deaths in the last 10 years. None of those incidents resulted in criminal charges.
Supporters say the new requirements will counter claims that police protect their own from consequences of using deadly force. But police observers say the bill could create conflict and confusion for Wisconsin agencies that have traditionally done the investigations themselves.
The bill passed the Legislature earlier this year.
GREEN BAY - Two people convicted of mistreating cows at a Brown County dairy farm have been fined hundreds of dollars.
Lucia Martinez pleaded no contest Tuesday to two counts of mistreating animals, and Abelardo Jaimes pleaded no contest to one count. As part of a plea deal the charge was downgraded from a misdemeanor to a forfeiture.
Prosecutor David Lasee says with fines and court costs, Martinez will owe about $1,100, while Jaimes will have to pay $600 to $700.
Martinez, Jaimes and two others were charged after Mercy for Animals, an animal-rights group, secretly recorded workers beating injured cows.
Jaimes' attorney, Luca Lopes Fagundes, says workers were told they needed to make sure sick cows didn't remain down because they could die.
A message left with Martinez's attorney wasn't immediately returned.
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