Wisconsin DNR Spring Fish and Wildlife Rules Hearing Questionnaire Available

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The questionnaire package for the 2011 Department of Natural Resources Spring Fish and Wildlife Rules Hearing and Annual Conservation Congress County Meeting and the list of meeting locations is now available for review on the Department of Natural Resources website.

On Monday, April 11, there will be 72 public hearings, one in each Wisconsin county starting at 7 p.m. where individuals interested in natural resources management will have an opportunity to provide their input by non-binding vote and testimony to the Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Board and the Conservation Congress on proposed hunting and fishing rule changes and advisory questions. Printed copies of the questionnaire will be available after March 1.

The hearings, held annually, are combined with the county meetings during which residents can vote on and introduce their solutions to natural resources related issues.

The spring hearings cover three major areas: elections for county Conservation Congress delegates; proposed wildlife and fisheries rule changes that have been developed through previous Conservation Congress meetings; and Conservation Congress proposals for future rule development.

Among the wildlife rule proposals being considered are: eliminating the archery deer hunting season closure during the traditional November firearm season; allowing normal hunting hours for pheasants on weekends at stocked properties that otherwise close at 2 p.m.; establishing a September firearm and archery hunting season for elk that would run concurrently with the first 30 days of the archery deer hunting season that would be held after the elk population reaches 200 animals; extending each of the spring turkey hunting periods by two days; and allowing landowners, lessees or occupants of private land, or other people with their permission, to shoot a cougar that is in the act of killing, wounding or biting a domestic animal and require that the carcass of the cougar be turned over to the DNR.

Among the fisheries rule change proposals are: increasing the musky size limit on about 600 inland waters from 34 to 40 inches; increasing the minimum size limit from 15 to 18 inches and decreasing the daily bag limit from five to three fish in aggregate for walleye, sauger, and hybrids for most waters in 19 southern Wisconsin counties; requiring the use of “quick-strike” rigs when fishing with minnows 10 inches or longer as bait; and creating a continuous hook and line fishing season for cisco (lake herring), whitefish, and hybrids in the Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters with a possession and daily bag limit of 10 in total and no size limit.

In addition to the department's rule proposals, there will be a wide variety of advisory questions that the Congress will be asking citizens to gauge public support on various natural resource issues.

During the Conservation Congress county meetings, county residents have the option to run for a seat on the Conservation Congress and to elect delegates from their county to represent their views regarding natural resources issues on the Conservation Congress, the citizen advisory body to the Natural Resources Board and the Department of Natural Resources. Also, individuals have the opportunity to bring forth new conservation issues of a statewide nature to the attention of the Conservation Congress through the citizen resolution process. Information about the process is also available on the Conservation Congress pages of the DNR Web site.