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Online chats help hunters prepare for gun deer season

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is ramping up social media to connect with the public on the excitement and traditions of the state's nine-day gun deer season. We invite seasoned hunters, new hunters, and those interested in learning more about hunting in Wisconsin to take part in online chats, a new wildlife-focused blog, Facebook, and a "tweet-along" with DNR conservation wardens. The aim is to help the public prepare for the hunt, share traditions, ask experts questions and share stories.

The first forums kick off Nov. 11 and run through the end of the nine-day gun deer season. Here's a list:

• Nov 13, 11:30 a.m., Women In Hunting: Join Dr. Christine Thomas, Dean of the College of Natural Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and founder of "Becoming an Outdoors-Woman," and Keith Warnke, DNR hunting and shooting sports coordinator, to discuss the important role of women in hunting and how women can get involved.

• Nov 14, 11:30 a.m., Get ready for the hunt: Join Kevin Wallenfang, DNR Big Game Ecologist; Scott Loomans, DNR Wildlife Regulations Specialist; and Tom Van Haren, DNR conservation warden, to discuss pre-season preparation questions such as regulation changes, deer season forecast, and safety.

• Nov 15, 11:30 a.m., Need a place to hunt?: Join representatives from the DNR's Managed Forest Law, Voluntary Public Access and Public Lands programs to learn about the thousands upon thousands of private and public acres of prime habitat open for public hunting.

• Nov 16, 11:30 a.m., Safe and legal, the keys to a successful hunt: Join DNR conservation wardens Tom Van Haren and Todd Schaller, along with DNR wildlife regulations specialist, Scott Loomans, to ask last-minute safety and deer regulations questions before heading to the field.