UPDATE: Hunting and Trapping to be Allowed in Most State Parks Beginning in 2013

UPDATED Wednesday, December 12, 2012 --- 1:06 p.m.

From the Wisconsin DNR:

MADISON – Hunting and trapping will be allowed in most Wisconsin State Parks from Nov. 15 through Dec. 15 and from April 1 through the third spring turkey period, under a plan the State Natural Resources Board approved Tuesday. In addition deer hunting with a bow will be open Nov. 15 until the end of the archery season in early January.

The board modified and approved a plan the Department of Natural Resources presented to carry out a new state law – Act 168 known as the Sporting Heritage Act – the legislature approved last spring that expanded hunting and opened trapping on state park properties. The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2013, allows the DNR to prohibit hunting and trapping within 100 yards of a designated use area such as a campground, picnic area, or beach, or where there are public safety concerns, or to protect unique habitat.

The final proposal opens more than 62,000 acres, about two-thirds of state park properties, to some form of hunting and to trapping. The plan keeps some smaller parks and ones located in urban areas – such as Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee, Heritage Hill State Park in Green Bay and Governor Nelson State Park north of Madison – closed to hunting and trapping. It also allows only archery hunting at some parks that receive heavy year-round use, such as Peninsula State Park in Door County and High Cliff State Park on Lake Winnebago.

A determination to prohibit hunting and trapping in any other areas of a state park, a portion of a state park, or during certain time periods had to be approved by a majority of the Natural Resources Board.
The DNR received more than 2,000 comments on a draft proposal that was presented to the public at five listening sessions across the state. In response to the public comments, the DNR moved back the opening date on additional properties and closed additional areas around popular recreational trails on some properties to protect public safety.

More than 60 people spoke during the public participation portion of the board meeting. In response to concerns expressed, the board voted to further reduce the amount of time open to hunting and trapping, and also closed Governor Nelson State Park north of Madison to hunting and trapping.

The DNR plan proposed opening hunting and trapping from Oct. 15 through the Thursday before Memorial Day on most state properties, with an opening date of Nov. 15 on seven properties with a high volume of late fall visitors and horseback riders. The board amended the plan to open hunting and trapping on Nov. 15 on all properties and to close firearm hunting on Dec. 15, and then reopen hunting and trapping April 1 through the end of the third spring turkey hunting season, which ends in late April or early May.

The board voted to allow archery hunting to continue in state parks through the late archery season, which ends the first week of January and for archery hunting to continue at Buckhorn State Park near Necedah on its historical schedule of mid September through the end of the archery season.

The board also limited the types of traps used at state parks to those that would prevent catching dogs. A representative of the Wisconsin Trappers Association appeared during the public participation portion of the meeting and demonstrated the dog-safe traps and said they were the traps endorsed by the organization for use in parks.
The board also directed the DNR to begin work on an emergency rule that would prohibit shooting across state trails and trails within park boundaries.

For more information search the DNR website for "parks," and click on the link for "hunting and trapping in state parks 2012" or search "NRB" and click on the button for "view agendas" and select December 11-12 meeting and clink on the link for "Request adoption of plan for management of hunting, fishing, and trapping in Wisconsin State Parks in accordance with 2011 Wisconsin Act 168 [PDF]."


UPDATED Tuesday, December 11, 2012 --- 9:30 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board has approved a plan restricting hunting in state parks. It also limited the dates hunting will be allowed.

The board met Tuesday in Madison, where it heard from scores of residents upset about the new law opening up nearly all of Wisconsin's state parks and trails to hunting.

Because of public backlash in recent weeks the state Department of Natural Resources proposed a compromise for the board to consider. The DNR suggested making about 36 percent of state parkland off-limits for any hunting.

The board accepted that proposal, and went further by limiting the hunting seasons. Whereas the DNR proposed allowing hunting in the remaining parks between mid-October and late May, the board restricted hunting to one month in autumn and another in April.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press


UPDATED Tuesday, December 11, 2012 --- 5:21 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board is hearing from residents who oppose a new law opening up much of Wisconsin's state parks and trails to hunting.

The board held a public meeting Tuesday afternoon in Madison. More than 60 people signed up to speak about the measure.

The law prohibits hunting and setting of traps within 100 yards of trails and other designated areas. Still, some speakers say they are concerned about gunfire and traps in areas frequented by families and pets.

Other speakers say hunters already have enough access to hunting grounds.

The state Department of Natural Resources has proposed limiting the park areas where hunting can occur. The board is expected to vote on that proposal at the end of the meeting.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press


POSTED: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 --- 8:50 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Natural Resources Board will hold a public meeting where officials will reconsider a measure that would open all Wisconsin parks and trails to hunting.

The meeting Tuesday in Madison comes after lawmakers and state agencies received nearly 2,000 emails and letters, the vast majority opposing the so-called Sporting Heritage Bill.

Some people said they wouldn't bring their families to state parks if hunters were around. Others were concerned about whether their pets might step into animal traps.

In response to the backlash, the state Department of Natural Resources has recommended scaling back the measure to exempt about one-third of parks and trails.

The Natural Resources Board will meet to consider the DNR recommendation and also take oral and written comments from the public.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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