The state Senate signed off on nine bills that Republicans introduced as part of a sporting heritage package, including legislation that would direct the DNR to overhaul turkey hunting regulations.
SB 610, approved 20-12 along party lines, would overhaul administrative rules to cut down the number of hunting zones and seasons for turkeys to two. Currently, there are six different turkey hunting seasons and seven zones.
The Senate’s calendar didn’t include some of the more controversial legislation in the 13-bill package. Those include ones that would require the DNR to eliminate three rules for every one the agency proposes, allow the hunting of sandhill cranes and allow Wisconsinites to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
The concealed carry bill has a public hearing on Wednesday.
The bills approved include:
*SB 563, 20-12. It would allow the hunting of non-native bovids such as bison, buffalo, sheep,
goats and antelopes on game farms without a license. The farm-raised bovids would have to be fenced in the same manner as deer raised at such facilities.
*SB 609, 20-12. It would require the DNR to increase to 200,000 the number of pheasants being stocked for hunting each year. It also would require the agency to identify properties where pheasants will be stocked.
Sen. Bob Wirch, D-Kenosha, called the bill a “con job to get more votes in the next election” because it didn’t include any state funding to cover the costs.
None of the bills on the Senate calendar included any funding.
*SB 611, 19-13. It would allow someone to participate in a mentored hunt to satisfy the in-person field-testing requirement for the hunter’s safety program. Sen. Dan Feyen, R-Fond du Lac, joined Dems in opposing the bill.
*SB 612, 19-13. It would require the DNR to raise and stock a minimum of 100,000 brook trout in Lake Michigan each year. Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, joined Dems in voting against the bill.
*SB 613, 32-0. It would require the DNR to prepare a report identifying ways to consolidate or eliminate the various hunting, fishing and trapping licenses the agency issues.
*SB 614, 29-3. The bill would require the DNR to produce a biennial work plan that lays out priorities and goals for work on lands the agency manages.
*SB 615, 28-4. It would require the DNR to prepare a report identifying public access opportunities for lands owned or managed by the agency, as well as those acquired under the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program and open managed forest lands.
*SB 616, 32-0. The bill would require the DNR to make available on its website dog training licenses.
*SB 617, 32-0. It would require the DNR to create a report identifying opportunities to partner with the private aquaculture industry to stock desirable sport fish in lakes and streams.