League website: dccl.org Summer Edition, 2016


After several years of working with the USDA on enrolling several hundred more acres of our prairie chicken lands in the Grassland Reserve Program, payment has been received. If you have attended any membership meetings recently or the banquet, you have learned that this is a significant amount to say the least. Certainly some of these funds will go back to maintaining the 4200 acres of prairie chicken lands that the League owns and is managed by the WDNR. Hopefully, some of the earnings can be put to use in Dane County, also. The DCCL had previously enrolled many acres in the program in both an annual “rental” agreement and some in a perpetual easement agreement. In the rental plan we receive annual payments for a period of years; where the perpetual agreement is a one-time payment. Our recent enrollment is a perpetual agreement; meaning the land must always remain in grassland and can only be grazed or hayed. No other agricultural activity can be done and no building can be done on the land. Thanks to Gerry Paffenroth and Ed Brost for having the patience to spend many hours in meetings and on the phone with USDA staff for the last 3 plus years to bring this outstanding achievement to a conclusion.


Once again, we are raising pheasants at our facility at 2497 County Hwy. J near Verona. One thousand day-old chicks came in May and will be ready for release in early September. Remember that to get birds you must put in 15 hours of volunteer work on a League activity and pay your 2016 dues. There is always work to be done at the farm and it is open Saturday mornings all spring and summer; so don’t wait until late August to start accumulating hours. If we have a successful year, we may be able to sell some birds, also. Last year several members of Pheasants Forever assisted with work at the farm and we gave them 55 roosters for their annual youth learn- to- hunt day. We hope to continue this partnership.


The annual meeting was well attended this year and some valuable feedback was given by the membership regarding possible future League activities. The Board continues to sort through these recommendations and will try to implement as many as possible in the coming years. Special guests that night included Mark LaBarbera and Dan Small. They had special praise for the League for its involvement with the Outdoor Heritage Expo held each spring at the McKenzie center. The DCCL has been a major financial sponsor for many years and will be again in 2016. Four board members’ terms were expiring and three ran successfully for re-election: Dwaine Rundle, Jerry Sands, and Ed Brost. Rick Kalvelage chose not to seek re-election. Chuck Virnig was elected to replace Rick. Thanks to Rick for serving the DCCL for many years. Other board members are: Tom Klingbiel, Greg Dahl, Don Sprang, Steve Johnson, Dave Pulda, Cathy Matts, Gary Howards, and Lowell Carter.


On April 28th the League held its annual fund raising banquet at Rex’s Innkeeper in Waunakee with Scott Craven again as MC. All 150 spots were sold out in a very short time and income set a new record moving into five-figure range. This means we can continue to support conservation and outdoor youth activities in the area at an even greater level than the past. Thanks to the core committee of Dwaine Rundle, Steve Gordon, Cathy Matts, Dave Pulda and Adam Lipscomb as well as Don Sprang for handling the revenue. In addition, thanks go to many volunteers who helped at the banquet. Most importantly, thanks to all who attended and gave your generous financial support to the DCCL .


In March the League hosted a booth at the Wisconsin Fishing Expo in Madison. The Expo is under new management and had another successful year. Many League members led by Tom Klingbiel volunteered at our booth and for the show itself. The Expo gives the DCCL exposure to many folks who are not familiar with us and usually gains some new members.

Gary Howards led a group of highway cleanup volunteers on our section of highways 18 and 151 near the pheasant farm.

Gerry Paffenroth led two events this spring. The first was cleaning wood duck houses that had been installed in recent years. It was noted that many had been used to raise ducklings. The second project was the building of more wood duck, bluebird and wren houses for installation this fall or next spring. Both of these activities were well attended by members.

All of the above mentioned activities count toward work hours to get pheasants from the farm.


Early this year the DCCL donated $5,000 to a restoration project on the Sugar River. We received the following note from Topf Wells, a leader of Trout Unlimited in this area:

The Southern Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited is extremely grateful to the Dane County Conservation League for its $5,000 contribution to the restoration of the Sugar River on the Neperud parcel. Dane County purchased this land, about 100 acres along State Highway 69 at Basco to protect the river and enable the public to enjoy fishing, hunting, paddling and other outdoor recreation in and near the river. The river has a lot going for it—flow, gradient, gravel stream bed, small springs, a very cold tributary, a lovely oak ridge with native wild flowers. Among its current inhabitants are a small, persistent population of robust brown trout . They’re not numerous because the river also has problems—too wide, too shallow, not much habitat, and eroding stream banks.

