Contact(s): George Althoff, DNR spokesperson, 608-267-2773 or Kari Lee-Zimmermann, DNR/Conservation Congress liaison, 608-266-0580
MADISON - People interested in natural resources management in Wisconsin have an opportunity to provide their input by non-binding vote and testimony on proposed rule changes and advisory questions relating to fish and wildlife management at the 2016 spring wildlife and fisheries rules hearings. The hearings will be held in each county [PDF] beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 11.
Due to changes in process for establishing new administrative rules, this year the Department of Natural Resources is only recommending a limited number of rule change proposals. There are eight statewide wildlife questions and two statewide fisheries questions, as well as advisory questions from the state Natural Resources Board and Wisconsin Conservation Congress.
The complete 2016 spring rules hearings questionnaire [PDF] is available for review on the DNR website by searching keywords "spring hearings" and at local DNR service centers. Individuals without internet access may be able to view the online questionnaire by visiting their local library.
County residents also have the option to run for a seat on the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, or elect other delegates from their county to represent their county views regarding natural resources on the Conservation Congress. The Wisconsin Conservation Congress is officially recognized as the only advisory body in the state where citizens elect delegates to represent their interests on natural resources issues on a local and statewide level to the Natural Resources Board and the Department of Natural Resources.
Individuals will also have the opportunity to bring forth new conservation ideas or issues to the attention of the Conservation Congress through the citizen resolution process.
Two of the statewide wildlife questions relate to allowing the unattended, overnight placement of portable stands and blinds on department owned and managed lands located north of State Hwy. 64. Two questions relate to issuing antlerless deer hunting permits on a first-come, first-served basis as is currently done or through a random drawing, which would include an application deadline and preference categories for people who are unsuccessful in previous drawings. Two questions relate to the recently adopted Beaver Management Plan and whether the beaver and otter season should be shortened to meet management goals. Another question would establish that legal hours for taking game be referred to as "shooting hours" rather than "hunting hours" in regulations.
The two statewide fisheries questions both relate to establishing a process separate from spring hearings that would allow for more quickly making changes to the most common or "statewide" regulation for a specific fish species on inland waters to more quickly respond to changing conditions or fish consumption advisories.
Meeting results, along with written comments on the evening's questions and DNR recommendations are used to advise the state Natural Resources Board. Votes are non-binding and are presented to the Natural Resources Board as advisory.