December 17, 2014

DNR looks for feedback on state park hunting rules

The Department of Natural Resources is looking for feedback on a plan to allow hunting and trapping in many state parks starting in 2013. Wisconsin State Parks Director Dan Schuller says it will allow hunting in many areas from October 15th through the Thursday before Memorial Day.

Hunting and trapping in state parks was authorized under a sporting heritage law passed by the Legislature last session. Schuller says the current proposal puts the focus on allowing those activities to go on during times when state parks are less populated, typically after the fall colors are gone and before the summer tourism season picks up.

Safety concerns have been raised about hunters being in recreational areas, although Schuller says the sport remains extremely safe and participants are well trained. He notes that the law allows the state to prevent hunting near camp sites, beaches, and picnic areas. While not required, he says the public is also encouraged to wear blaze orange if they will be in state parks where hunting will be permitted.

The DNR is hosting public comment sessions across the state through mid-November. Residents can also submit written comments directly to the Natural Resources Board through the agency’s website or by mail.

The Board is expected to take up a final version of the proposal in December, with lands being opened up to hunters as early as January 1st, 2013.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:08)