Madison – Hunters who obey the laws have nothing to worry about,
but those who run afoul of the law in Wisconsin, or 30 other
states, now have something new to think about: the Interstate
Wildlife Violator Compact.
Wisconsin became a member of the compact on April 15, which
means that people who lose their license in other states for
hunting, fishing and trapping violations also will lose their
privileges in Wisconsin. And, anyone who loses their licenses here
at home will not be able to buy a license in 30 other states.
In addition, if someone is convicted of a violation in another
state but fails to pay the fine, Wisconsin can revoke his or her
licenses until the fine is paid.
“Violators who have had their hunting, fishing or trapping
privileges revoked or suspended will no longer be able to escape
the consequences of their actions by engaging in those activities
in a neighboring member state,” said DNR chief warden, Randy Stark.
“Their court-imposed revocation will follow them and will be in
force in all compact states.”
Kristin Turner, wildlife violator compact coordinator in the
DNR’s Bureau of Customer Service and Licensing, has been contacting
the clerk of court in each county to establish the system where
they will send notices to the DNR to update the database.
“When someone commits a wildlife-related violation and either
they fail to pay their citation or their license privileges are
revoked, then the revocation is entered into the database and each
state determines whether to accept that revocation based on its
laws,” Turner said. “We accept all revocations that are entered
into the database as of April 15, 2008 or after.”
If the notice is a failure to pay fines, the DNR will send a
letter notifying the person that if he or she does not respond,
then the DNR will revoke license privileges until the fine is
When a court revokes a license the person is informed through
the court proceedings.
Turner goes through the database each week and adds the new
convictions to the database as soon as they are received from other
One of the first “compact” cases this summer, Turner said, took
place when some fishermen from Wisconsin were fishing on Lake Erie
and lost their license privileges due to violations.
According to the Ohio DNR, seven Wisconsin men paid more than
$4,600 in fines in June, with two of the men spending three days in
jail, for overbagging walleyes from Lake Erie.
The Ohio DNR said that investigators observed a group of anglers
“double tripping,” taking multiple daily limits of walleyes during
the same 24-hour period. An investigation found that the group had
67 walleyes over the legal limit.
Eventually Ohio’s Ottawa County Municipal Court Judge Frederick
Haney found the seven men guilty of multiple counts of poaching
walleyes. They were ordered to pay $50 in restitution for each
walleye over the limit.
The Ohio DNR reported that:
€ Thad B. Burkette, 32, of Hartford, Travis J. Sonnentag, 29, of
Ripon, and Jeff Steinman, 32, of Slinger, were each convicted of
double tripping walleyes for two days (each were 12 walleyes over
the limit). Each was fined $350, plus court costs, and was ordered
to pay $600 in restitution for the illegal fish ($50 per fish).
Their fishing licenses were revoked for 21/2 years. Burkette and
Sonnentag also received 40-day jail sentences (37 days suspended).
Steinman has to do 50 hours of community service.
€ Patrick J. Mann, 50, of Fond du Lac, Carey T. Slater, 33, of
Fond du Lac, Thomas A. Slater, 60, of Eden, and Chad Meinberg, 33,
of Oakfield, were each convicted of double tripping on walleyes
(one day, each were six fish over limit). They were each fined
$150, plus court costs, and had to pay $300 in restitution for the
illegal fish ($50 per fish). Ten-day jail sentences for each were
suspended. Their fishing licenses were revoked for one year.
Meinberg entered not guilty pleas to charges of double tripping
a second day and taking seven fish over the limit.
The fishermen who had their fishing licenses revoked in Ohio
have now also had their fishing licenses revoked in Wisconsin
because the state is a member of the violators’ compact.
Besides Wisconsin, the states participating in the compact
include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia,
Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland,
Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New
Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota,
Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
“The Wildlife Violator Compact creates a deterrent effect, and
is another enforcement tool that creates compliance with the laws
designed to protect the wildlife resources we all own and care so
deeply about,” Stark said.
“The compact, which now includes most all states in the country,
is also a reflection of how much people across the country care
about our wildlife resources and the public intolerance of those
who choose to violate fish and game laws. We are members of the
compact because of the leadership of the hunting community and
others who initiated and supported the legislation necessary to
become a member of the compact.”