Dozens of people are slated to testify at the DNR Board meeting in Madison Tuesday, as the controversy over whether to allow more hunting and trapping in state parks comes to decision time.
State lawmakers and Gov. Walker demanded under Wisconsin Act 168 that more hunting and trapping be allowed in state parks. DNR meetings on a rule proposal produced a snowstorm of criticism and the DNR has pulled back its proposal somewhat. State parks official Peter Biermeier says staff looked over parks maps and factored in what people said at the meetings, "And we made changes to 20 state park maps and 14 ice age trail maps. reduced hunting in 2,500 acres."
The DNR also recommended pushing back the opening of hunting and trapping to November 15 on parts of seven state parks. The DNR says public safety at the parks remains the top priority. Milwaukee resident Charlie Dee helped create the Wisconsin Nordic Network and uses the parks for cross-country skiing and several other non-hunting or trapping types of recreation. Dee says the recent DNR changes are a positive step, but too many people would still be at risk of getting hurt, "They still leave bikers, hikers, etc. are very vulnerable to hunters."
Dee worries that the additional hunting and trapping in state parks will drive down park usage. He hopes the DNR board will especially clamp down on additional trapping, and that state lawmakers will repeal Act 168 next year. The law is supposed to take effect next month.