January 7, 2014
EDITOR'S ADVISORY; CORRECTION: This news release has been corrected to indicate these rules would allow hunting dogs actively engaged in hunting to be off on any state park property open to hunting, expanded from the three state parks where it was previously allowed.
MADISON - The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on permanent rules for hunting and trapping on Wisconsin State Park properties at a series of upcoming public hearings.
2011 ACT 168, signed into law in April 2012, established that hunting and trapping activities are generally allowed on state park properties effective Jan. 1 2013. The Department of Natural Resources implemented the first year under Act 168 using its authority to set emergency rules, which were approved by the State Natural Resources Board in December 2012.
Under its authority to limit hunting and trapping for safety reasons under Act 168 the board set the open hunting and trapping seasons in state parks from Nov. 15 through Dec. 15 and from April 1 through the third spring turkey period. In addition deer hunting with a bow will be open Nov. 15 until the end of the archery season in early January. Act 168 gave the DNR the authority to prohibit hunting and trapping within 100 yards of a designated use area such as a campground, picnic area, or beach, where there are public safety concerns, or to protect unique habitat.
The board also limited the types of traps used at state parks to those that would prevent catching dogs and prevented shooting across trails in areas that are not open to hunting.
The department is not proposing new season dates or modifications to periods when hunting and trapping are allowed in state parks that would be different from what was implemented in December, 2012.
The permanent rules will include all of the same hunting and trapping rules included in the emergency rules and will include some additional changes such as eliminating the spring state park turkey management zones [PDF], and allowing hunting dogs to be off leash for dogs actively engaged to be expanded from the three state parks where it was previously allowed to any state park property open to hunting. The rules will also eliminate language that is no longer needed, simplify existing regulations, and create new rules related to safety.
"With turkey hunting now allowed on most state park properties there is no longer a need for individual state park turkey management zones," says Scott Loomans, DNR wildlife regulations specialist.
Prior to Act 168, 17 state park properties had already allowed spring turkey hunting by permit. Each of these properties had been listed under hunting regulations as separate turkey management zones. Under the proposed permanent rules, those state park turkey zones will be eliminated and a park property will become part of the surrounding zone in which it is located.
The proposed rule and fiscal estimate may be reviewed and comments electronically submitted through the Wisconsin Administrative Rules website [adminrules.wisconsin.gov] (exit DNR). Written comments on the proposed rule may be submitted via U.S. mail to Mr. Scott Loomans, Department of Natural Resources, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments may be submitted until Jan. 24, 2014.
The hearings will all begin at 6 p.m. and be held on the following dates at the locations listed:
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Loomans 608-225-9440; Peter Biermeier, state park recreation, planning and development chief, 608-264-6136; or Paul Holtan, state parks public affairs manager, 608-267-7517