Good turnout expected at April 11 spring fish and wildlife hearing
Written by Dunn County News   
Thursday, 17 March 2005 02:31
There are proposals in the 2005 Spring Fish and Game Rules Hearing questionnaire booklet to effect just about anyone who enjoys our great out-of-doors in some fashion, especially those who enjoy wetting a line or following a hunting dog.

And even though such things are of minor interest to you, it is a good opportunity to observe and participate in one of our finest example of democracy in action.
In an effort to wet your appetite for attending this annual event, that will be in transaction in every county in the state of Wisconsin, starting at 7 p.m. sharp on Monday, April 11, we will present some of the 74 proposals and advisory questions that will be presented to those in attendance on the 11th day of April.

Not all of the 74 issues will be presented at any one of the 72 meetings because some of them are regional.

DNR proposed fisheries rule changes

The April 11 public hearing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. sharp. Participants should arrive a few minutes early to sign and pick up materials such as the evening's questionnaire. The first order of business will be the election of county delegates.

Terms of two of the five delegates are up for re-election or replacement this year. Following the election, one of Dunn County's Conservation Wardens will present the DNR proposed rule changes. We will review the proposals that will be of interest to Dunn County residents. Only Dunn County residents are eligible to vote at the Dunn County hearing.

The first section of the hearing agenda is made up of proposed local fisheries rule changes. Proposal 11 is a Dunn County proposal, and asks, Do you favor reducing the daily bag limit from 25 in total for panfish on Lake Menomin and the portion of the Red Cedar River upstream from Lake Menomin to the Cedar Falls Dam?

The proposal was initiated by the Dunn County Fish and Game Association and supported by the area fish manager.

The 1,405 acre flowage of the Red Cedar River and is located partly within the City of Menomonie. Urban growth is rapid in the Chippewa Valley and the fishing pressure for a limited resource is heavy and on the rise.

Ideal panfish habitat is somewhat limited to key areas which are well known to anglers for miles around. The panfish concentrate on these areas and so do anglers.

This has meant highly successful harvesting of large numbers of quality panfish. A considerable amount of research by the DNR has been carried out on both Menomin and Tainter Lakes of late due to the relicensing of the energy producing dams on both lakes. This research revealed mortality rates high, especially for bluegills.

These high mortality rates were recognized by the fishery researchers in 2000. Trophy bluegill for instance, fish of 10 inches, were present in respectable numbers at that time.

Tainter Lake

The 1,752 acre flowage north of Cedar Falls, Tainter Lake, has of course the same problems as Menomin. Showing an even higher rate of mortality due to angling. Question number 12 asks if you favor reducing the daily bag of 25 in total to 10 in total for panfish in Tainter Lake.

Many anglers from the Eau Claire-Chippewa Falls area fish Tainter and Menomin. Last year's questionnaire asked for a reduction panfish limits on Lake Altoona.

DNR proposed wildlife management rule changes include a proposal number 32 to allow hunters who have valid fall turkey hunting license and stamp to shoot a turkey while hunting upland game birds with dogs.

Game management uses the fall turkey hunt to manage turkey numbers. The spring hunt is for male turkeys only and has little if any effect on turkey reproduction.

The fall harvest of either sex is not harvesting enough turkeys and this is due of course, to the host of hunting seasons taking place during the fall season. Although the number of birds taken by hunters while accompanied by hunting dogs will be limited, it gives grouse, pheasant and even waterfowl hunters a chance to fill their permits while accompanied by their retrievers. And we should remember, hunters with dogs seldom lose wounded game.

Question 36 asks if you support a rule that would allow a landowner, lessee or occupant of private land to shoot and kill any gray wolf (once they are federally delisted) in the act of attacking domestic animals provided that they report the shooting to the department within 24 hours and turn the wolf carcass into the DNR.

Questions 41 and 42 address eliminating the "no dog zone" in bear management Zone A, to allow hounds to be used for bear hunting. And do you support allowing the use of dogs for hunting bear in a portion of Zone C?

