November 1, 2014

Conservation Congress holds spring hearings

Sporting enthusiasts and nature lovers turned out in large numbers Monday night to weigh in on issues ranging from allowing hunting in state parks to the use of dogs to help track wolves. Those issues were among about 100 questions presented at Conservation Congress hearings held across Wisconsin in all 72 counties.

The original state park hunting plan would have been for up to seven months. But in December, the Natural Resources Board voted to limit hunting and trapping to one month in the spring and one month in the fall after recreational park users feared that they and their children would have to dodge bullets on the playgrounds and trails. Some hunters supported the longer season, saying that animal populations in the parks need to be controlled.

Spirited debates also took place over a plan to let wolf hunters use up to six dogs at a time to track prey during a limited portion of the season. The issue has already resulted in a lawsuit that blocked the use of dogs during the wolf hunt last year. The DNR is currently reexamining the issue.

Results from the voting are expected later this week.