Board approves reduced plan for state park hunting and trapping – JSOnline

With these “taking public input” meetings such as this, at which boards hear over four hours of testimony against such issues, and are ultimately ignored, one wonders just what the purpose of these  public hearings are.

Responding to significant public opposition to Act 168, the Natural Resources Board on Tuesday approved a drastically reduced plan for hunting and trapping in Wisconsin state parks and trails.

The board voted to allow hunting and trapping on most state park and trail properties from:

– Nov. 15 to Dec. 15.

– For the first three turkey hunting periods in April (three weeks).

– Archery hunting for deer would be allowed from Nov. 15 through the end of the late archery season (the first Sunday in January).

In addition, the board approved measures to allow only dog-proof traps and to prohibit shooting across trails.

Act 168, also known as the Sporting Heritage Act, opened all state park and trail properties to hunting and trapping. The legislation was approved in April by large margins in the Senate and Assembly. The law goes into effect Jan. 1.

The law allowed the Natural Resources Board to close state park and trail properties to hunting and trapping to protect public safety or unique animals and plants.

The DNR was charged with developing an implementation plan for the legislation. It proposed a hunting and trapping season from Oct. 15 to late May on 64% of the acreage in the state park and trail system.

But public comments on the plan were overwhelmingly negative. Four hours of testimony at Tuesday’s meeting were dominated by opponents to the plan.

“The people have spoken,” said board member William Bruins.

Bruins offered a motion that would have resulted in no new hunting and trapping on state parks and trails. Bruins argued that, given public opposition to hunting and trapping in state parks, perhaps the department should focus its attention on increasing opportunity on other state lands.

It was defeated by a 4 to 3 vote.

Board member Terry Hilgenberg then made the motion to accept the basic DNR plan but curtail the length of the open season.

The board supported the reduced framework by a 7-0 vote.

We’ll have more details of the meeting as well as reaction to the vote in the Wednesday edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Board approves reduced plan for state park hunting and trapping – JSOnline.

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