Eight potential deer hunting rule changes OK’d for public vote
Madison — With a full agenda of action items, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approved six questions on the deer hunting season framework that will go to the public during the annual spring hearings on Monday, April 13.
“This is a golden opportunity for the public to weigh in on big game hunting,” said Dr. Frederick Prehn, board chair.
The questions include (final wording may be modified):
1. Add 10 extra days to the gun deer hunting season;
2. Eliminate the antlerless-only holiday gun deer season if No. 1 is adopted;
3. Establish either a two-day or five-day period of no big game or small game hunting (except for waterfowl hunting) before the gun-deer season;
4. Reduce confusion by eliminating four farmland and central deer management zones. Deer tags would be either for public or private land in each county;
5. Open the crossbow season only from Oct. 1-31 and then again after the gun deer season. Crossbows would still be legal during gun season because they are a “lesser weapon.” Crossbows would still be able to be used by hunters over 60 and disabled hunters during the full archery season;
6. Require a gun license to be purchased during the gun deer season to shoot a buck EVEN if using a bow or crossbow;
In addition, board members added their individual questions including establishing a spring bear hunt; close crossbow season from Nov. 1 through the end of firearm season; and ban baiting of deer statewide.
The public may vote on these questions at the spring hearings April 13 either in person or online.
The board also adopted a 2020 bear quota of 3,650 bears, a new waterfowl management plan, and began a long process to begin rulemaking to limit contamination of surface, drinking and groundwater from perfluorooctanessulfonic acids (PFOS).
Prehn was re-elected chair of the NRB, which sets policy and approves natural resources regulations for the DNR.