Today, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has signed into law two important hunting initiatives. Assembly Bill 311, sponsored by state Representative Jim Steineke (R-5), and Senate Bill 411, sponsored by state Senator Terry Moulton (R-23), passed by large bipartisan majorities in both houses of the state legislature and will help preserve Wisconsin’s rich hunting heritage.
AB 311, the Hunting Heritage Act, will encourage the recruitment and retention of hunters and trappers through a many creative initiatives set forth in the bill. For example, AB 311 will reduce hunting fees to hunt small game, deer, and wild turkeys. Also, AB 311 will reduce fees and offer prizes for experienced hunters and trappers who recruit novices to share in Wisconsin’s hunting heritage.
SB 411 will authorize the state Department of Natural Resources to establish a season for the regulated hunting of wolves in response to the long-overdue federal delisting of this species from the endangered species list.
This delisting recognizes the successful recovery of the gray wolf population in the Western Great Lakes Region. Hunters have served as an essential tool for the management of wildlife throughout this country and SB 411 will create a framework for managing the state’s wolf population using this time-tested method. A scientifically-regulated hunting season will help to ensure balance between predator and prey populations.
SB 411 will allow a fixed number of wolf tags to be filled in a given year with half to be chosen by a lottery system and half by “preference points” given to those applicants who applied for but who were not issued a wolf harvesting license in previous seasons.
Thank you to Governor Walker for signing these bills into law and to the state Senators and Representatives who voted for them. Also, thank you to our members who contacted their state legislators in support of this pro-hunting legislation.