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DNR, Congress to host Spring Hearings; Taylor County open house at MASH

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) invite the public to attend open houses on April 8 at 6 p.m. to learn about resource management through the annual Fish and Wildlife Spring Hearing process.

Additionally, an online opportunity for public input will be available from noon on Wednesday, April 10 through noon on Saturday, April 13.

DNR staff and WCC delegates will be on hand at these open houses to discuss local issues of importance, answer questions from the public and open a dialogue between the public, the DNR and the WCC about areas of interest and concern.

The WCC will also hold their delegates’ elections at each meeting. Two of the five WCC seats will be up for election in each county. DNR presentations are set to start at 6:30 p.m., followed by the delegate elections at 7 p.m. A review Spring Hearing questions and any introduced citizen resolutions is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Taylor County’s open house will be held in Medford Area Senior High library.

Finally, the public is invited to provide feedback on a variety of fish, wildlife and other natural resources-related topics as part of the spring hearing process. The public is encouraged to provide input online from noon on April 10 through noon on April 13. For those who prefer to do so in person, a number of paper ballots will be available at each in-person meeting.

More information is available on the Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearing webpage, https://

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress is the only statutory body in the state where the public elects delegates to advise the Natural Resources Board and the DNR on responsibly managing natural resources for present and future generations. The Congress accomplishes this through open, impartial, broad-ranged actions. Learn more about the WCC and how to become involved in resource management decisions on the Wisconsin Conservation webpage, wcc.

Spring hearing questions

This year’s spring hearing agenda includes 49 questions, all of which are advisory-only. There are no proposed rule changes.

DNR fisheries management has seven questions on the agenda. These include:

 Question one asks if the public favors 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.

 Question two gauges the public’s interest in 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.

 Question three asks if statewide inland trout regulations should be simplified 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.

 Question four asks if there is support for 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.

 Question five gauges support for the creation of lake sturgeon catch-and-release opportunities. The season 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.

DNR wildlife management has five questions on the agenda. These include:

 Question eight asking if the public supports 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.

 Question nine asks if there is support for the 3rd Shift



3rd Shift

DNR pursuing the creation of northern and southern woodcock hunting zones.

 Question 10 asks if hunters would support extending the fall turkey hunting seasons in zones six and seven. 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.

 Question 11 asks how the public would view removing the landowner preference category for the spring turkey harvest tag drawing.

 Question 12 proposes the idea of a single raccoon hunting season start date. Since 1982, residents have gotten a two-week head start. The rule was put in place when fur prices and hunter competition for raccoons were higher.

Several committees of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress are bringing a total of 37 advisory questions for consideration this year. Some of the highlights include:

 Question 15 asks if there is support for changing panfish limits on the Willow Flowage to 25 with no more than 10 of any species.

 Question 24 proposes 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.

 Question 44 asks if the public favors removing the restriction of group hunting for antlerless deer with bows and/or crossbows in farmland zones.

 Question 45 asks if the public supports allowing hunters to choose either an archery, crossbow or gun deer tag when buying a sports license.

 Question 48 asks if there is support for a ban on shining wildlife in the from Sept. 15 through Dec. 31.