Spring hearings draw a crowd
BY ROGER SABOTA
Special to the Star Journal
We should be getting used to confusing fishing regulations. Again, this year the experimental panfish regulations that were established last year are in effect on 10 lakes in Oneida County. In general, similar to last year, 25 panfish may be kept per day but on some specific lakes the regulations are somewhat different.
For example on Boom-Rhinelander Chain (Rhinelander flowage from Bridge Road downstream to the dam, Boom Lake, Bass Lake, Thunder Lake and Lake Creek upstream to Forest Lane, 25 panfish can be kept per day. During May and June (spawning season) only 15 panfish may be kept per day but no more than five of any one species.
On four lakes, Carrol, Gilman, Madeline and Moen Chain, like last year 25 panfish may be kept per day but no more than 10 of any one species.
On Indian Lake, Oneida Lake and Squaw Lake a total of 15 panfish may be kept per day but no more than five of any one species.
A complete list of special regulations for specific lakes by county can be found in the 2017-2018 fishing regulations booklet on page 28. The same information can be found online at the DNR’s website, dnr.wi.gov.
Be sure to pay close attention to the signs posted at public boat landings.
Another confusing situation has come to light over baiting and feeding of deer. An incident took place in Washburn County where there is a difference of opinion between the Department of Natural Resources and a state appellate judge over whether the situation was considered baiting or feeding if hunting was not involved. The judge’s ruling does not coincide with the DNR rule. My only comment is that this has created more confusion with the baiting and feeding issue leaving the public wondering what will happen next.
Concerning turkey hunting, last weekend the youth hunt for turkeys took place. The first regular season for turkeys started this past Wednesday.
The Department of Natural Resources annual spring fish and wildlife public hearing and the Wisconsin Conservation Congress annual spring county conservation meeting (referred to as the Spring Hearings) were held April 10. A total of 88 questions were provided for citizens to vote on; 39 were rule changes and advisory questions generated by the DNR and 49 were Conservation Congress spring hearing resolutions.
The turnout for Oneida County was very good. Oneida County was one of 13 in the state with 102 interested persons attending. Statewide, more than 5,000 people attended the spring hearings.
Of course the population of each county varies dramatically therefore so does the number of persons interested in voicing their interest and concern for many issues that relate to managing our resources.
In Oneida County there were only five of the 88 questions for which the majority of those in attendance voted no. One of the no votes in part asked if a person was in favor of establishing a hook and line harvest tag for muskellunge which would limit the harvest of muskies to one per year. The results for all counties for all 88 questions can now be found online at dnr.wi.gov, key word spring hearing.
This past Tuesday a meeting of the County Deer Advisory Committee (CDAC) for Oneida County was held as a follow-up to the March 23 CDAC meeting. At that time the preliminary deer harvest goals were set for Oneida County. Following the March meeting the information was provided on the DNR web site in the form of a survey that citizens were encouraged to participate in and comment on the harvest goals that had been set.
It was encouraging to see that 157 interested citizens participated by offering their opinions on the deer harvest goals that had been set. All of the comments that were posted for Oneida County can be found online at cdacfeedback. There were some good ideas that were offered. The meeting held this past Tuesday was attended by only a few interested citizens who had the opportunity to speak if they chose. Jeremy Holtz, DNR wildlife biologist, mentioned that they feel that the deer herd seems to be in good shape after a mild winter and they are seeing a good crop of fawns.
After discussion the committee voted to stay with the quota they had set for the deer harvest.
I would like to congratulate and thank Dr. Christine Thomas, dean of the College of Natural Resources at UW-Stevens Point who is being inducted into the Conservation Hall of Fame this month. She has been dean, associate dean or interim dean at UW-Stevens Point for nearly 20 years. She was also a professor at UW-Stevens Point and has served on the Natural Resources Board for eleven years as well as many other governing boards of organizations promoting outdoor activities.
This honor is Wisconsin’s way of thanking her for her tireless work for Wisconsin’s natural resources and the people of Wisconsin. Thomas and two others will be inducted into the Conservation Hall of Fame April 24 which will expand the membership of this elite group to 91.
Longtime Northwoods outdoor enthusiast Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.