Posted on

Voting results released from 2024 DNR/WCC spring meetings

Voting results released from 2024 DNR/WCC spring meetings Voting results released from 2024 DNR/WCC spring meetings

Voters who reside in Taylor County gave yes votes to all but eight of the 49 questions posed to them in the 2024 DNR spring hearing and Wisconsin Conservation Congress voting process in early April. There was one tie vote.

More than 18,800 people responded to the 2024 spring hearing questionnaire either in person April 8 or online April 10-13. Included in those were 108 respondents who indicated they reside in Taylor County and 419 who said they recreate in Taylor County.

The full results and questions are available on the DNR website at

“I’m really pleased to see the amount of participation we had for this year’s spring hearings,” said Wisconsin Conservation Congress chair Rob Bohmann. “There were a lot of different topics and issues included, and I’m very happy with the input and public discussions we had both in person and online this year. It tells me the public is interested in being engaged in resource management in Wisconsin and it clearly matters to them. It’s great to see.”

The annual spring hearing is an opportunity for the public to provide input on a wide array of natural resources-related proposed rule change questions presented by the DNR and advisory questions presented by the Conservation Congress. The public also has the opportunity to provide input on resolutions that members of the public previously submitted.

Public input received through this process is advisory to Natural Resources Board members, department staff and anyone working on these issues.

Results from the public input will be considered by the Conservation Congress at their annual convention in May, and will be forwarded to the DNR and Natural Resources Board in June.

DNR county highlights

There were just 12 advisory questions submitted by the Department of Natural Resources on this year’s agenda and all 12 drew positive responses from Taylor County voters.

Among the questions submitted by fisheries management:

 Taylor County residents were in favor 50-23 and recreators were in favor 267-60 of the DNR working with the Conservation Congress to develop an administrative pathway to allow for faster regulation changes when slow growth of a particular fish species has been documented or when reverting to the default or statewide regulation. It is thought this might be helpful in addressing immediate conservation needs, such as a declining walleye population where natural production is found to be failing. The item was approved overall 10,579-1,755.

 Taylor County residents approved 39-16 and recreators approved 181-90 changing the general open season for trout in inland streams, springs and spring ponds to the first Saturday in April through Oct. 15. The current season starts on the first Saturday in May. Overall this was approved 6,232-3,425. The votes were 39-18 and 162-114 in favor of changing statewide inland trout regulations to five trout in total with no size limit. This would eliminate the three trout in total with an 8-inch size limit that exists on some trout waters. The item was supported overall by a relatively-slim margin, 5,148-4,591.

 County residents were 64-17 in favor and recreators were 221-105 in favor of allowing motor trolling with up to three hooks, baits and lures per angler on all inland waters. In some counties, anglers are limited to one. Overall, this vote was close but it was supported 6,915-5,119.

 Creating a lake sturgeon catch-and-release season that would run from the first Saturday in June through the end of the first Sunday in March on specific waters throughout the state, including the Jump River, was supported by county residents 44-13 and by county recreators 184-81. Overall, it passed 5,885-3,147.

Among the questions submitted by wildlife management:

 Taylor County residents approved 75-9 and recreators approved 264-68 allowing hunters who quarter their deer in the field to leave non-edible parts at the site of harvest. One thought with this question is it may encourage public-land hunters to go further away from roads and access areas to do their hunting. This passed easily statewide 8,335-2,902.

 The tie among county residents came with question nine asking if the DNR should pursue a north/south split for woodcock hunting zone. The vote was 26-26 with 33 no opinions among residents. Taylor County recreators passed it 160-84 with 100 no opinions. It was approved overall 5,400-2,075.

 An extension to the fall turkey hunting seasons in zones six and seven was favored by local residents 5210 and by recreators 217-65. It got a thumbs up statewide 6,863-2,163. These northern zones currently close on the Friday before Thanksgiving rather than the Sunday nearest Jan. 6 for the state’s other zones. This was done out of concern for the impact of harsh winters on the northern turkey populations, but now it’s believed the early closure is not needed.

 Removing the landowner preference category for the spring turkey drawing was supported by Taylor County residents 38-32 and by recreators 174-124. Overall it was supported 5,199-4,323.

 County residents favored 52-20 and recreators favored 204-79 the idea of a single raccoon hunting season start date. Since 1982, residents have gotten a twoweek head start. The rule was put in place when fur prices and hunter competition for raccoons were higher. Overall it passed 6,562-2,328.

Congress county highlights

Among the advisory questions posed by the Wisconsin

Conservation Congress:

 Taylor County residents favored 62-12 and recreators favored 259-35 changing panfish limits on the Willow Flowage to 25 with no more than 10 of any species. It easily passed statewide 7,912-1,160.

 County residents rejected 42-35 and recreators supported 166-140 creating a new panfish option for the DNR’s toolbox on waters that may benefit from it, a 10fish limit with only five being crappies. Statewide, it was supported 7,145-3,959.

 County residents rejected 49-33 and recreators rejected 157-148 the creation of asset tags for recreational valuables like personal watercraft, portable ice shanties, non-motorized boats, canoes and kayaks to facilitate their return and identification in emergency situations. It passed statewide 6,675-5,451.

 Residents rejected 68-19 and recreators soundly rejected 245-95 eliminating lead statewide from firearm ammunition used for hunting by 2030. It also failed statewide 7,152-6,251.

 Question 43 asked if the public supported the Congress and the legislature modifying existing statutes to ban the generation of intentionally magnified wakes for wake surfing on lakes smaller than 1,500 acres and less than 20 feet deep and maintain a distance from shore and other lake users of 700 feet. County residents supported it 54-33 as did recreators 270-63. It was widely supported overall 10,895-3,804.

 County residents approved 59-21 and recreators approved 264-48 allowing hunters to choose either an archery, crossbow or gun deer tag when buying a sports license. It was supported 8,838-1,833 statewide.

 A statewide ban on wildlife shining Sept. 15-Dec. 31 was rejected by county residents 58-32 but supported by recreators 180-158. The idea passed statewide 8,6103,867.