, ,

DNR Action Could Lead to More Beaver Trapping; Shooting Of Doves

Agency Goes Against Advice From Former Employee; Wildlife Group

Joshua Mayer (CC-BY-SA)

Actions taken by the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board last week could lead to more beaver and otter trapping in the state. And, some animal advocates say they worry that more birds known as collared doves may be shot.

The board approved a dozen rule proposals recommended by voters at the annual statewide spring conservation hearings in April.

Included in the package is a plan to remove restrictions on beaver and otter trapping in the 3,900-acre Van Loon Wildlife Area in La Crosse County. Former DNR waterfowl biologist and wildlife manager John Wetzel, of Holmen, testified against the changes. He lives next to Van Loon, and said beaver dams in the area help manage thousands of acres of wetlands, which Wetzel says are inaccessible to DNR staff.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Wetzel said if many beaver are trapped, the wetlands would be harmed.

DNR officials responded the agency believes beavers are very common in the area, but the agency could later halt trapping if too many of the animals are killed. A DNR attorney said the removal of restrictions on trapping is allowed in the master plan for the wildlife area.

The rule package passed by the DNR board also established Eurasian collared doves as an unprotected species. The bird isn’t native to Wisconsin , and has been observed in 24 counties. The DNR says mourning dove hunters risked a violation of laws covering protected species, if a collared dove was shot. The agency says the change will make it easier to remove collared doves in a nuisance situation and allow hunter harvest of the exotic species.

In written comments to the DNR board, Melanie Weberg of the League of Humane Voters-Wisconsin Chapter asked that protected status for the collared doves be maintained. Weberg wrote that the battle over the establishment of mourning dove hunting about 16 years ago, “should be evidence that Wisconsin residents don’t want birds hunted.” She described doves as “beautiful, peaceful and pleasant to watch.”