photo by member: Monica Spaeni

Stories from Members and Updates from the Community

APRIL 2024 - PRAIRIE CHICKENS at Buena Vista (by members - Dan and Sharon Stepper)

Saturday, April 13, 2024 

Alarm starts ringing at O Dark 30 (3:00 am) but no notice of the early hour is taken except for the excitement of our destination..Prairie Chicken Booming grounds - Buena Vista grasslands. 

Our DNR greeters gave out viewing blind assignments and who were we paired with but past DCCL President Tim Thompson. It was very nice to have met you, Tim. 

Viewing Blind Rules - Of course, Be Quiet. But more notable is don’t bump a hen chicken - meaning you can’t leave the blind until all hens have left the Booming ground. If a hen is scared off by humans, that hen will probably never return to that spot for breeding. 

After arriving at the blinds and getting settled, while it was still completely dark (approx 4:30 am). We started hearing booming and cackling. Now the anticipation of daybreak so we could see the beautiful birds we were hearing. 

Once the sun rose, we could enjoy the wonderful displays of the male prairie chickens wooing the choosy females. And get a few pictures. On this April Saturday, the approximate bird counts were 36 total birds, 27 males and 9 females. 

One female hung around until 7:37 am trying to make her choice but in the end, she decided none were suitable and flew away. 

Such an amazing experience if you haven’t put it on your bucket list, it’s a MUST!! 

Story and photos submitted by Dan and Sharon Stepper

APRIL 2024 - HUNTER EDUCATION SAFETY (from member - Ray Anderson)

Dane County Conservation League:

First off, Thank You again for the DCCL blaze orange caps which our MadCitySafeHunters Instructor Group presents to our Hunter Ed Safety Graduates.   

We held three hunter ed safety classes in 2023. We originally planned four classes but consolidated the first, early class due to low enrollment into the latter three which worked out for the best.  


We had a total of 88 students. Except for a handful of adults, the majority were youth.  We continue to experience a growing trend of women and young ladies taking hunter safety. 


We are in the planning stages for our 2024 schedule.  We hope to have at least four classes with a 5th to be considered as we see how things work out. 


Attached are a few pictures for use and publication. You'll see Hunter Ed Safety graduates proudly showing off their certificates and DCCL caps.  A few proud parents got in some of the pictures. 

photos by member: Ray Anderson

 It's important to note that over the years we've had students who attended the safety classes have used an AAW Outdoor Wheelchair (OWC) - included is a representative picture showing a student with a mobility challenge attending class.  Also, Monica Spaeni, if you didn't know, is one of our Hunter Ed Safety Instructors who teaches while using an AAW Outdoor Wheelchair - included is a representative picture of her instructing. 


Again, thank you DCCL. You have continued to support Hunter Safety for more than a decade by supplying Blaze Orange safety caps for our graduates.  We make a "point" of letting our graduates know that these awards are possible due to DCCL's support.

Ray Anderson

Lead Hunter Ed Safety Instructor


photos by member: Chris Worley

MARCH 2024 - Local 16-year-old harvests a bull elk in 2023.

A 16-year-old girl from Mt. Horeb shot a bull elk in Wisconsin last year.  Her name is Izzy Wink and her dad is Brian. The family is a long-time member of the DCCL. Both Brian and lzzy have done lots of work at the pheasant farm for several years.   

They were recently on a podcast done by Vortex about the hunt, and it is great.  You can find it with a Google search at Vortex Nation Podcast 10 Minute Talk Wisconsin Elk Hunt of a Lifetime.  It is on a YouTube video. 

Brian won the drawing for the permit but gave it to Izzy.  He hunted along with her, of course.  Izzy may be the youngest person to legally take an elk in Wisconsin.  She is also an expert rifle shot and competes in many long-distance rifle contests.

Stay tuned for more on this story. 

Submitted by Lowell Carter

MARCH 2024 - Hunting History on the Buena Vista Property

Paul Leiser, a young man, lives near the  Buena Vista DCCL property and has been hunting on it for years.  He has a blind set up on some adjacent private property and shoots out onto our land.  He said that he never walks or "drives" the land but many others do.  He prefers to sit in his blind and let other hunters move the deer.  As you can see from the photos, he and his brother have been very successful. He says there are a lot of deer on the property.  He also mentioned that he sees many prairie chickens while he sits in his blind.  He is very appreciative of the whole prairie chicken project and the land that it has made available for hunting and wildlife conservation. 

Submitted by Lowell Carter

MARCH 2024 - WI DNR Greater Prairie Chicken Advisory Committee Update


January 2024 - Access Ability Wisconsin (AAW) - 2023 Photo Journal Report

AAW.Final DCCL Grant Photo Journal 2023.pdf

It is so much fun to have youth and their families experience releasing pheasants that we earn for giving our time to DCCL and the projects it supports. One of the projects is Hunter Education both of us are HE Instructors and have been for over a decade. 

Enjoy seeing how we as individuals support the DCCL mission and how AAW's mission and DCCL align in conservation and environment education.

Submitted by Steve and Monica Spaeni