Few Questions, Low Turnout At Annual DNR Spring Hearing
Sportsmen statewide had their say Monday night during the annual DNR spring fish and game hearings. Turnout was low for Marinette Countys meeting, which was held in the Wausaukee High School auditorium and drew approximately 35 sportsmen.
With no controversial issues, few questions were raised as the 99 agenda items were finished in 90 minutes.
Prior to the start of the meeting, an election for Wisconsin Conservation Congress delegates was held. With an opening for a 3-year term, the name of Harold Grandaw of Peshtigo was submitted despite his absence. Grandaw has been a past delegate for years but got sick and appointed his grandson, Justin Schaut, to fill out his term.
Following Grandaws nomination, the gathering was informed by Schaut that he talked to Grandaw on the phone and he would not accept the position. Therefore with no other candidates nominated, outgoing delegate Robert Lehew accepted a new three year term. Schaut still has time left on his two year term while Darriol Sterckx remains the Marinette County chairman.
The statewide get together was divided into two parts, the fish and wildlife hearing as well as the Wisconsin Conservation Congress annual county meeting.
With DNR warden Dave Oginski presiding, the fish and wildlife hearing covered 68 questions ranging from taking rough fish by spear year round to bass zones, muskellunge limit and length in various waters, simplifying pheasant hunting regulations and more.
A couple of questions drew comments from the local sportsmen, including one which allowed unattended, overnight placement of portable stands and blinds on Department owned and managed lands between September 1 to January 31. The name and identification number would be required on each stand.
Walter Ducaine of Crivitz asked about the potential problems of other hunters using the stand even if your information was attached.
Warden Oginski commented... I hope hunter ethics would take over and no one would else would use it. There is nothing laying claim to that area being yours....and currently there are no restrictions to avoid those problems.
Marinette County allows the placement of stands for 21 days on its land, which can be used by anyone.
The conservation congress part of the meeting was chaired by Sterckx with very little opposition.
Options to expand the use of crossbows was debated with two proposals presented to the group...full inclusion of archery/crossbow season or a defined crossbow season and a separate crossbow license.
The question to remove backtag requirements drew response from sportsmen and DNR personnel. Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, said down the road the elimination would help to reduce some cost, but has proven to be very useful in the field to identify people.
Warden Oginski explained the tag helps to identify trespassers and was vital during a stabbing incident.
Currently Wisconsin and New York are the only states which require the use of backtags and even without one, hunters still need a license.
A question on the current bobcat season, which presently is only allowed north of Highway 64 with two split seasons, asked about allowing statewide hunting and trapping using the same harvest goal. The proposal drew some criticism from the gathering as it takes applicants nearly 21 years to receive a permit.
Al Hofacker of Athelstane jokingly said....applicants would be better off applying for tickets at Lambeau Field than trying to get a bobcat permit.
At the conclusion of the annual meeting, retired DNR warden Mike Kitt presented two resolutions to reinstate northern pike ice spearing on Wisconsin and Michigan boundary waters as well as on select waters in Wisconsin. The only area in Wisconsin for ice spearing northern pike is on the Lake Superior basin.
The proposal read... years ago Wisconsin DNR deliberately chose to end the mutual agreement to have an ice season for spearing northern pike on the Wisconsin/Michigan boundary waters. Michigan reluctantly agreed to change their traditional rule so it would not cause angler confusion and create enforcement issues. Neither state has since offered biological data to support significant negative spearing concerns for pike or other game fish species that these waters are primarily managed for. Michigan would like to reinstate boundary water spearing.
According to Kitt, there is little mortality in the sport, it is ethical and done inside shanties with holes measuring 2 1/2 feet by 5 feet.
When finished spearing, the holes are marked with trees, wood slabs or snow piles. Six other states have seasons and Wisconsin had the rule up to 1987 on the boundary waters.
This is nothing new, we had it and lost and are just trying to get it back, Kitt remarked. We would abide by some of the same rules and regulations used on Lake Winnebago during the spearing season.
Other DNR representatives from Marinette County at the meeting were fisheries biologist Tammie Paoli along with new wardens, Jeff Lautenslager in the marine division and Tim Werner of the Crivitz office. Werner is replacing Matt Neade who is heading to the Mercer area.
Results of the 2013 spring hearings will be available online beginning Wednesday, April 10 at dnr.wi.gov.
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