Visitors to Wisconsin State Parks may encounter hunters or trappers beginning today through December 15th. A new state law that went into effect this year allows those activities in open areas of parks. It’s the responsibility of individual hunters to know what areas within a park are open to hunting and which areas are closed.
Currently open hunting seasons include archery deer, pheasant, turkey, grouse and small game such as rabbit and squirrel. Additional seasons include hunting for raccoon, fox, coyote and wolf in the remaining wolf harvest zone that is open. Park properties are also open for trapping, primarily for raccoon.
The Legislature approved the Sporting Heritage Bill in 2012, action intended to expand outdoor recreation opportunities and make it easier for people to participate in hunting, trapping and fishing. The new law also provided first-time hunters, anglers and trappers discounts on licenses; provided incentives for people who recruit others to buy licenses; and increased safety education.
The state Natural Resources Board acted to limit hunting in the spring from April 1 through the Tuesday nearest May 3. In the fall, gun and archery hunting and trapping are allowed in the open areas of the property from November15th through December 15th, with archery hunting permitted through the Sunday nearest January 6th.
Maps indicating closed and open areas are available on the DNR website, at park offices, and they will be posted at parking areas and other locations within parks.