Conservation Congress asks about expanding hunting in state parks

2013-04-07T06:00:00Z Conservation Congress asks about expanding hunting in state parksMIKE IVEY | The Capital Times |

There’s a push to look again at expanding hunting in state parks and some area outdoor enthusiasts are raising their voices against it.

In December, the state Natural Resources Board voted against a wide-open, seven-plus-month hunting and trapping season in most state parks and scaled it back to two one-month periods, with the exception of some additional late-season archery deer hunting.

But the leaders of the Conservation Congress have now included a question about park hunting in their annual survey that will be given to attendees at annual statewide hearings in all 72 Wisconsin counties Monday.

Question No. 70 reads: “Would you support expanding the hunting opportunities in state parks from the plan approved by the Natural Resources Board to the plan proposed by the DNR?”

That item has caught the attention of many hikers, campers and cross country skiers in the Madison area, who are urging a big turnout for the Dane County meeting scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center in Sun Prairie High School, 888 Grove St.

“As a long-time park user, I am very concerned,” says Karen Matteoni of Madison. “As children we could always hike or ski without fear in our state parks. I’d hate to see that change.”

While the Conservation Congress is typically dominated by hunting and fishing interests, silent sports advocates Jason Dorgan and Judy Archibald have their names on the ballot for election to represent Dane County. Each county has five delegates who serve two-year terms.

Dorgan says he got interested in conservation issues after the Legislature passed Act 168 in 2011. Dubbed the “Sporting Heritage Act,” the law opened all state park and forest lands to hunting, fishing and trapping.

“Although I’m not excited about Act 168, it is law and its implementation could have been much worse,” says Dorgan, an avid distance runner who made news in 2007 by completing the entire 1,000- mile Ice Age Trail across Wisconsin in 25 days. That’s over 40 miles a day.

After Act 168 was signed, the Department of Natural Resources drafted a plan to open all but two state parks to hunting and trapping for the various seasons.

But in a reversal, the Natural Resources Board, which oversees DNR policy, went against those recommendations and voted 7-0 to close most state park land to hunting and trapping — although it did leave some areas open for short periods. The board action followed a public comment period in which more than 95 percent of respondents were opposed to hunting in state parks.

Despite the public opposition, Conservation Congress Chairman Rob Bohmann maintains that allowing hunting in state parks is nothing new. He says for years there has been some hunting in a number of Wisconsin state park areas without significant impact on non-hunting users.

“The department has successfully managed public areas for multiple uses, often with non-consumptive users not even realizing hunting is occurring,” says Bohmann.

Hunting interests could get a boost from a reconfigured Natural Resources Board. With two appointments scheduled to expire in May, Gov. Scott Walker, who has made a point of acting on hunters' wishes, will soon have control of five of the seven seats.

On Friday, Walker appointed north woods forester Gary Zimmer to the board. Previous Walker appointments include Terry Hilgenberg, a real estate agent from Shawano; Gregory Kazmierski, owner of Buck Rub Outfitters in Pewaukee; and William Bruins, owner of Homeland Dairy in Waupun.

The seat of current board chairman and former Gov. Jim Doyle appointee Preston Cole, city of Milwaukee public works director, is due to expire in May, but there has been no word on whether he will be retained.

The seats of two other members — Christine Thomas, professor of resource management at UW-Stevens Point and Jane Wiley, a conservation activist from Wausau — expire in May 2015.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(24) Comments

  1. RatKiller
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    RatKiller - April 09, 2013 8:41 am
    I was at the meeting last night. It was clear from those who attended that hunting is not as much about "harvesting" animals as it is to catering to a group of people who want to profit at the expense of over 90% of Wisconsin's other residents. BTW - the bear hounders who were present should put those Ho Ho's and Twinkies down and limit themselves to a single stack of flapjacks for their breakfasts. It's no wonder they hunt from ATVs....I can't imagine any of them even shoveling out their own driveways let alone walking a mile in the woods.
  2. Madravenspeak
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    Madravenspeak - April 08, 2013 8:30 am
    The DNR, and hunter activist UN-Natural "Resources " ( to be exploited and destroyed) Board, and the hunting cartel could care less. They are on a roll using the state agency against the 90% of us who do not kill to eradicate all wildlife to the maximum to keep their power. For $4 a new trapper can set unlimited hundreds of traps on unlimited traplines ON OUR PUBLIC LANDS to take out hundreds of thousands ( 600,000 reported - over a million with collateral damage) of innocent beings for their PRIVATE PROFIT. I want to run my own business off the public lands and take as many animals as I can and sell them to humane people to repopulate their rural dead zones.
  3. Madravenspeak
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    Madravenspeak - April 08, 2013 8:27 am
    So you'll kill where and when you can which is year-round and everywhere. This state needs a very big mental institution for killing addicts.
  4. Madravenspeak
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    Madravenspeak - April 08, 2013 8:26 am
    You have got to be kidding. As the DNR tells their sole clientele - majorly killing everybody, "Oh we heard you loud and clear. You want MORE DEER - so we are GROWING THE DEER HERD another 175,000 for your killing pleasure." ( this year and last). Out of one side of their mouth the tired old argument - OH you NEED killers to destroy WAY TOO MANY DEER while they kill bucks to leave does to feed them to produce twins for their killing pleasure of an easy "hunt" and deer drive.

