I recently joined several other legislators to launch a Sporting Freedom package of bills to preserve and enhance Wisconsin’s sporting heritage for hunters and sportsmen and women. We have developed a slate of legislative proposals that simplify hunting licensure and regulation, increase access to public lands and clear obstacles to encourage outdoor sportsmanship.

As a lifelong hunter, I am proud to work with Hunter Nation, a national grassroots organization of hunters and sportsmen, to develop legislation that addresses several major obstacles for hunters and sporting freedom. This package of legislation is about simplifying Department of Natural Resources (DNR) rules and regulations, so whether you’re a seasoned hunter, angler or new to the sport, you can be sure that you purchased the right licenses, permits or tags to be a part of the sporting culture in Wisconsin.

The package includes 13 bills. I am the lead author of five of these proposals. My bills simplify turkey hunting regulations, seek to reduce the number of different types of hunting licenses offered in WI, share more information about public land access, clear obstacles for dog trainers and encourage partnerships for sport fish stocking in lakes and streams.

Turkey Hunting Simplification Bill (LRB-3453/1), co-authored with Rep. Robert Brooks
This bill would modify administrative rules relating to the hunting of wild turkeys to combine hunting zones and seasons to just two zones and two seasons (down from the complicated and restrictive six seasons that makes it difficult for many hunters to participate), and to modify youth hunting restrictions.

DNR Hunting License Categories Simplification Bill (LRB-3452/1), co-authored with Rep. Alex Dallman
This bill would require the DNR to prepare a report that identifies ways to consolidate or eliminate hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses to reduce the total number of types of licenses DNR is required to issue.

DNR Public Lands Access Report Bill (LRB-3450/1), co-authored with Rep. Gae Magnafici
This bill would require the DNR to prepare a report that identifies public access opportunities on all lands owned or managed by DNR, land acquired under the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson stewardship program, and open managed forest lands.

Dog Training Bill (LRB-3454/1), co-authored with Rep. Clint Moses
This bill would require the DNR to make available on the Go Wild website dog training licenses. Currently, this license is not available there and that makes it harder for hunters to comply.

Aquaculture Partnership Bill (LRB-3451/1), co-authored with Rep. Alex Dallman
This bill requires the Department of Natural Resources to prepare a report that identifies opportunities for partnering with the private aquaculture industry for increased stocking of desirable sport fish in lakes and streams.

The other bills include proposals to increase the number of pheasants planted by the DNR to 200,000, apply mentored hunting to the field testing requirement for the hunter’s safety program, set the minimum number of brook trout raised by the DNR to 100,000, require the DNR to eliminate three rules every time they add a new rule, create a sandhill crane hunting season, guarantee constitutional carry protections for Wisconsinites, require the DNR to establish priorities and goals for habitat improvements on DNR lands and allow hunting of farm-raised, non-native bovids such as bison, buffalo, sheep, goats and antelopes.

The Sporting Freedom package of bills will be moving through the legislative process throughout the next several weeks as hunters return to the fields, set-up their stands and harvest wild game all over Wisconsin. I am proud to be a part of this effort to protect and defend our sporting freedoms and heritage. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this legislation.

For more information and to connect with me, visit my website http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and subscribe to my weekly E-Update by sending an email to [email protected]gov. Do not hesitate to call 608-266-0703 if you have input, ideas or need assistance with any state-related matters.

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