The D-N-R Board has scaled back a plan to allow hunting and trapping in more Wisconsin state parks, in a vote that could anger state lawmakers.
The legislature quietly passed a bill this year to expand hunting and trapping in state parks. Governor Walker endorsed the measure. but DNR rules to implement the law triggered a flood of opposition at public meetings this fall, mainly from other users of the parks. Critics of the hunting expansion far outnumbered supporters during four hours of testimony at the DNR Board yesterday. The board then voted to scale back the plan to basically just allow hunting in parks from November 15 to December 15, and during April. The board also wants to limit the type of traps allowed. Board chairman Dave Clausen
says the panel was concerned for public safety.
"We became aware through public hearings just how many people use these parks during the rest of the year," he says.
Bob Richards of the Door County Silent Sports Alliance is happy the hunting plan has been scaled back.
"There's a major safety factor involved, and by what they've done today, at least for now, it's going to be greatly reduced," he says.
But Bob Welch of the Hunters Rights Coalition says the DNR Board has overstepped its authority.
"Clearly the board ignored the will of the legislature and it's actionable, I guess you'd say," Welch says.
Welch is a former Republican state lawmaker. He says he has to talk with the hunting groups he represents before commenting on what he'll ask January's GOP-controlled legislature to do about the hunting in state parks issue.