State meetings about allowing more hunting and trapping in Wisconsin state parks get underway tonight.
The Republican-sponsored Sporting Heritage Bill opens the gate to more hunters and trappers in state parks. The law takes effect in January, and DNR board members are gathering more public input on procedures for the law, including what areas may be closed to hunting. DNR Board chairman David Clausen says a tricky part is dealing with people's attitudes, "My wife's attitude is not to be out when others are hunting."
The state wants some safeguards for the public. The DNR would block hunting in Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee and Heritage Hill State Park in Green Bay, also no hunting at parks partly within communities that ban the discharge of firearms. There'd be no hunting and trapping within 100 yards of a campground, picnic area, or beach, or on fragile plant or animal habitat.
The department also doesn't want hunting in parks from the Memorial Day weekend through October 15. Clausen expects conflict, "And somehow we're going to have to deal with that."
The first DNR listening session is Monday night in Fitchburg. Other meetings will be held over the next two weeks in Eau Claire, Merrill, Appleton and West Allis.