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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 4-29-2015

by Mark Walters

Possible Changes for Wisconsin Outdoor Enthusiasts

Hello friends,

Each spring, on the second Monday in April, the Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Conservation Congress hold their annual spring meetings, which are held in all 72 counties in Wisconsin.

These meetings provide the opportunity for the public to vote on potential rule changes and modifications that quite often benefit those of us that enjoy the great outdoors.

This week I am going to briefly write on what I feel are some “potential” rule changes that are both interesting and what I feel you should know about.

Currently if you are hunting pheasant, ruffed grouse, Hungarian partridge, squirrels and rabbits you can only possess twice the daily bag limit in your cooler or freezer.

Should this rule be changed the possession limit would change to three times the daily bag limit. I voted in favor of this common sense rule change.

The elimination of trapping restriction hours. Currently it is illegal to check or set your traps between 8:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. There are trappers out there that with the current hours not allowed to check the traps are when they have the time to do it and maybe no other time of the day. I back the elimination of trapper restriction hours.

Antler point restrictions! The County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) had a question! Do you favor antler restriction rules? This would be a per county regulation and in simple terms. In some counties you would not be able to shoot bucks with small horns. I opposed this “potential” change in our current structure which allows bucks with an antler with over 3-inches to be harvested.

There are many people out there that love to harvest a buck and after sitting three hours or nine days would be very happy to harvest a 3-point buck which is also much better eating then a mature buck.

Here is a question, which my reply will perhaps get some good people mad at me!

Would you support bear hunting with dogs in Zone C, north of Highway 21?

Currently you may train bear hounds in Zone C up until a few days before the start of bear hunting season but after that, you have to hunt in another zone.

I have many friends that hunt bear with dogs. I respect this method of bear hunting.

If this rule change happens I will support it.

My opinion and vote is not to allow the rule change. Let the bait hunters have one zone, where they do not have to worry about dogs pushing bear off their bait or every other year, the season starting one week later so the hound hunters can go first.

Anyone that hunts Zone C is well aware that there are a lot of bear hunters in it, as it is our unit that is the closest to Wisconsin’s largest cities Unless you are going in deep or have private land baiting,it is a challenge due to so much competition.

Another “potential” rule change would allow bear hunting to begin on September 1st.

This would allow hunting black bear a few days earlier then our present rules allow and is pretty much common sense.

When the acorns start to fall, a large percentage of black bear that are hitting baits, leave the baits and work the “new food” which whether you are paying a guide or did your own baiting, is a major bummer.

There would be years where this rule change would benefit hunters and I do not see any negativity that would come with it.

Here is a no brainer! Currently, conservation wardens cannot enforce potential trespass violations. If someone is trespassing on your land, you have to call your county sheriffs office.

If this rule changes, a conservation warden would be able to enforce trespass violations. If a conservation warden can help stop a potential bank robber while on duty, why can’t he or she write a ticket for a trespass violation?

Here goes some more of my friends “bye” allowing a sandhill crane season. Have you ever gone west in the fall? They shoot swans and sandhill cranes out there and they do so because they manage the harvest.

Waterfowl hunters and farmers know a well managed sandhill crane harvest is going to have no significant bearing on the amount of sandhill cranes in Wisconsin (remember the uproar about the morning dove season/over blown waste of time and money).

There is several more topics that I could write about but I think I better upgrade my life insurance due to what I just wrote and leave well enough alone.

Just remember most of this is POTENTIAL, not guaranteed.

If you do not like what you read, did you go to the meetings? Sunset