The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board proposes an order to repeal NR 10.02 (4); to amend NR 10.001 (23b) (b), NR 10.01 (e) 3. b. & 5., & (em) 3. a., 10.04 (1), NR 10.104 (9), 10.11 (2), 10.145 (5) (a) 1., 45.09 (2) (c), 10.28 (2) (a) and (g), 10.29, & 10.40 (3) (f) & (note); and to repeal and recreate NR 10.01 (3) (ep) 3. relating to wildlife management, hunting opportunities for the physically disabled, and deer management unit boundaries.
Analysis Prepared by the Department of Natural Resources
1. Statute Interpreted: In promulgating this rule, s. 29.014 and 29.053 Stats. have been interpreted as providing the department the authority to establish seasons and bag limits while ensuring public hunting and recreational opportunities and take a variety of actions in order to provide additional hunting opportunities for persons who are physically disabled.
In addition, s. 29.040 Stats. has been interpreted as granting the department the authority to establish County Deer Advisory Councils as part of the Deer Trustee Report of 2012. County Deer Advisory Councils (CDACs) establish deer population objective and deer management unit boundary recommendations
Finally, s. 29.192 (6) grants the department the authority to establish a year-round open season for hunting and trapping woodchucks that does not impose a bag or possession limit.
2. Statutory Authority: Statutes that authorize the promulgation of this rule order include sections 29.014, 29.053, 29.063, 29.192, and 227.11 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. This grant of rule-making authority allows the department to make changes related to hunting regulations.
In s. Ch. 29.053 Stats. the department is authorized to take a variety of actions in order to provide additional hunting opportunities for persons who are physically disabled. This includes establishing that antlerless deer hunting permits, which are normally valid only on public or on private lands, are valid on both public and on private land types for persons holding a hunting permit for disabled persons.
Sections 29.014, 29.063 and 227.11 Stats. grant rule-making authority to the department to establish seasons and bag limits for hunting that ensure continued hunting opportunities for citizens of the state and are compatible with the state’s chronic wasting disease (CWD) policies. All rules promulgated under this authority are subject to review under ch. 227, Stats.
4. Related Statutes or Rules: This rule is related to currently active Clearinghouse Rule CR 17-061 and department rules CS-05-17(E), WM-04-16(E), WM-03-18, WM-07-17 (E) and WM-08-17.
5. Plain Language Analysis:
Section 1 revises a cross-reference where public land is defined related to the use of antlerless deer hunting permits. The stewardship public access law is cross-referenced but the reference should be to the stewardship program generally in Ch. 23 Stats.
Sections 2 & 3 address the fact that additional metro subunits have been created and provides consistency between the archery and crossbow metro subunit seasons. It also re-establishes an October muzzleloader deer season on the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
Sections 4 and 5 remove woodchucks as a protected wild animal and establish an open woodchuck season in accordance with 2017 ACT 64.
Sections 6 & 12 eliminate the requirement for elk hunters to wear a back tag and repeal other notes and references to the requirement for deer hunters to wear a back tag. The deer hunting back tag requirement was repealed by 2015 ACT 222.
Section 7 relaxes the requirement to register harvested furbearers within five days of the month of harvest. The proposal would require registration within seven days of the month of harvest which would always include a weekend day that may be more convenient for some hunters or trappers.
Section 8 would provide that blaze or fluorescent pink is a legal alternative to blaze orange for ground blinds placed on department lands during firearm deer seasons and revise other sections of code where blaze orange is referenced. These revisions are needed for consistency with 2015 ACT 131 which established that blaze or fluorescent pink may be worn as an alternative when blaze orange clothing is required.
Section 9 corrects a map error in the La Crosse area and Eau Claire area metropolitan deer management subunits.
Section 10 corrects the turkey management zone map so that it is current with recent highway development.
Section 11 may establish that an antlerless deer hunting permit issued to a disabled person who holds a hunting permit under s. 29.193 (2) Stats. is valid for harvesting an antlerless deer on either public lands or on private lands. This would address a resolution of the department’s Disability Advisory Council.
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. Also, all of Wisconsin’s neighboring states have established management units for the purpose of managing deer populations.
8. Summary of Factual Data and Analytical Methodologies Used and How Any Related Findings Support the Regulatory Approach Chosen:
Current language establishes that privately owned lands purchased in part with assistance from the stewardship program are considered to be public lands for purposes of issuing and using antlerless deer permits and established harvest quotas in a unit. As the rule is currently, someone might be able to argue that stewardship purchases from the first version of the program established in the late 80’s are technically not public lands. The cross reference in NR 10 is narrower than it should be, referring to statutory public access requirements and lands purchased in previous two versions of the stewardship program.
Previously, only the owner or occupant of land, or a member of that person’s family, could hunt or trap woodchucks year-round on that land without a license. This rule would extend the ability to harvest a woodchuck to all people by making it an unprotected species in accordance with 2017 ACT 64.
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.