Amendment language different in Assembly

Madison Sportsmen attending three upcoming Assembly hearings on
the “right to hunt, fish and trap” bill will see different language
than what passed in the Senate version of that bill.

“We’re suspicious of the Senate language on Joint Resolution 1,”
said Scott Loomans, an assistant to Rep. DuWayne Johnsrud
(R-Eastman).

“It started out the same, but when it reached the Senate, (Sen.
Fred) Risser added an amendment to ban trapping. So, the Senate
sanitized its version of the bill so even the most anti-gun member
in the Senate could vote for it,” he said.

The Senate version of the bill includes the language that
hunting, fishing and trapping should be “managed for public good.”
Loomans said that phrase has some of the lawyers worried.

“The Assembly’s language reads individuals have the right to
fish, hunt and trap, subject only to reasonable restrictions as
prescribed by law.’ Our thinking is that reasonable restriction’ is
a fish and game law set by the DNR. Banning hunting is not a
reasonable restriction,” Loomans said.

“A reasonable restriction might be a special size limit for
muskies, but not a ban on fishing muskies. Our language is tighter
right now than the Senate’s,” he said.

Rep. Scott Gunderson (R-Waterford) is a member of the Assembly
Natural Resources Committee. He said seven states have enacted a
constitutional amendment protecting hunting, fishing and trapping.
Of those seven, four states Alabama, Minnesota, North Dakota and
Virginia passed those amendments in the past five years.

“The plain truth is the people and groups who disagree with our
sporting heritage are becoming more active than ever in their
attempts to restrict our hunting, fishing and trapping rights,”
Gunderson said. “We must protect the outdoor traditions that we all
believe in.”

Gunderson does not trust the Senate version of the bill.

“Because there is no definition in state law of public good,’ I
believe this language would create a loophole, which would
unintentionally allow government bureaucrats and the courts to make
decisions regarding our rights. That’s why we have to restore the
proper language in the Assembly version of this bill,” he said.

The Assembly Natural Resources Committee has scheduled three
hearings for this bill. Those hearing dates are:

March 28, 1:30 p.m., Abbotsford High School, 307 North 4th Ave.,
Abbotsford.

April 4, 11 a.m., Raymond Town Hall, 2255 South 76th St.,
Franksville.

April 11, 10 a.m., Room 417 North, State Capitol.

Other committee hearings

The Assembly Committee on Natural Resources will also have a
hearing April 2 beginning at 11 a.m. in Room 417 North of the State
Capitol. This hearing will be on the Deer 2000 seasons framework
recommendations and the wildlife damage control program.

“If anyone has anything they want to say about deer hunting,
that’s the one to go to,” Loomans said.

Johnsrud, the committee chairman, has shown an interest in
creating a 16-day deer season and banning baiting for deer. Both of
those topics, along with December Zone T deer hunts in northern
Wisconsin, are going to be on the table.

“We’re being contacted by snowmobilers about December antlerless
hunts, we’re hearing from bowhunters who want the four days in
November restored and we’re hearing from deer hunters who want a
longer gun season,” he said.

Johnsrud also has reserved April 25 as another hearing date,
but, as of press time, Loomans was not sure just which bills would
be scheduled for hearing on that date.

“We have a bill on possibly changing the preference points
system on Class A bear permits regarding young hunters, Rep. (Mark)
Pettis (R-Hertel) has one on allowing resident seniors to hunt with
crossbow and DuWayne has one we’re calling the future of hunting
and fishing bill,” Loomans said.

Right now, Johnsrud’s “future of hunting bill” (labeled LRB
2307) would:

Allow hunter safety graduates to use graduate certificate in
place of hunter’s choice permit to shoot antlerless deer during the
first deer season they are old enough to hunt. Hunter safety
graduates can use the certificate during the year that they take
the course, but some miss this opportunity because they are not old
enough to hunt until after the deer season.

Allow the DNR to work with the International Hunter Education
Association to compile a list of safety programs that would be
recognized in Wisconsin as meeting hunter education
requirements.

Allow hunter education graduates to hunt with an adult who is
not that person’s legal guardian.

Authorizes the DNR to use seized and confiscated firearms or
other equipment for safety education or skills programs.

Allow people who are under age 12 to target shoot with adult
supervision.

Technical correction to give school administrators the ability
to allow firearms in schools for hunter education courses.

Allow proceeds from the sale of furbearer pelts that are
recovered from the field by DNR personnel to be credited to the
trapper education program. These pelts are currently prepared in
education classes and proceeds are deposited into the DNR general
account.

Enter Wisconsin into an agreement that already exists between
several states to allow youth hunters from one state to buy small
game licenses in another state at the resident rate.

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