Senator Fred Risser has introduced two bills that could result in bad news for public-land hunters and trappers in Wisconsin.
It isn't news that hunters and conservationists have been battling to keep public lands as of late. Well, add Wisconsin to the list, as many conservation groups are calling for Wisconsin sportsmen and women to take action.
According to Sportsmen's Alliance, Wisconsin Senator Fred A. Risser (D-Madison) has introduced two bills that would ban trapping and hunting in all state parks. Senate Bill 774, which bans the use of foothold and body-gripping traps in states parks, and Senate Bill 775, which bans all hunting in state parks, have both been assigned to the Senate Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry Committee. If either bill were to pass and become law, Wisconsin would see a decline in access to hunting and trapping. Even worse, these bills would politicize wildlife management.
The number of hunters has been declining over the past few years. The biggest factor in that decline is people having nowhere to hunt. Risser would exacerbate this problem by denying access to more than 60,570 acres in Wisconsin.
Simple math shows the economic effects this would have on the state as well. Reducing access to public lands for hunting and trapping is also bad for the state's economy. In Wisconsin, the average hunter spends more than $2,800 per year, generating a total of $4 billion in economic impact. Reducing the number of hunters and trappers would also impact conservation funding, as licenses and taxes on firearms fund the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Luke Houghton, the associate director of state services for Sportsmen's Alliance commented on the matter.
"Senate Bills 774 and 775 are just plain bad policy in every way. These bills are bad for wildlife, bad for the economy, and bad for conservation."
As outdoorsmen and women, it's our duty to stay on the forefront and fight for our rights. Hunters are a small piece of our population, so we're constantly fighting an uphill battle. We must educate those who don't know the benefits of conservation and the sport we love.
That's why the Sportsmen's Alliance is working vigorously to have a voice. If you're from Wisconsin and want to use your voice and take action, you can contact your state senator by using the Sportsmen's Alliance Legislative Action Center.