Episode Eleven

River Travel Media/La Crosse Local

To find out more about the Wisconsin Great River Road please check out the website www.WiGRR.com.

Wisconsin DNR Website https://dnr.wi.gov/

Megan: We’re very fortunate in this area to have the natural resources we do with the Mississippi River here. We’ve got excellent fishing. We have fishing year-round. There’s always something. The hunting is great in this area. We’ve got really good deer hunting in this area. We’ve got really good duck and goose hunting. It’s a really cool area, not to mention that the scenery is pretty decent to look at as well.

Bob: Megan Jensen, a Wisconsin Conservation Warden with the Wisconsin DNR is my guest on the Wisconsin Great River Road Podcast. So, tell me about being safe when it comes to deer hunting season.

Megan: When we look at the deer hunting season, obviously we have the archery season and the gun season. [With] archery season, there’s usually not as many folks out in the woods, and the season is over a longer period of time. But [with] the gun deer season, usually we’re getting a more concentrated number of folks out in the woods, and they’re hunting with firearms. One of the biggest concerns is their safety. We do have the blaze orange or the blaze pink requirement for those hunters. Anyone who is hunting during a gun deer season has to wear at least 50 percent of the blaze orange or the blaze pink. And in all of our hunter education courses, we always talk about the acronym TABK. Those are the four primary rules of firearm safety. The first one is T, [which is] treat every firearm as if it’s loaded. The A is, always point your muzzle in a safe direction. B [is], be sure of your target and what’s beyond. The K is, keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.

Bob: That’s always some good advice right there. How is hunting along the Wisconsin Great River Road different from hunting in state or on the other side of the state?

Megan: As a warden, I’ve worked along the Mississippi River for my entire career. Over here along the Mississippi River, we’ve got really good hunting, and we’ve got a variety of hunting. Not only do we have really good deer hunting over in this area, a couple of our counties – Buffalo County and Trempealeau County – are really destination deer hunting counties for a lot of folks not just from within Wisconsin, but really from multiple states. I frequently do get calls from folks from other states asking about hunting opportunities on the public land in Trempealeau County just because this area is known for their nice-sized bucks and the plentiful deer herd. We are also along the Mississippi River Flyway for ducks and geese, so we have great waterfowl hunting here as well, which just really makes this a hunter’s paradise because there is a little bit of something for everyone. We also have good small game hunting and turkey hunting and other hunting activities. I think we’re very fortunate along the river here to have all the hunting activities that we do, and opportunities that we have.

Bob: Living along the Wisconsin Great River Road, of course we’ve got the opportunity to fish year-round with the Mississippi River being there. What kind of advice would you give to a fisherman?

Megan: The first piece of advice I give to anyone who is going out fishing or hunting is to make sure you take a peek at the regulations for that year. Things do change from year to year here, and it’s important for folks to know what the regulations are because at the end of the day, it’s up to the fisherman and the hunter to read what the regulations are for the body of water they’re going out on, and the state that they’re in. Here along the Mississippi, one of the biggest things I like to remind folks of is that there’s a state line along the Mississippi River that we share with Minnesota and Iowa there. If folks are fishing on the non-Wisconsin side of the river, they need to follow the regulations for the state for which they’re fishing in. For example, if someone is fishing in the La Crosse area on the Wisconsin side, they would follow Wisconsin regulations. If they’re fishing on the Minnesota side of the river, they would have to follow the regulations put out by Minnesota.

Bob: Megan, how do we find out more information about the Wisconsin DNR?

Megan: The Wisconsin DNR has an awesome website. Just about anything you want to know can be found on that website. Encourage folks to go online and just type in “wisconsindnr” [dnr.wi.gov] and take a look at our website. Another resource we have is a “Hunt Wild Wisconsin App.” It’s a free app that people can download on their smartphones. It’s a really good resource. It has an interactive map on there that has overlays of where the public land is so they know if it’s public land or private land where they’re at. They can also look up regulations for the different species. They can look up shooting hours, so that’s a really good resource.