    Lyme disease and CWD are DEVASTATING this state - and our best ally against them are the the wolves and coyotes, the bears and the natural predators that serial killers just cannot get enough of hanging them from trees, displaying them on walls, and eradicating them as "competition" for their slaughterhouse animal profit production and their slaughterhouse deer kill.
  5. Oscar
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    Oscar - April 08, 2013 4:20 am
    I was curious about this issue. I had never known the boundaries of Lake Kegonsa State Park. In researching the proposed hunting areas, I figured out that a drive would push the deer directly in line with the houses behind the park. You would be shooting directly at a two-sided street on the lake. There was no need for opening up the parks to hunting. Speculating about the origin of this, you are forced to consider the possibility that republican majority was trying to get back at liberals. They were poking a stick at the environmentalists that once stopped a construction project of theirs. Just take a look at a map of LKSP and you will be shocked at the frightening lack of safe shooting lanes, proximity to residences, hikers, buildings. Combined with the asenine decision to allow rifle hunting in Southern Wisconsin, this is the worst. And I am a hunter...
  6. koala
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    koala - April 07, 2013 10:45 pm
    In general, I think hunting in state parks is not a good idea ... like about 96% of the respondents in a recent poll. BUT sometimes it is necessary. When deer levels, for example, get too high, the plant species in the park take a beating. High levels of deer also tend to increase the incidence of Lyme disease and can foster the spread of CWD. If we are to reduce impact on rare plants and forest succession, and reduce the incidence of Lyme disease and the spread of CWD, we will occasionally need to open parks to hunting.
  7. Rosalie
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    Rosalie - April 07, 2013 10:40 pm
    re " vote NO on #39 so trappers have to continue checking their traps daily,"

    What?!! You mean some trappers don't want to check their traps daily? If they are so conscientiously checking their traps all the time as we are told - why the need for such a regulation?

    Maybe we should ask area vets what injuries dogs and cats suffer when caught in these traps - and know that wildlife suffer just the same or this so-called sport".
  8. bananahammock
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    bananahammock - April 07, 2013 10:06 pm
    Please please please WSJ and Cap Times. Write an article on the outcome of these votes. I don't care either way as I'll hunt where and when I can but please follow up NO MATTER WHAT.
  9. Madravenspeak
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    Madravenspeak - April 07, 2013 8:53 pm
    NO to expanding hunting and trapping in our state parks. The killers are killing out 99% of our publicly purchased billions of dollars in land investment. Now they want it ALL - no refuge for us or our wildlife. The few wild animals left going nocturnal under siege. NO wildlife refuges.

    Aldo Leopold, an avid hunter, deified by the hunting and trapping committee - knew 65 years ago, in a completely different environment with billions less human population - that the DNR should be funded by general public funding, NOT killing licenses - and that all citizens should participate in deciding what happens to our natural world. The demographics have changed and we must work all year round to wake the 90% who do not kill to participation and awareness of the suffering of our wildlife and destruction of our commons.

  10. Madravenspeak
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    Madravenspeak - April 07, 2013 7:55 pm
    Yes - so intrusive to have people disapprove of killing all the wildlife we love and have no saving licenses to protect. So galling to have people who want an equal say and a way to have it - on our supposed "common" wealth. So tiring to have people who reverence all life. The killers are so haughty and put upon.
  11. Madravenspeak
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    Madravenspeak - April 07, 2013 7:53 pm
    There will always be cruel people - people who take and harm and cause suffering. They are sick and ignorant. But the majority of people in Wisconsin just have not cared enough to find the center of power, inform themselves and take one night a year to stop this human - imposed recreational killing spree.
  12. Madravenspeak
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    Madravenspeak - April 07, 2013 7:51 pm
    Ever expanding like a cancer - just cannot get enough bow-hunting the cruelest slow bleed out painful way to die.
  13. Madravenspeak
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    Madravenspeak - April 07, 2013 7:50 pm
    Bring lots of animal loving friends and after you register ( you may have to show ID that you live in your county) - get your ballots and move immediately into the room to help elect humane candidates. The election of two delegates to represent you is the first order of business promptly at 7:00. Then stay all night to learn how these decisions are made and to recognize the hunter bias in the questions.

    This is a really important election if you care about living wildlife and a living world. All of the power is in attending every year - ALL CITIZENS - to elect representatives of their views of stewarding our public lands and wildlife. Your delegates design the questions which are now ALL designed by hunters to be do you want to kill more species in more ways and torture more wildlife on all public land.

