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Spring fish and wildlife rules hearings April 11

From the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

-- Citizens across Wisconsin can to share opinions April 11 on proposed hunting and fishing changes or present new ideas in managing the state's fish and wildlife resources.  They can also elect Conservation Congress delegates at the Annual Spring Fish and Wildlife Rule Hearings and Wisconsin Conservation Congress annual county meetings.

The hearings and meetings will be held starting at 7 p.m. at locations in every Wisconsin county. Department of Natural Resources staff representing fisheries, wildlife and law enforcement will be available to answer questions related to the spring hearing questionnaire.

The dual annual hearing and meeting is a keystone in Wisconsin's history of providing opportunity for citizens to share opinions on proposed changes or new ideas for managing fish and wildlife resources.

This year the questionnaire contains 85 questions. Thirty-eight of these questions are rule change proposals from the department, and the remainder of the questions are advisory questions proposed by the Wisconsin Conservation Congress or the Natural Resources Board.

During the DNR hearing portion, citizens will be allowed to vote on changes to fish and wildlife rules proposed by the DNR and the Natural Resources Board. All votes recorded are advisory only and are presented to the Natural Resources Board at their May meeting in a summary of public opinion.

Adjustments to waterfowl hunting zones have generated much discussion in recent seasons but federal rules only allow states to change zones every five years. The department is now asking for indications of preference on potential zone changes designed to provide additional late season duck hunting days in areas of later freeze-up while minimizing the loss of mid-fall hunting opportunities elsewhere

Proposals related to turkey hunting would extend each spring turkey hunting period by two days creating 7-day periods,  and renew the fall turkey hunting season extension in Turkey Management Zones 1 - 5.

Deer hunters will be learn about a proposal to eliminate the archery deer hunting season closure during the traditional November firearm deer hunt. An advisory question asks if citizens favor lowering the age at which anyone can use a crossbow from 65 to 55.

Other rules proposals would repeal blaze orange requirements in any future elk season unless a firearm deer season is open, and would add September hunting days to any future elk season. Five elk harvest tags will be issued to state license hunters when the population reaches 200. In response to the reappearance of cougars in Wisconsin, another question asks if landowners should be allowed to shoot cougars caught in the act of attacking a domestic animal.

More information about the meetings is available online. Find meeting locations here.

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