A lot of changes are on the horizon for Wisconsin hunters and trappers.
On Nov. 11, Gov. Scott Walker signed four pieces of hunting-related legislation into law. Here's a rundown of each law:
Youth antlerless deer tag (Assembly Bill 528)
This bill makes it illegal for adults to harvest antlerless deer using a youth antlerless deer hunting license when hunting in a group.
Sen. Terry Moulton (R--Chippewa Falls) and Rep. Kathy Bernier (R--Oconomowoc) authored the bill. It passed the Senate on a voice vote and the Assembly concurred on a voice vote.
Minimum hunting age (Assembly Bill 455)
This is the bill everyone's been talking about--the elimination of a minimum hunting age. The bill eliminates the requirement that a person be at least 10 years old to hunt under the hunting mentorship program, leaving it up to parents to decide. The bill also makes it legal for both the mentor and the child to carry weapons. Before this, the two parties could only carry one weapon between them.
Finally, the bill prohibits the adult mentor in a group hunting party from killing a deer for the youth hunter (the mentee) or using the deer carcass tag issued to the mentee.
Sen. Terry Moulton (R--Chippewa Falls) and Rep. Rob Stafsholt (R--New Richmond) authored this bill. It passed the Senate by a vote of 21-12 and the Assembly concurred by a vote of 57-32.
Extended season for turkey, Hungarian partridge and pheasant (Senate Bill 225)
This bill extends the fall turkey, gray (Hungarian) partridge, and pheasant hunting and trapping seasons. These seasons currently close Dec. 31. The bill sets them as open through the Sunday nearest Jan. 6 (including the New Year's holiday weekend).
The bill, as amended, becomes effective Feb. 1, 2018. Under this bill, the DNR also has the option to close or extend a season in a specific area beyond what the law says if the agency determines it's necessary to either promote population growth or further control a population of any of the animals listed in the bill.
Sen. Terry Moulton (R--Chippewa Falls) and Rep. Nick Milroy (D--Superior) authored the bill. It bill passed the Senate on a voice vote and the Assembly concurred on a voice vote.
Woodchucks (Assembly Bill 323)
This bill defines woodchucks as "game animals" and "fur-bearing animals." As a result, a person may hunt woodchucks with a small game hunting license and trap woodchucks with a trapping license. The DNR is required to establish a year-round open season for woodchucks. There will be no bag limit or possession limit on woodchucks.
Sen. Tom Tiffany (R--Hazelhurst) and Rep. Andre Jacque (R--De Pere) authored the bill. It passed the Senate on a voice vote and the Assembly concurred on a voice vote.
There are a few more details to these bills, which you can find on the governors official website.
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his Facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.