February 7, 2019
The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board proposes an order to repeal NR 10.085 (1) (g) and NR 10.13 (1) (b) 5.; amend NR 10.01 (4) (b), NR 10.06 (6), NR 10.08 (7) (e), NR 10.085 (intro), NR 10.09 (1) (c) b. and d., NR 10.145 (intro), (1), (4) and (6), NR 45.09 (5); to repeal and recreate NR 10.01 (4) (d); and to create NR 10.01 Table (4) (dg) and NR 10.08 (3) (b) (2m) relating to The 2019 Wildlife Management spring hearing rule related to hunting, trapping, and target shooting.
Analysis Prepared by the Department of Natural Resources
1. Statute Interpreted: In promulgating this rule, s. 29.014 has been interpreted as providing the department the authority to establish seasons and bag limits while ensuring public hunting and recreational opportunities.
In addition, s. 23.11 & 23.09(2)(d) grants the department the authority to regulate outdoor recreational use on state lands.
2. Statutory Authority: Statutes that authorize the promulgation of this rule order include sections 29.014, 23.11, and 23.09 Stats.
3. Explanation of Agency Authority: The chapter on wild animals and plants, in s. 29.014, “rule making for this chapter”, establishes that the department shall maintain open and closed seasons for fish and game and any limits, rest days, and conditions for taking fish and game.
The department is generally charged with the care, protection, and supervision of state lands by s. 23.11 Stats.
Under s. 23.09(2)(d) related to conservation, the department is directed to provide an adequate and flexible system for the use of outdoor resources in this state and may promulgate such rules as are necessary. These rules are necessary to preserve public opportunities to hunt with firearms on lands that have been acquired as areas where any citizen may hunt or trap.
4. Related Statutes or Rules: There are no currently active related administrative rules.
5. Plain Language Analysis:
Sections 2-3, 5-9, and 12 Changes the river otter framework from a quota/permit system to a bag limit/quota system.
Section 1 Allows trappers to keep incidental taken raccoons in beaver sets after the close of the raccoon season.
Section 4 Moves the close of pheasant season daily shooting hours on stocked public properties from 2 pm to 12 pm.
Section 10 Eliminates minimum barrel length restrictions for handguns that are used for hunting and minimum caliber restrictions on pellet guns used for hunting small game mammals.
Section 11 allows trappers to place traps within fifteen feet of a beaver dam.
Section 13 Regulates shooting on DNR lands in Rock County.
6. Summary of, and Comparison with, Existing or Proposed Federal Statutes and Regulations:
Federal regulations allow states to manage the wildlife resources located within their boundaries provided they do not conflict with regulations established in the Federal Register. None of these rule changes violate or conflict with the provisions established in the Federal Code of Regulations.
7. Comparison with Similar Rules in Adjacent States: These rule change proposals do not represent significant policy changes and do not differ significantly from surrounding states. All surrounding states have regulations and rules in place for the management and recreational use of wild game and furbearer species that are established based on needs that are unique to that state’s resources and public desires.
8. Summary of Factual Data and Analytical Methodologies Used and How Any Related Findings Support the Regulatory Approach Chosen:
This proposal would change the river otter framework from the quota/permit system to a bag limit/quota system. River otter are currently managed through a limited permit/quota framework. This system requires trappers to apply by August 1, includes a $3 issuing fee, and requires wildlife to coordinate mailing of durable tags to successful applicants. A quota is established annually, and permit levels are calculated based on average success rates over the previous 3 harvest seasons. Instead of a drawing and issuance of physical permits, an annual bag limit for river otter would be included with the purchase of a trapping license. Trappers would no longer be required to purchase/apply for an otter permit and would no longer be required to carry a physical tag.
Current law prevents the placement of traps, except enclosed trigger traps, at any time within 15 feet of any beaver dam. The landowner exemption does allow a landowner to trap on a dam, but this exemption does not extend to agents of the landowner. The United States Department of Agriculture-Wildlife Services can trap on dams as part of their beaver program as well. This proposal would allow both nuisance and fur trappers to trap on a beaver dam with written permission from the landowner.
Currently, shooting hours close at 2 p.m. on public lands stocked with pheasants during the pheasant season to allow staff to stock birds without hunters pursuing them straight out of the stocking truck. In some cases, due to staff limitations and other logistics, DNR staff must begin stocking pheasants earlier. This proposal would establish a noon closure on stocked properties to give staff more time and flexibility to stock while removing hunting pressure on the birds until the next morning.
Current law allows trappers, during the closed season for muskrat, to retain muskrat incidentally taken during the open beaver season. This rule change proposes a similar exemption for raccoon harvested in beaver sets, after the close of the raccoon season.
Target shooting is unregulated on DNR owned lands unless these lands are in counties listed Ch. NR 45.09(5), Wis. Adm. Code. There are no designated public shooting ranges in Rock County, a county with a relatively high population density and relatively flat topography. There is significant unregulated target shooting on state owned lands such as the Avon Bottoms Wildlife Area. This proposal would allow the department to regulate target shooting on state-owned lands in Rock County.
9. Analysis and Supporting Documents Used to Determine the Effect on Small Business or in Preparation of an Economic Impact Report:
These rules, and the legislation which grants the department rule-making authority, do not have fiscal effects on the private sector or small businesses. No costs to the private sector or small businesses are associated with compliance to these rules.
Links to Admin. Code and Statutes in this Register are to current versions, which may not be the version that was referred to in the original published document.