Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Deer hunt, concealed carry questions on hearing agenda

Madison Patricia Randolph has left Dane County and moved to
Marquette County, where she might run again.

Jayne Meyer has declared her candidacy for Randolph’s former
post in Dane County.

Bigger halls have been scheduled; voting processes have been
refined.

Deer hunters are talking about a 16-day deer season. They’re
also talking about getting rid of the October Zone T hunt, and
getting back the December Zone T hunt.

Sen. Dave Zien is fired up. He’s pushing a “get-out-and-vote”
message, already laying the groundwork for his concealed carry bill
in 2003.

Conservation Congress chairman Steve Oestreicher has trimmed his
moustache.

The second Monday in April must be getting closer.

Sure, the NCAA championship always takes place on the first
Monday in April in fact, it’s the reason the Conservation Congress
hearings were moved to the current calendar spot but, the real work
is done the second Monday in April. That’s when conservationists
from across the state get together in each of the state’s 72
counties, beginning at 7 p.m., to vote on proposed fish and game
rule changes and advisory questions.

This year, that date happens to be Monday, April 8 (please see a
list of meeting sites on page 5 Washington County residents should
note that their site has been changed and the correct site is
listed on page 5).

Want simpler trout regs?

Want a 50-inch muskie size limit on Green Bay?

How about yellow perch on Green Bay? Should the current
emergency rule that closes the season from May 1 through June 15
become permanent?

How about the proposed unattended line rule aimed at cleaning up
the fall “muskie shore fishing” issue?

Want a 16-day deer season? Which format?

Want concealed carry?

Should we hunt and trap timber wolves?

“I think we will have a good turnout,” Oestreicher said. “The
Natural Resources Board is asking hunters if they want a 16-day
deer season, and the congress is asking whether hunters want the
October Zone T season. We put on a question for Sen. Dave Zien’s
concealed carry bill and he is asking sportsmen to show up and vote
for that. I think it’ll be a good night.”

Oestreicher said chronic wasting disease (CWD) is on the minds
of many deer hunters. He expects the DNR to forward the latest
information on the state’s CWD plans to field biologists who will
be attending the spring hearings.

Oestreicher also expects the election of county delegates to go
smoothly, even in Dane County, where three years ago Randolph, an
animal rights activist, was elected in the waning hours of the Dane
County hearing. Sportsmen had gone home, but Randolph and her
supporters stuck around for the election. Randolph’s term expires
this April, but she has since moved from Dane County to Marquette
County. She has not declared an interest in running for a seat on
the Marquette County delegation, but Jayne Meyer is running for the
vacancy in Dane County. Meyer is the wife of former DNR secretary
George Meyer.

The first item of business on April 8 agenda will be the
election of county congress delegates. Second will be DNR-proposed
fish and wildlife rule changes.

The spring hearings are really two meetings in one, conducted
jointly by the DNR and the Conservation Congress. The congress was
created by the legislature in 1934 to advise the Natural Resources
Board on fish and wildlife management issues and policy. The
congress is made up of five delegates from each county. No other
state has a citizen conservation input group like Wisconsin’s
Conservation Congress, said Al Phelan, the DNR liaison to the
congress.

“Only rule proposals identified as statewide in nature will be
voted on in all counties,” Phelan said. “Local rule changes will be
presented only in affected counties, unless someone in the audience
outside of that area requests a vote. This moves the hearings along
more quickly while still allowing a resident of one area to vote on
an issue affecting a lake or wildlife area in another area.”

Here is a look at some of the proposed fish and wildlife rule
change questions:

Increasing the statewide bear population goal from 10,900 to
12,300 by increasing the Zone C (south of Hwy. 64 and Hwy. 8) from
800 to 1,200.

Modifying the deer archery registration rule to reduce the
overlap that exists with gun deer seasons.

Simplifying trout fishing regulations.

Changing the closed season for yellow perch on Lake Michigan to
May 1 through June 15.

Establishing sturgeon spearing hours from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30
p.m. on Lake Winnebago.

There also are a number of statewide wildlife advisory
questions, which include:

for a 16-day gun deer season.

Establishment of special antlerless deer seasons on private
lands as needed in specific units.

Establishment of an elk hunting season in Wisconsin.

Establishment of a long-term sturgeon harvest management plan on
Lake Winnebago.

Some of the Conservation Congress advisory questions, developed
by the study committees, include:

Support for legislation that would allow licensed citizens to
carry concealed weapons for the purpose of self-defense.

Elimination of October T Zone deer hunting seasons.

Management of the timber wolf as a fur-bearing predator after it
is removed as an endangered species.

Development of a comprehensive, coordinated, long-term energy
policy.

Earlier opening of duck hunting season, if allowed by the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service.

Those who can’t attend may send written comments on any of the
rule changes, if they are postmarked by April 8. Written comments
on fisheries rule changes should be addressed to Patrick Schmalz,
Bureau of Fisheries Management and Habitat Protection, PO Box 7921,
Madison WI, 53707-7921; comments on wildlife rule changes should be
addressed to Kurt Thiede, Bureau of Wildlife Management, PO Box
7921, Madison WI 53707-7921.

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