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DNR Spring Hearings coming up

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Just a quick FYI - go to the WI DNR site and review this years proposals/hearing locations. I'll get more info if DonBo doesn't beat me to it! Believe the hearings will be April 13th.

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The above mentioned summary:

Spring Fish and Wildlife Rules Hearings April 13 in all counties of state

Held in conjunction with Wisconsin Conservation Congress county meetings

MADISON – Citizens across Wisconsin have an opportunity to share their opinions on proposed changes or present new ideas in the management of Wisconsin’s fish and wildlife resources at the 2009 Department of Natural Resources Annual Spring Fish and Wildlife Rule Hearings and Wisconsin Conservation Congress annual county meetings.

The hearings and meetings will be held starting at 7 p.m. April 13 at locations in every Wisconsin county. Department of Natural Resources staff representing fisheries, wildlife and law enforcement will be available before the start to answer questions related to the spring hearing questionnaire.

The dual annual hearing and meeting is a keystone in Wisconsin’s history of providing opportunity for citizens to share their opinions on proposed changes or new ideas in the management of Wisconsin’s fish and wildlife resources.

“This year marks the Wisconsin Conservation Congress’ 75th Anniversary,” stated Kurt Thiede, DNR liaison with the Conservation Congress. “The congress and specifically these annual hearings serve an important role in providing citizens in this state with a voice on Natural Resource issues.”

This year the questionnaire contains 91 questions. Fifty-five of these questions are rule change proposals from the department, and the remainder of the questions are advisory questions proposed by the Congress or the Natural Resources Board.

During the DNR hearing portion, citizens will be allowed to vote on changes to fish and wildlife rules proposed by the DNR and the Natural Resources Board.

All votes recorded are advisory only and are presented to the Natural Resources Board at their May meeting in a summary of public opinion.

Proposals related to turkey hunting would: extend the fall season to include most of December, except in the northern-most zones; expand to more areas a successful trial season that has allowed the use of dogs for fall turkey hunting; and could make registering birds easier through a call-in system. Bobcat hunters and trappers will be able to weigh in on a proposal to lengthen that season but split it into two time periods so that people who prefer to hunt late could hunt much later, through January. There are many proposals related to specific department properties that accomplish things like changing or eliminating refuges, improving waterfowl hunting, allowing the harvest stocked of hen pheasants, modifying deer hunting opportunities, and more.

Fisheries proposals include eliminating the requirement for barbless hooks during the early catch and release trout season, clarifying rules related to use of remote controlled devices for fishing, and adjusting walleye regulations on some northern lakes to decrease invasive smelt populations and increase natural walleye production.

Other fisheries proposals would provide clarification and consistency to the fishing rules that apply to sloughs, bayous and flowages connected to certain inland rivers, and would allow quick, basic background checks for past illegal activity for people who apply to serve as DNR-sponsored volunteer angler education instructors or mentors as part of a DNR sponsored learn-to-hunt program. These checks are now done for volunteer ATV, boating, snowmobiling or hunter education instructor.

During the Conservation Congress portion of the meeting, citizens will elect local delegates to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, indicate support-nonsupport for a number of fish and wildlife rule change proposals developed by the Congress, and may introduce citizen-initiated resolutions at their local meetings. The Wisconsin Conservation Congress is a legislatively created advisory body to the Department of Natural Resources.

While written comments are not accepted on WCC advisory questions, citizens may submit written comment on the DNR proposed rules. Written comments on the proposed hunting and trapping regulations should be submitted via U.S. mail to Scott Loomans, DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707. Written comments on the proposed fishing regulations may be submitted via U.S. mail to Joe Hennessy, DNR Bureau of Fisheries Management, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707. Written comments must be postmarked no later than April 14, 2009.

The spring hearings questionnaire listing and discussing items scheduled for consideration during both the DNR and WCC portions of the evening is available on the Spring Rules Hearings pages of the DNR Web site or by contacting any DNR Service Center or by calling Kurt Thiede (608) 266-0580.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kurt Thiede (608) 266-0580

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