Spring Wildlife and Fish Rule Hearings
Changes to application and permit deadlines, requiring identification on tree stands setup on state-owned lands, prohibiting use of electronic decoys for turkey hunting, establishing a deer hunting season in Kohler-Andrae state park, allowing anglers to keep and kill one non-native fish species for transport to a DNR office, and a proposal to allow persons with a class B disabled hunting permit to participate in special October disabled hunts are among questions that will be on the docket for comment in the 2005 Department of Natural Resources Spring Wildlife and Fish Rules Hearings.
The hearings are held annually in every county of the state on the second Monday of April, which this year is April 11, to gauge public opinion on proposed changes to rules pertaining to fish and wildlife in Wisconsin. The hearings all begin at 7 p.m.
In addition to voting on proposed rules or changes to rules, delegates to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress are elected. The Conservation Congress was established by the Wisconsin Legislature in 1934 as a citizen body to advise the Natural Resources Board (NRB) on fish and wildlife management issues and policy.
To better accommodate citizen participation, business of the greatest importance to the most participants will be addressed early in the meeting agendas, according to Al Phelan, DNR Conservation Congress liaison who coordinates the hearings. The first item of business will be the election of county delegates to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress. Election of delegates will be done on ballots provided to residents of the county in which the hearing is being held. To vote for Congress delegates, people must be 18 years old and provide identification along with proof of residency in the county. Current DNR employees are not eligible for election as a delegate.
The second part of the hearing will be the DNR’s proposed fish and wildlife rule changes affecting the management of fish and wildlife in Wisconsin. There is no age or residency requirement to vote on any of the questions in the spring hearing questionnaire.
Questions will be grouped into two categories: those of statewide significance and those with mainly local impact. Only those rule proposals identified as statewide in nature will be voted on in all counties. Local rule changes will be presented only in affected counties unless someone in the audience in an unaffected county requests a vote on a local rule change. This system moves the hearings along more quickly while still allowing a resident of one area to vote on an issue affecting a favorite lake or wildlife area in another part of the state.
People may testify for the record on any of the proposals. The portion of the hearing concerning DNR rule proposals will be conducted by an authorized DNR hearing examiner, usually a conservation warden.