Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board special meeting Aug. 27 on ruffed grouse season
The Natural Resources Board has called for a special meeting Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 11:30 a.m. via conference call as the first step in possibly approving an emergency rule that would close the ruffed grouse season on Jan. 5, 2020, instead of the regular closing date of Jan. 31, 2020.
Those attending the meeting in person should appear at Room G09 in the State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2) at 101 South Webster Street in Madison.
It’s a mildly complicate process. The NRB is first required to approve a “scope statement” before working on an emergency rule. The Tuesday, Aug. 27 meeting is to approve such a scope statement. That will then allow the NRB to take up the emergency rule at it’s Wednesday, Sept. 25 meeting in Mishicot. Emergency rules do not require a public hearing prior to adoption, according to Scott Karel, who tracks the DNR’s wildlife rule changes. The public hearing notice mentioned in the announcement for the Aug. 27 special meeting is for a companion permanent rule.
Some NRB members are pushing for a shorter grouse season because of possible lower grouse numbers caused by West Nile virus. A cadre of grouse hunters strongly disagree with the NRB’s push for a shorter season. They say the very few grouse are actually harvested in January, but by having a season open during the month hunters can get out and work their dogs. NRB members point to a 34% decline in grouse drumming from 2017 to 2018 while hunters point to a 41% increase in drumming counts from 2018 to 2019.