Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Sunday, January 29th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Uncased gun bill, relaxed ‘group’ rules are proposed

Madison – If the Assembly follows the Senate’s lead, big-game
and small-game hunters may be able to carry uncased and unloaded
long guns (bows and crossbows are included) in vehicles, and gun
deer hunters may wait up to an hour for a friend to show up and tag
a deer.

Senate Bill 222 would relax group deer-hunting and gun case laws
in several respects. SB-222 was introduced by Sen. Russ Decker,
D-Weston, and cleared the Senate’s Committee on Transportation,
Tourism, Forestry and Natural Resources on Feb. 11. The full Senate
passed SB-222 during a floor vote on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

One provision that had been included in SB-222 was removed
during Senate action. Decker had asked that group bowhunting for
antlerless deer be included in the bill, but that provision was
rejected.

Currently, group bowhunting for any sex of deer is not
allowed.

Uncased guns

If the Senate’s version of SB-222 is eventually passed by the
Assembly and then signed by Gov. Jim Doyle, uncased and unloaded
long guns would be allowed in vehicles in two ways – in a
stationary vehicle at any time, or in a moving vehicle during any
open season, with the “moving vehicle” privilege being expanded
during the nine-day gun deer season.

SB-222 would:

€ Allow a strung bow or crossbow to be uncased in or on a
stationary or moving vehicle, as long as the bow or crossbow is not
armed with an arrow or bolt;

€ Allow the placement of an uncased, unloaded firearm in or on a
stationary or unoccupied motor vehicle, as long as the firearm is
at least 26 inches in length;

€ Allow unloaded, uncased firearms to be transported in or on
vehicles during any open hunting season as long as the person has a
license to hunt, as long as the firearm is 26 inches or longer, it
is no earlier than 60 minutes before sunrise or no later than 60
minutes after sunset, and while the hunter is traveling to or from
a place to hunt.

If an uncased long gun is being transported in a vehicle during
most hunting seasons, it will have to be in the rear of the vehicle
away from passengers, or in a locked trunk, or in the bed of a
truck (no passengers). However, there is an exception allowed
during the nine-day guns season when unloaded/uncased firearms may
be anywhere in the vehicle; for instance, hunters could get into
the back of a pickup after a deer drive and hold their uncased and
unloaded long guns.

“Hunters frequently make short trips to get to a different
hunting spot or take a deer back to camp. It’s just not necessary
to put an unloaded rifle or bow in a case for a move over to a new
hunting spot,” Decker said.

“When I was putting this bill together, I spoke to numerous
conservation wardens from states that don’t require hunters to case
their guns and bows. They said hunters have proven to be safe and
responsible,” he said.

Group deer hunting

Under the group deer-hunting rules, this bill would:

€ Eliminate the requirement that members of a group gun
deer-hunting party be in voice or visual contact with each
other;

€ A group member will have one hour in which to tag a deer shot
by another member of the group;

€ Eliminate the requirement that a hunter who kills a deer may
not leave it unattended between the time it is killed and another
group member tags the deer;

€ Allow a deer to be field-dressed while the hunter who kills
the deer (or another hunter in the group) waits for a person to
show up and tag the deer.

Decker said both parts of the bill are supported by the
Wisconsin Professional Police Association, the Wisconsin Bear
Hunters Association, The U.S. Sportsmen Alliance, the Wisconsin
Chapter of Safari Club International and the Hunters Rights
Coalition.

The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters opposes the
bill.

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