There are five listening sessions to gather feedback slated for late October and early November in Fitchburg, Eau Claire, West Allis, Appleton and Merrill. Plus there are online maps,

http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/hunt/ showing where the proposed hunting and trapping opportunities in parks will be. State Natural Resources Board members will conduct the listening sessions. The entire board will consider the plan at their December meeting in Madison.

The expanded hunting and trapping opportunities in parks stem from a new law approved by the Legislature this year. Act 168, known as the Sporting Heritage Bill, expands hunting and trapping in Wisconsin State Parks. Act 168 goes into effect Jan. 1, 2013. It allows the DNR to prohibit hunting and trapping within 100 yards of a state park designated use area such as a campground, picnic area, or beach.

A determination to prohibit hunting and trapping in any other areas of a state park, a portion of a state park, or during certain time periods must be approved by a majority of the Natural Resources Board, and can only be approved to protect public safety or unique natural resources such as fragile plant or animal habitat.

While Act 168 allows hunting when any season is open, the department is proposing that the board allow hunting in parks from October 15 through the Thursday prior to the Memorial Day weekend. The department will be seeking to keep some properties closed to hunting, such as Heritage Hill State Park in Green Bay and Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee. Both are within city limits.

Written comments can be sent by November 23 through U.S. mail to Wisconsin State Parks – Act 168, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or by email to DNRWisconsinParks@wisconsin.gov

The listening sessions will begin at 6:30 p.m. and attendees who would like to speak or submit written comments should register at the door at the session. Locations are:

  • Oct. 29, Fitchburg – Quality Inn and Suites, 2969 Cahill Main, with board members Preston Cole and Jane Wiley present.
  • Oct. 30, Eau Claire – Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC), 620 W. Clairemont Ave., with board members Dave Clausen and Jane Wiley present.
  • Nov. 5, Merrill – Merrill High School, 1201 N. Sales St., with board members Christine Thomas and Jane Wiley present.
  • Nov. 8, Appleton – The Bordini Center, Fox Valley Technical College Campus, 5 Systems Drive, with board members William Bruins, Terry Hilgenberg and Jane Wiley present.
  • Nov. 13, West Allis – Tommy Thompson Youth Center (State Fair Park), 640 S. 84th St., with board members Gregory Kazmierski and Jane Wiley present.

Image courtesy Wisconsin DNR

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