That question includes part of Dunn County, north of Highway 64. A DNR Advisory question asks if you support extending spring turkey hunting hours to 20 minutes after sunset. In 1999, spring turkey hunting hours were extended from noon to 5 p.m.

The addition of five hours has not resulted in an increase in hunter success rate over the past five seasons. The DNR does not anticipate much of a change in success with the later closing hour.

They feel that the biological necessity for an earlier close is no longer needed. The later closing would allow hunters a bit of time after work and the change would be consistent with closing hours for upland game birds, deer, bear and small game. It is interesting to note that in Iowa the closing hour is sunset, in Illinois, 1 p.m., in Michigan, 1/2 hour before sunset and in Minnesota, 5 p.m.

Wisconsin Conservation Congress Advisory questions

The first question in the Conservation Congress portion of the questionnaire is presented by the Executive Council of the congress and probably is of more interest to citizens than any one question in the questionnaire.

Controversy along the lines of deer management is nothing new, and has been going on for close to a century. Such things as an earn-a-buck season seems to turn off everyone, but it works. It is one way to reduce an antlerless deer population on private land. And private land is the crux of the whole problem.

The proposal of the Conservation Congress Executive Council believes the DNR would receive more hunter support by eliminating T-Zone and Earn-A-Buck seasons and establishing all of the following: An either sex season with free antlerless permit(s) that could be used in any unit with an antlerless quota; Elimination of the October gun hunt; A 9-day general deer season (hunter's choice of weapon) starting the Saturday before Thanksgiving and free antlerless permit(s) that could be used in any unit with an antlerless quota; Retain the current muzzleloader season in the second week of December for all units with an antlerless quota; Create an either-sex season for all deer hunting in the Chronic Waste Disease Zone.

Do you support the above position of the Executive Council?

The Wisconsin Legislature is taking up a proposal to lower the hunting age in Wisconsin to the age of 10 (currently the age is 12). Question 42 is: Do you approve the concept Wisconsin lowering the hunter age from 12 to 10?

The Hunter Education Instructor group of the Dunn County Fish and Game, some who have been teaching the course for over 50 years, are unanimously against the concept. They will tell you there are 12-year-olds that are not mature enough to be handling firearms safely, and that very few 10-year-olds are ready. That group is currently teaching a class of 50 of our youngsters. Who would be better prepared to intelligently consider this proposed concept?

There are a number of Conservation Congress advisory questions in relation to youth hunting. Some of them have a tendency to make your blood run cold. For instance, would you favor the DNR taking action to change laws to allow a person under age of 12 to possess, control, and discharge a firearm under supervision of an adult without hunter safety education?

Here is another question you will be asked to vote on. Would you approve a person of legal hunting age (12) to not have the Hunter's Education requirements apply to their first year of hunting, with the stipulation that the person must be within arm's reach of an appropriately licensed adult?

Currently under the state law a parent or legal guardian must accompany hunters 12 and 13 years of age. Do you support a change that would allow 12 and 13 year olds to hunt while accompanied by a parent or guardian or "other" adult?

Currently the use of crossbows by hunters is limited to those with disabled permits or hunters over 65 years of age. Do you favor removing the disabled permit and age restrictions from crossbow hunting regulations?

There are a couple advisory questions in relation to pheasant hunting. The Congress wants to know if you would approve the concept of financing the pheasant raising and release program for hunting public hunting areas such as the Dunnville Wildlife Area from the sale of additional pheasant tags in $10 lots.

Stamp money has been a blessing because revenue has been limited to specific use, like wild pheasant/habitat improvement. The trout stamp is earmarked for trout stream improvement. You will be asked if you approve changing the pheasant stamp statue to allow one half of moneys raised by the pheasant stamp to be dedicated to raising and stocking of put and take pheasants on state owned properties.

Should we take half of the revenue raised for an effort to establish wild pheasants and delude that effort with put and take pheasant farm birds? There are other proposals that need your input. Reserve the evening of Monday, April 11 for this all important hearing.

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