Hunting and trapping will be allowed in most Wisconsin state parks from Nov. 15 through Dec. 15 and from April 1 through the third spring turkey period, under a plan the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approved Tuesday, according to a Department of Natural Resources news release. In addition, deer hunting with a bow will be open Nov. 15 until the end of the archery season in early January.
The board modified and approved a plan the Department of Natural Resources presented to carry out a new state law – Act 168, known as the Sporting Heritage Act – the legislature approved last spring that expanded hunting and opened trapping on state park properties. The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, allows the DNR to prohibit hunting and trapping within 100 yards of a designated use area such as a campground, picnic area, or beach, or where there are public safety concerns, or to protect unique habitat.
The final proposal opens more than 62,000 acres, about two-thirds of state park properties, to some form of hunting and to trapping.
The DNR received more than 2,000 comments on a draft proposal that was presented to the public at five listening sessions across the state. In response to the public comments, the DNR moved back the opening date on some properties and closed additional areas around popular recreational trails on some properties to protect public safety.
The original DNR plan had proposed opening hunting and trapping from Oct. 15 through the Thursday before Memorial Day on most state properties, with an opening date of Nov. 15 on seven properties with a high volume of late fall visitors and horseback riders. The board amended the plan to open hunting and trapping on Nov. 15 on all properties and to close firearm hunting on Dec. 15, and then reopen hunting and trapping April 1 through the end of the third spring turkey hunting season, which ends in late April or early May.