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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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 IN OTHER NEWS

WISCONSIN -

Turkey season began last week and hunters have a new option for what they can do with the turkeys they shoot.

The DNR started a turkey donating program this year.

You can donate turkey's to three processors in the southern half of the state.

"A little bit further south of here in areas where there's usually a lot of deer donations and a lot of turkey shot so that we can try and get some good participation for the first year," said DNR's Wildlife Biologist, Jeremy Holtz.

The meat is donated to food pantries. The hope is to have the program be successful and grow to other parts of the state, and potentially here in the Northwoods.

"It may be that meat processors in Marathon, Lincoln or Langlade County would have no problem with that. But when you get further north, it may be less common for meat processors to handle wild turkeys on a regular basis," said Holtz.

The processors use the breast meat. The DNR is asking hunters to not just donate the scraps.

"Processors will be removing the breast meat from the bird and they'll be grinding it up and making it available at food pantries as ground turkey," said Holtz.

If you want to see a list of the processors, follow the link below.

There are also turkey permits still available. Contact your local DNR office for more details.


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MADISON - A Republican-backed proposal that would ban the coverage of abortions for Wisconsin state workers has cleared the state Assembly Health Committee.

The panel approved the bill Wednesday on a party-line vote, with all Republicans in support and Democrats against.

It now heads to the full Assembly for consideration.

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LINCOLN COUNTY - WARNING: Some of the above video is disturbing

In late February, a Lincoln County Deputy shot and killed a man who was shooting at him.

On Tuesday, the Lincoln County District Attorney said Deputy Sam Steckbauer was justified to use deadly force.

The DA made this decision after an extensive investigation by the State's Department of Justice.

The DOJ released video taken from the squad car footage, police scanner traffic, and a 911 call that helps explain what happened that night.

It started with a call from a nervous driver, and it ended with the death of 40-year-old Shawn Igers.

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VILAS COUNTY - The trial for a Vilas County man accused of sexual assault entered its second day.

Thirty-six-year-old Rodney Teets faces three charges of first degree sexual assault.

The woman who accuses him of those crimes testified on the witness stand on Tuesday. Newswatch 12 is not identifying the woman.

The woman started telling her story, often through tears, of how the July 2015 night events unfolded. She testified while she was driving Teets to his home, she noticed he was holding a knife in his hand near his driver seat headrest. Then she started to describe the alleged assault, showing pictures of her car and identifying what she wore that night.

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TOMAHAWK - Dealing with memory loss or caring for someone suffering with it can be challenging. 

One woman wants to make sure the Tomahawk community has a place where those people can receive the support they need.

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EAGLE RIVER - Carter Heller considers one room in his high school a home away from home.  The Northland Pines junior spends most class periods -- and even district in-service days -- using the 3-D printers, vinyl cutters, and other machinery in the fab lab. Tuesday morning, Heller learned how his second "home" is about to grow thanks to a $25,000 grant.

"Everything about it makes you want to be in here," Heller said.  "It allows our capabilities as a school to expand a lot."

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PARK FALLS - You won't find store bought eggs or bagels at a new restaurant in Park Falls. 

You'll recognize the sunnyside up eggs, but they don't come from a grocery store. 

None of these ingredients at Valerie Mae's are store bought. 

Owner Jacob Griepentog literally takes fresh ingredients from his family's farm and serves them every day at his restaurant. 

 "The fresh mint. I pick it up and I smell it. And all a sudden my brain is creating dishes I want to eat, and thus I want other people to eat," said Griepentrog. 

Jacob created his not-so-traditional menu using the same mindset his parents have at the family farm.

Curry tree leaves, lemon grass, and fig trees are some of the other exotic plants grown at the family farm.

And at some point, they'll be on the Valerie Mae's menu, too. 

What Jacob can't get at his family's farm, he turns to other local farmers.

"I see 45 days, 50 days, 90 days, 120 days of a farmer's life: wind, rain and weather." 

Jacob says farm to table style dining might be a little intimidating at first, but it's worth a try. 

After all, the menu changes week to week. So if you don't like it, just wait. 

"I spend hours, maybe a week testing them preparing them, whatever the season is." 

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