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Florida Lionfish Challenge Removes 21K Invasive Species

G&F News Digest: Minnesota EHD, Wisconsin wolf quota, NY's new catch-and-release trout season.

Florida Lionfish Challenge Removes 21K Invasive Species

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Florida's annual tournament to remove invasive lion fish from state waters resulted in more than 20,000 of the species being removed this summer.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said participants in the 2021 Lionfish Challenge removed 21,146 lionfish May 21-Sept. 6. Nearly 500 people registered for the lionfish removal and incentive program; 185 submitted lion fish. That's the highest participation numbers since the Lionfish Challenge began in 2016.

Brooks Feeser of Palm Beach County removed 1,632 lionfish to take first place in the recreational category. Carl Antonik of Santa Rosa County removed 1,582 lionfish, and Christina Raber-Jehn of Palm Beach County removed 1,475.

Learn more about lionfish in Florida

New York: Catch-and-Release Trout Opens

New York's new catch-and-release trout stream season begins on Oct. 16. The new season, which runs through March 31, requires anglers to use only artificial lures and immediately release trout they catch. The catch-and-release season applies to trout streams only. Fishing for trout in lakes and ponds is prohibited after Oct. 15, unless these waters are managed under a special regulation that allows for angling. Anglers should consult DEC's regulations guide for regulations associated with lakes and ponds that harbor trout before fishing.

"Using science, research, and public input, DEC is increasing fishing opportunities while advancing responsible trout management in order to ensure trout reach their fullest ecological and recreational potential," Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a news release. "New York State's new catch-and-release season in trout streams expands opportunities for anglers so they can enjoy the State's trout stream fishing resources year-round."

The new catch-and-release trout stream season is a product of DEC's Statewide Trout Stream Management Plan, developed to improve and modernize the State's management of its trout stream fishing resources.

Visit DEC's website for more information on catching and releasing fish.

Minnesota: EHD in Whitetails Confirmed

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed two cases of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in wild white-tailed deer in two counties.

The DNR received reports of deer deaths throughout September in both Houston and Winona counties, amounting to over 20 animals. Tests from two of the deer in Houston County were positive for EHD; other deer were too decomposed to test.

Reported cases in Minnesota are limited two counties thus far; however, Wisconsin has recently confirmed several EHD cases in nearby La Crosse County.

EHD is a viral disease of deer and some livestock that is spread by a biting insect called a midge.


Drought conditions have likely increased risk for this virus, as midges are limited to fewer water sources to breed and this can promote virus propagation. There are no management interventions available to combat the disease.

Finding multiple dead deer near a water source is typical of an EHD die-off. Fever drives the animals to seek water, but they die from internal lesions and hemorrhages.

People who find a dead deer should report it to the nearest DNR area wildlife office.

EHD is not a threat to humans or animals outside the deer family. Even so, people should not consume deer that appear to be sick or deer that appear to be in poor health. Additional information about EHD is available on the DNR website.

Wisconsin: Wolf Harvest Quota

Licenses for the fall 2021 wolf-hunting season in Wisconsin go on sale Oct. 25, with the statewide quota set at 130 wolves.

State-licensed hunters and trappers will be authorized to harvest 74 wolves within the six zones, and the department will honor the Ojibwe Tribes’ treaty right within the Ceded Territory of 56.

The department will use a license ratio of 5:1 to offer the opportunity to 370 successful applicants to purchase a state wolf hunting license. The department plans to notify successful applicants Oct. 25, at which point licenses will also go on sale.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed gray wolves from the federal endangered species list on Jan. 4, 2021, returning management authority to state agencies. As required by state statute, the DNR will continue to plan for a wolf harvest season to open on Nov. 6, 2021.

More information on the Fall 2021 quota and license information is available on the DNR website.

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