Vilas Co. deputies add lead-free ammo to utility belts, hoping to cut down on accidental eagle poisoningSubmitted: 06/04/2019
Story By Lane Kimble

Vilas Co. deputies add lead-free ammo to utility belts, hoping to cut down on accidental eagle poisoning
RHINELANDER - Creatures of all kinds get many different treatments in an office just past Wild Instinct's main entrance in Rhinelander, but lately Mark Naniot has felt like an eagle oncologist.

"In a lot of ways, it's almost like chemotherapy," Naniot said.

The seasoned rehabilitation director spent Tuesday morning injecting bald eagles with a chemical that treats for lead poisoning, but it also removes important minerals like zinc and copper.   It's a process he's done on 13 eagles since January.

"So far we're at 100 percent, every single one of them had lead," Naniot said.

Naniot's isolation bays are full of very sick bald eagles, which can get lead poisoning from eating fish with lures stuck in them and deer shot with lead-based ammunition. The first eagle Naniot fed on Tuesday came in from Forest County with a reading above 65 parts-per-million, which is the lead scanner's highest level.

Naniot says survival rates depend on how severe the poisoning is and how long the bird was sick before it came into his care. Any eagle with chronic lead levels that build over time usually don't make it.

"It's our national bird and look what we're doing to it and it's very easily preventable," Naniot said.

That's a mindset Vilas County Sheriff's Lt. Greg Fulton respects.

"[One of our detectives was] pretty adamant on us coming up with an alternative," Fulton said.

Fulton estimates his patrol deputies need to euthanize more than 100 deer hit by cars along roadsides every year. At that detective's request, Fulton did some research into non-toxic ammo.

He settled on International's version of the handgun and rifle rounds. Vilas County ordered rounds for all deputies to carry in red, specially marked magazines. The bullets cost more and don't have as much punch as the standard ammo, but can get this specific job done.

"It doesn't have the penetration as a lead round does, so if it hits anything hard it basically turns into powder," Fulton said. "Now we have an opportunity to reduce as much lead as we can from the environment."

Naniot knows he can't save every eagle that comes in, but he hopes more departments following Vilas County's lead will lead to him being able to target his attention elsewhere.

"That's a huge milestone and so that's a huge win for us," Naniot said. "We got the lead out of our paints, we got the lead out of our gasoline, now we just need to do it in our hunting and fishing equipment and that will make a huge difference with the birds out there."

Vilas County deputies will still carry standard-issue ammo at all times.

Naniot says the Forest County eagle he was treating has made great progress. Its lead levels dropped to about 15 ppm in just two weeks.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


Play Video

RHINELANDER - The League of Women Voters of the Northwoods held a session on how to vote in Wisconsin at ArtStart earlier this evening.

They highlighted the voting process including what forms of ID are required.

Co-chair of the group, Debra Durchslag said she was happy after Sunday's turnout.

"I was very pleased to see a new group of interested Oneida county residents who are very much interested to register unregistered voters," said Durchslag

The League is a non-partisan organization devoted to educating the public about local and national politics.

+ Read More

IRON COUNTY - One person died in a snowmobiling incident in Iron County early Sunday morning. The victim was identified as a 47-year-old female.

According to a press release by the Iron County Sheriff's Department, dispatch received a call at 1:52 a.m. reporting a snowmobile crashed on Trail 17 just outside Hurley and the operator was unresponsive.

First responders arrived at 2:04 a.m. and began taking life saving measures. The driver was then transported by rescue sled to Beacon ambulance and then to Aspirus GVH in Ironwood, MI.

After continued life-saving measures, the 47-year-old female was pronounced dead at Aspirus Hospital.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

+ Read More

MADISON - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced Sunday he wants state lawmakers to pass a package of bills aimed at curbing youth vaping and educating the public about vaping's potential dangers.

The bills Evers, a Democrat, is requesting would ban vaping and vapor products on K-12 campuses and expand the definition of public health emergencies. Another bill would fund a public health campaign to address youth vaping in the state and a fourth proposal would expand the enforcement capacity of the Departments of Revenue and Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection to prevent vaping products from being sold to minors.

The governor's office outlined his proposals in a press release Sunday.

"As a parent, grandparent, and lifelong educator, I am deeply concerned about the health and well-being of our kids," Evers said in a statement. "Vaping is a serious public health epidemic and it is time to take action."

The governor's office said vaping products pose serious health risks to young users because the nicotine contained in e-cigarettes can harm parts of the brain that control attention and learning.

+ Read More

OSHKOSH, WIS. (AP) - A Wisconsin teenager who was shot and wounded when he stabbed a school resource officer has been ordered to stand trial.

Grant Fuhrman, 17, is charged as an adult with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the Dec. 3 attack at Oshkosh West High School.

Fuhrman is accused of stabbing Mike Wissink multiple times with a barbecue fork. Court documents say the officer was unable to reach his stun gun so he shot Fuhrman twice. Neither was seriously injured.

The school was evacuated and classes were cancelled for two days.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - High school and middle school cross country skiers spent the weekend competing in Rhinelander for the annual Ascension Northwoods Nordic Hodag Challenge.

The two-day event attracted teams from more than 10 different schools across Wisconsin, and some schools from Michigan.

Head Coach for Rhinelander Nordic Charil Reis said her team spent a lot of time hitting the trails thanks to the generosity of mother nature. 

"We've been blessed with a lot of snow this year, so we haven't had to do a lot of indoor type of practice," said Reis.

+ Read More

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - Professional snowmobilers took to the racetrack in Eagle River this weekend. However, they weren't the only ones riding on some top-of-the line sleds.

Arctic Cat was at the derby offering demo rides on their 2021 models. People got a chance to try out the different machines, and put money down on a model of their choice.

Sales director Joe Klosterman said it's important for people to try before they buy.

"We do it to give an experience to the consumer," said Klosterman. "You wouldn't buy a car without driving it. We've also got a new model this year that I think is going to bring a lot of new people into the industry." 

Demo workers took guests out on a 10-mile loop to experience some of the best trails in the Northwoods. Those trails featured curbs, some fresh powder, and lots of bumps to test the machines' suspension.

Klosterman said Arctic Cat sold lots of sleds over the weekend thanks to the promotion.

+ Read More

Play Video

ARBOR VITAE - This year the Arbor Vitae Fire Department hosted the Firefighter chili cook-off.

The event was being held at the Little Rice Fire Department the previous two years.

Arbor Vitae firefighter Ashely Roach said she loves having a job that lets her serve her community.

"Our fire department is very proud of the things we get to do for the community," said Roach. "Our picnic is something we have been doing for over 40 years and being able to use those same skills to put on events for other organizations feels good."

All proceeds from the fundraiser go to Vilas County Sheriff's Office K9 Stitch, money raised will cover the dog's training and vet bills.

+ Read More
+ More General News