Fish and Wildlife Account Annual Report Available

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An annual report explaining how the Department of Natural Resources used hunting and fishing license fees to support fish and wildlife programs in Wisconsin is available on the agency’s Web site.

Wisconsin’s Fish and Wildlife Annual Report 2003-2004 is available on “Your Investment in Natural Resources” pages at, The report covers the fiscal year that ran July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004.

According to the report, DNR spent $85 million from a segregated fish and wildlife account on activities that support hunting and fishing in Wisconsin. The amount is $10.4 million less than the previous year due to budget reductions that lowered DNR expenditures and because the department did not conduct an extensive statewide sampling effort to detect chronic wasting disease in wild white-tailed deer that had been conducted the previous year.

The $85 million the department spent on fish, wildlife and wardens in 2003-04 represented 19.3 percent of the total funds DNR spent on all its programs that year. The $85 million includes general license fees of $58.5 million, dedicated funds such as trout and pheasant stamps, federal funds and miscellaneous grants and donations.

Funds in the fish and wildlife account can only be spent to support hunting, fishing and related law enforcement programs in Wisconsin. Under state law, the funds cannot be diverted to other uses, and spending on administration is limited to 16 percent or less. State and federal authorities audit the account regularly to ensure funds are spent properly, according to Joe Polasek, DNR budget chief.

The annual report includes more specific chapters that describe spending and services related to fish, wildlife, law enforcement, facilities and lands, licensing, administration and support.

Despite the budget cuts and resulting need to hold dozens of vacant fish, wildlife and warden positions open in 2003-04, DNR staff carried out an array of important fish and wildlife activities and services including:

# Improved habitat on 28 miles of trout streams; sampled 769 stream sites and 403 inland lakes and Wisconsin waters of Lakes Superior and Michigan. Raised and stocked 11 million fish and 20 million fry.

# Improved hunter access by leasing 125,942 acres as public hunting grounds, paid for in part by partner conservation groups; raised and released more than 36,000 pheasants and provided 53,000 chicks to partners, and banded more than 4,535 waterfowl.

# Worked to eradicate Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) through comprehensive testing (15,000 deer tested in 2003-04; 75,000 since 2002) herd reduction in infected areas, research and educational outreach.

# More than 4,978 volunteer instructors trained more than 34,225 students in hunter education.

# Conservation wardens contacted more than 250,000 people engaged in hunting and fishing activities to promote safety and ensure compliance and understanding of regulations and resources issues.

# Helped support management of about 1,420,000 acres of land open to hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreational activities.

# Developed Web sites that allow hunters and anglers to access detailed maps of DNR lands open to recreation, purchase licenses on line and check their preference winner status, and access extensive information about state species and conservation programs. F

OR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Joe Polasek, director, DNR Bureau of Management and Budget - (608) 266-2794