NORTHWOODS - More hunters will get to use crossbows than in previous years during the upcoming bow season.
The Natural Resource Board approved the new season last week. It will run at the same time as the archery season, which runs from Sept. 13 - Jan. 4, 2015.
Businesses are seeing more people looking at crossbows as the season approaches.
"We've seen a definite spike in interest in this past year, and especially more now with the season in place for the fall," says Mitch Mode of Mel's Trading Post in Rhinelander.
Before the board's approval of this new season, only hunters with disabilities and people 65 or older could hunt with a crossbow. Those groups can still hunt with crossbows. They'll only need to get a crossbow license.
The new season also allows anyone legally old enough and physically able to use a crossbow.
"It's a very efficient way to shoot an arrow," Mode said. "The arrow doesn't drop as much. Its accuracy is improved, and power delivered to the arrow is significantly increased over the compound--and of course way over the traditional bows."
Hunters must get a crossbow hunting license, which includes a statewide buck tag and a Farmland Zone antlerless tag. If you have a gun license, you can also use a crossbow during that season.
Mode believes the increased crossbow usage will mean more hunting time for people who might only hunt during the deer gun season.
"But for those folks who want to hunt--and there are a lot of them--a crossbow gives them a nice option that they can extend the season from maybe just rifle season to going and doing crossbow during archery season and have a much longer season," Mode said.
If you are looking at a crossbow, Mode says you want to get a crossbow that you are comfortable holding.
"They can get a little bit weighty at times. Get a crossbow, learn how to use it, pay attention to the instructions and practice with it," Mode said.
WAUSAU - This has been Wisconsin's deadliest gun-deer season in the past five years, with two shooting fatalities already recorded.
Daily Herald Media reports (http://wdhne.ws/1HvNth3 ) that the two fatalities brought to an end a three-year series of seasons that had been free of firearm deaths. Four other hunters also have been wounded.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, hunters violated some of the fundamental rules of gun safety in all the incidents.
A man was killed last Sunday in Columbia County when he was shot while passing a loaded rifle to a companion in a tree stand. Wearing mittens, she grabbed the gun near the trigger and it went off. On Monday, a hunter in Waushara County was killed by a stray bullet.
APPLETON - The U.S. Marshals Service says a convicted sex offender who was wanted for violating the terms of his release has been arrested in Appleton.
The agency says 63-year-old L.C. Streeter, of Milwaukee, was previously convicted of four separate sexual assaults from 1976 to 1985. Wisconsin committed him as a sexually violent person in 1996, and he remained in treatment until his release in 2013 under intensive supervision.
The service said in a statement that he cut off his GPS and electronic monitoring bracelets and fled supervision on Monday, resulting in a warrant for his arrest. Federal marshals and Appleton police arrested him without incident in Appleton on Friday.
Kevin Carr, the U.S. marshal for eastern Wisconsin, says Streeter was "an absolute danger to the community based upon his past convictions."
TOMAH - The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center says it has adopted another plan to improve patient care.
The La Crosse Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1QMsDMZ) that Friday's release of the "100-day plan" comes almost 11 months after media reports that veterans at the center were prescribed excessive doses of opioid pain-killers and that employees who spoke out faced retaliation from top officials.
The plan, which follows a 30-day plan announced in May, outlines steps for improving access to care, employee engagement and restoring trust.
Among other things, it calls for recruitment of psychiatric staff, employee forums and listening sessions, and opening an employee wellness center.
Several Tomah VA officials — including former Director Mario Desanctis and former Chief of Staff David Houlihan — have been fired since the problems emerged early this year.
MAUSTON - Authorities are investigating the death of a person who was found unresponsive in Decorah Lake early Friday.
Kyle Lynch, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden for Juneau County, says he was called to the scene to assist in a boat search about 1:30 a.m. He also says the Mauston Fire Department recovered the body, which was found in the water.
The Mauston Police Department says attempts were made to rescue the individual, but the Juneau County Coroner's Office pronounced the individual dead at the scene. Police have provided few other details, and the victim's name has not been released.
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