    They will kill every animal to keep the exclusive power to destroy our wildlife for their take. All 360 delegates ( 5 from each of the 72 counties, 2 of them up for election every year in every county) have always been ( for 79 years) from the hunt clubs and the most avid kill bears, kill wolves, kill every natural predator to farm for more deer and turkey and geese to kill. Mutilate and bludgeon to death over 600,000 animals in steel jaw traps designed in the 1700's as medieval torture traps, snares, conibears and cable restraints - ever tightening on their little bodies

    Join us at to organize to protect our wildlife and represent the non-killing public majority for the first time democracy in governing our wildlife for the beauty of their lives. A bumper sticker ( I LOVE WOLVES & I VOTE ) for membership at any level. Help us help the voiceless.
  14. Madravenspeak
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    Madravenspeak - April 07, 2013 7:43 pm
    This election is always presented as a "hearing" when all the power is in attending EVERY year to ELECT representation - two delegates to represent the general public. It is all about killing wildlife exponentially more in exponentially more cruel ways on all public land - because only hunters and trappers set up the format to keep it hidden. Advertised in the outdoors pages year after year for decades -( people who do not kill wildlife do not read the outdoors pages) - candidates only nominated on the floor of the congress the night of the election and then voted on five minutes later - it has been a killing cartel running amok over our public lands.

    As Judge Anderson said, in the lawsuit against using dogs on wolves, "Let me get this straight. Do you mean you can do anything you want to wildlife in Wisconsin? 500 bear hounders could get together on a Saturday night when it is really dangerous and run 2000 dogs across our public lands?" The DNR lawyer response: " Just like bird-watching and star-gazing."

    We should have the elections tied to the county statewide elections the week before this election - and candidates debating the issues openly in several forums and campaigning. We should then have this work book session of expansion of hunter power in citizen groupings organized by the democratically elected delegates for each region.
  15. Rosalie
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    Rosalie - April 07, 2013 7:18 pm
    Thanks so much for this article. Our parks belong to all of us and the numbers of those who enjoy the the great outdoors and "silent sports" are growing all the time.
  16. Laina
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    Laina - April 07, 2013 11:39 am
    Please come and vote on Monday. Real estate developers, hunters, dairy farmers (who by the way let several thousand veal calves die in the heat wave) on the NRB.
    Where is the representation for wildlife and the environment?
  17. bananahammock
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    bananahammock - April 07, 2013 10:46 am
    It's funny. The picture headlining this article is of a recreational trail carved through what has always been public hunting rounds. It was hunting grounds before the trail was there and signs are now posted letting people know. It's a small slice of trail not a giant state park. I hunt there a lot and am very courteous to all recreation users. Heck I get smiles from most bikers and walkers asking if I had any luck. Then there are the unfriendliness who scowl and say go somewhere else. It takes all types to make the world go 'round. I'm glad there are more smiles out there than scowls. I can't imagine living a life like that. How awful.
  18. RatKiller
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    RatKiller - April 07, 2013 10:12 am
    Exactly. Truth in packaging, I say.
  19. milton's fried man
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    milton's fried man - April 07, 2013 9:54 am
    Another case of devide and conquer
  20. Crow Barr
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    Crow Barr - April 07, 2013 9:36 am
    All 72 Counties have their meetings tomorrow (Monday Apr 8) at 7 pm. Get there early to get your ballot, you need a #2 pencil. Bring friends. Question #70 is about parks. Doesn't seem to be an hunt or no hunt question, just how big an area can they hunt in. Mike 123 hits the name change on the head!
  21. Crow Barr
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    Crow Barr - April 07, 2013 9:30 am
    The Dane County meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at Sun Prairie High School.
    You have to go and BE THERE to vote so go DO IT. Also vote Yes on #38-to train bear dogs ONLY during bear season, vote NO on #39 so trappers have to continue checking their traps daily, VOTE YES on #68 to PROHIBIT DOGS in the WOLF hunt and vote No on #70 limiting hunting/trapping in State Parks, a little bit anyways. Thanks for being a responsible sportsperson!

    Read more:
  22. bosco
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    bosco - April 07, 2013 9:16 am
    There is some slight room to expand the present hunting seasons in state parks. One example is that archery deer hunting should start Nov 1 as not only is that the start of the best hunting, few non-hunters are in the park and if they are they are not back in the bushes.
  23. Delilah_Jones
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    Delilah_Jones - April 07, 2013 8:37 am
    This is open to anyone? This will get me out to that meeting.
  24. Mike123
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    Mike123 - April 07, 2013 7:10 am
    I really think that the so-called "Conservation" Congress should do two things: set up state wide referendums on issues of this sort so that the recommendations are not biased when presented to the DNR, and change their name to the Hunting and Fishing Congress to be more reflective of their actual activity...
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