Legislators nearly kill Apostle Island deer hunt
Legislators would have swamped this year’s Apostle Islands October muzzleloader deer hunt, but for some quick thinking and fast working by DNR wildlife officials and National Park Service (NPS) personnel.
The Aposte Islands deer hunt will be in play this year, but hunters are going to have to cross a few extra hurdles for at least this year in order to overcome hasty legislation during the last session.
Here’s what happened – when the Assembly passed AB 99 and the Senate passed SB 75 to do away with earn-a-buck, both bills also included language that prevented any deer gun seasons prior to the Saturday before Thanksgiving, with the exception of the youth hunt, disable hunter deer hunt and learn-to-hunt programs. Legislators didn’t take the time to see if their swift action would debilitate any other hunting opporunities.
Once Gov. Scott Walker signed the bill into law, he effectively ended the Aposte Islands October deer hunt.
That wasn’t the intent of the legislation, but in the legislators’ haste to pass a bill, that’s what happened. This serves as a classic example of what can happen when the Legislature gets involved in setting every day fishing, hunting and trapping rules by law, rather than letting sportsmen, the Conservation Congress and the DNR work it out by Administrative Rule.
There are places where the Legislature should step in – say the dove season bill, the wolf season bill and, coming some day soon, the sandhill crane season bill. Other than that, the Legislature should leave rule changes to sportsmen, Conservation Congress and the DNR.
Luckily, the DNR and NPS is in the process of developing a “work around” process for this year that will most likely involve the NPS issuing “damage permits” to hunters.
Legislators will then have to clean up their mess during the next legislative session (2013).
Legislators – can you just do sportsmen a favor and not try to do us any more favors?
I'll have details in the next issue of Wisconsin Outdoor News on how hunters may acquire damage permits and access permits for the Apostle Islands muzzleloader deer hunt.