TU, Dane County, and other local, regional and national partners will restore much of the river this year using a combination of tried and true and new techniques. We’ll shape and stabilize banks, narrow the river, provide more cover; we’ll plant a wide variety of native grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees to secure the soil and provide beauty and habitat. DNR fish managers are key in planning the project and have been very helpful. Dane County is providing 80% of the costs and TU had to raise the rest. The DCCL was among the first to support and contribute to this project. The DCCL has always championed the Sugar River as part of its conservation mission and has continued with this donation. Thank you.


Among the many suggestions arising out of the annual meeting “greenlighting” session was to work with other groups and agencies to preserve natural areas used for hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, etc. The WDNR now has a program entitled, “Adopt a Wildlife Area.” Groups can help in various ways such as property posting, habitat improvements, litter removal, surveys, financial donations and many others. We have spoken with the local Wildlife Manager and a good candidate for adoption would be the Bad Fish Creek Wildlife Area. The board will continue to explore this opportunity. Member participation would be needed.


The DCCL Fund. Each was funded with amounts of $50,000 after receiving our first GRP money from the prairie chicken lands several years ago. If gains are realized annually, we take them and put toward various projects, most importantly, the prairie chicken project. The funds are to be left with the NRF permanently most likely and anyone could add to the funds if they believe in the cause. The NRF was established 30 years ago to channel private support for public natural resources. In that time, projects have ranged from supporting trumpeter swan recovery to long-term restoration in places such as Cederburg Bog State Natural Area, to connecting thousands of people through field trip programs. Check out the NRF at WisConservaton.org for more information. You might be very surprised what you find out about this wonderful organization.


The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation submitted a resolution at the annual meeting this spring to pledge support for the propagation and protection of milkweed in Wisconsin. Studies show that Monarchs have declined by 90% in the past 20 years mostly due to the disappearance of milkweed. Led by long time member Ed Brost, the League has begun as plot for growing milkweed at the pheasant farm. Come on out and give him a hand once in a while. Ok?


From our bylaws: “ The purpose of the League is the protection and propagation of fish and wildlife, both game and non-game species, and the promotion of public education and plans to restore and conserve Dane County’s natural resources, and to increase opportunities for outdoor recreation. “

And here’s a quote from former member Aldo Leopold, “Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend, you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left.”


Mark your calendar for August 6 for the annual cookout and open house at the pheasant farm. It will begin about noon. You may bring a salad or dessert if you wish, but not necessary. Help in setting up and cleaning up afterward would be a great help. The pheasants will also be showing some color

and would also be a good time to check out how they are progressing.


Dear Editor, I want to buy a new blaze pink parka for deer hunting but can’t seem to find my size of XXXXL. Any suggestions? Marlin St. Croix

Dear Marlin, yes, we suggest you switch to light beer.


June 21, 2016Board of Director’s Mtg. 7 pm. Badger Bowl

July 19, 2016Board of Director’s Mtg. 7 pm. Badger Bowl

August 6, 2016Open House at Pheasant Farm – approx. time – Noon

August 16, 2016Board of Director’s Mtg., 7 pm. Badger Bowl

September 20, 2016Board of Director’s Mtg., 7 pm. Badger Bowl

September 27, 2016Membership Mtg., CWD Update, Erin Larson, WDNR

October 18, 2016Board of Director’s Mtg., 7 pm. Badger Bowl

October 25, 2016Membership Mtg., Upper Sugar River Watershed activities,

Speaker: Wade Moder

November 15, 2016 Board of Director’s Mtg., 7 pm. Badger Bowl

November, 2016Membership Mtg., Bats in Wisc. Speaker: Jennifer Redell, WDNR

December, 2016Board of Director’s Mtg. 7 pm. Badger Bowl

REMEMBER: All membership meetings are held at the Badger Bowl in Madison, WI starting at 7 p.m. We welcome all members and friends to participate in these meetings as we always have interesting speakers.