Outdoor Notebook: Conservation Congress public hearing scheduled for Tuesday
Tuesday evening at 7 p.m., the Conservation Congress and the Department of Natural Resources Annual Spring Fish and Wildlife Public Hearing will be called to order in each county of Wisconsin. The meeting in Oneida County shall be held at James Williams Middle School. The Hearing Examiner in Oneida County will be DNR Warden, Jim Jung.
It is important to have good attendance so that rule changes will reflect the desires of the majority of outdoorsmen and ladies who enjoy our Natural Resources. During the meeting, 58 different proposals will be considered and voted upon.
The first item to be considered will be a question asking if the state of Wisconsin should allow motor trolling statewide. The question asks: “Do you favor a compromise which would allow trolling with one ‘line’ (ie.. hook, bait, or lure) per angler in the 17 counties which are listed in the questionnaire (except the 31 waters already open to trolling) and would allow trolling with three ‘lines’ per angler in the other 55 counties?” This topic will generate a lengthy discussion.
Wildlife Management staff will provide information and answer questions from the public regarding the implementation of the new deer hunting rules and how they will affect hunting opportunities in 2014 and beyond. In addition, they will present current herd information for the county and provide opportunity for public comment regarding the 2014 antlerless deer quotas.
Twenty questions relate to changes in the management of a variety of fish species. Some of these would change the date for different seasons.
Another question asks: “Would you support legislation to authorize banning deer baiting and feeding 10 days before the nine-day gun-deer season?”
The second portion of the meeting reflects questions posed by the executive council of the Conservation Congress.
A proposal that has drawn questions asks if there is support to change the process of registration of deer. This would result in registration of deer in person, by phone or online after the 2014 season. Registration during the 2014 season must still be done in person.
The Wisconsin DNR has designed a pamphlet to provide information about the Deer Hunting Rule Changes for 2014.
In the past, anyone over the age of 55 could hunt with a crossbow using their regular archery tag. Beginning in 2014, a hunter of any age must purchase a crossbow license if they wish to hunt with a crossbow. A regular archery license in 2014 does not permit a hunter to use a crossbow.
The regular deer hunting season will begin Nov. 22 and end Nov. 30. The muzzleloader season will run from Dec. 1 to Dec. 10 statewide.
The archery and crossbow deer seasons will begin Sept. 13 and terminate Jan. 14. The youth gun-hunt will be Oct. 11 and 12 statewide. Note that the gun season is late in the month of November. The December antlerless-only season will be held from Dec. 11 to Dec. 14. This season will only be in the Central Farmland and the Central Forest zone units.
Bonus buck opportunities will be offered in the southern Farmland Zone Unit only.
The former boundaries of most Deer Management Units have been eliminated. County boundaries will designate most units in 2014 and beyond. Be sure you know where county boundaries are located before you start hunting.
Paul Smith of the Journal Sentinel wrote that stations across northern Wisconsin showed an average Winter Severity Index of 143 through the end of March, according to the DNR. Readings of 100 or more are considered very severe. Greg Kessler, DNR wildlife biologist in Brule said that it is common to lose five percent of the deer herd to winter stress in a normal year and in severe winters the number can exceed 30 percent. He feels however that “it might not be as bad as expected.”
He also said, “The most critical time is always the last month or so.”
I would encourage you to attend the meeting Monday evening and ask questions to increase your understanding of the new regulations.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors personality Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.