DNR spring hearings set for Monday in Plymouth, throughout state

The public will have an opportunity to weigh in on a wide variety of proposed fish and wildlife rule changes, and to propose other changes, at the 2013 Department of Natural Resources spring fish and wildlife rules hearings and annual Conservation Congress county meetings.

On April 8 there will be 72 public hearings, one in each Wisconsin county, starting at 7 p.m. In Sheboygan County, the meeting will be held in the Plymouth High School auditorium. PHS is located at 125 Highland Ave.

At the meetings, individuals interested in natural resources management will have an opportunity to provide their input by non-binding vote and testimony to the Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Board and the Conservation Congress on proposed hunting, trapping and fishing rule changes and advisory questions.

The hearings, held annually, are immediately followed by county Conservation Congress meetings during which residents can vote on and introduce their ideas to address natural resources related concerns. The list of meeting locations [PDF] and the combined questionnaire [PDF] is available for review by searching the DNR web site for keywords “spring hearings.”

The spring gatherings cover three major areas: elections for county Conservation Congress delegates; proposed wildlife and fisheries rule changes that have been developed through previous Conservation Congress meetings; and Conservation Congress proposals for future rule development.

Among the fisheries rule change proposals are:

Shifting the hours to legally spear sturgeon on lakes Winnebago, Butte des Morts, Win- neconne, and Poygan from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and change it to 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and shift the daily deadline for sturgeon spearers to register their fish from 1:30 to 2 p.m.; removing the northern bass management zone early catch-and-release season for largemouth bass and allow the harvest of largemouth bass under existing size and bag limits; and allowing motor trolling statewide.

Among the wildlife rule proposals being considered are:

Allowing the use of rifles for deer hunting statewide; simplifying pheasant hunting regulations; establish that, when the bear hunting season is open, hunting hours apply to people who are training bear hunting dogs as well as to people who are hunting bears; and allow unattended, overnight placement of portable stands and blinds on DNRowned and managed lands.

In addition to the DNR rule proposals, the Conservation Congress has a variety of advisory questions asking citizens to gauge public support on various natural resource issues including a proposal to eliminate the back tag requirement for deer hunters, expanding the definition of artificial lights for predator hunting, possible changes to the concealment rule for waterfowl hunting, and a proposal to require the registration of non-motorized boats.

During the Conservation Congress county meetings, county residents have the option to run for a seat on the Conservation Congress and to elect delegates from their county to represent their views regarding natural resources issues on the Conservation Congress, the citizen advisory body to the Natural Resources Board and the DNR.

Also, individuals have the opportunity to bring forth new conservation issues of a statewide nature to the attention of the Conservation Congress through the citizen resolution process. Information about the spring hearing process is also available on the Conservation Congress pages of the DNR web site.

For more information on the wildlife rules, call Scott Loomans at 608-267-2452; for fisheries rules, call Kate Strom Hiorns, 608- 266-0828; and for Conservation Congress, call Kari Lee-Zimmermann, 208-266-0580.

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