Annual conservation spring hearings set for April 8

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 DNR spring fish and wildlife rules hearings and annual Conservation Congress county meetings.
On Monday, April 8, there will be 72 public hearings-one in each Wisconsin county starting at 7 p.m.-where individuals interested in natural resources management will have an opportunity to provide their input by non-binding vote and testimony to the DNR, Natural Resources Board and the Conservation Congress on proposed hunting, trapping, and fishing rule changes and advisory questions.
The meeting for Lincoln County will be held in the Tomahawk High School Field House, 1048 E. Kings Road.
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 and the combined questionnaire is available for review by searching the DNR website 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:
•removing the northern bass management zone early catch-and-release season for largemouth bass, allowing the harvest of largemouths under existing size and bag limits;
•allowing motor trolling statewide, and
•shifting the hours to legally spear sturgeon on lakes Winnebago, Butte des Morts, Winneconne, 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.;.
Among the wildlife rule proposals under consideration 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 also apply to people who are training bear hunting dogs; and
•allow unattended, overnight placement of portable stands and blinds on Department owned 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.

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