Whitetails will have fewer no-hunt refuges inside city, village and town limits after Gov. Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 8 Thursday.
Also known as the Deer Collision Reduction Act, the legislation will allow bow and crossbow hunters — with restrictions and only if they have landowner permission — to target deer in places they couldn’t legally before due to local ordinances.
Current law generally prohibits a local governmental unit from enacting or adopting any ordinance or restriction that regulates hunting, fishing, trapping or management of wild animals except on land the local governmental unit owns or leases or unless state law specifically authorizes the local governmental unit to enact or adopt such restriction. Current statutes also specify that a local governmental unit may enact or adopt a restriction that has an incidental effect on hunting, fishing or trapping, but only if the primary purpose is to further public health or safety.
This new law, Act 71, provides that a local governmental unit may not enact or adopt a restriction that prohibits bow or crossbow hunting within the jurisdiction of that local governmental unit with one exception: it may prohibit a person from hunting within a specified distance, not to exceed 100 yards, of a building used for human occupancy that is located on another person’s land.
However, the bill specifies that restriction must provide that it does not apply if the person who owns the land on which the building is located allows the hunter to hunt with bow or crossbow within the specified distance of the building.
Under current law, no person may hunt within 1,700 feet of a hospital, sanatorium or the grounds of a school. AB 8 specifies that this prohibition applies only to a person who is hunting with a firearm.
Gov. Walker also signed AB 194, legislation to create a crossbow license and season to run concurrent with the archery deer season beginning in 2014. Though created as a permanent season, Act 61 will be evaluated after two years and season dates could change if the DNR believes it is necessary.
Browse, share big buck photos
State fishery crews will be stocking more chinook salmon in Door and Kewaunee county waters next year.
Wisconsin’s updated strategy for stocking the “kings” in 2014 and beyond — tweaked from public input on increasing the numbers in areas with the most targeted fall fisheries — is set.
It reflects newer research showing that chinook are highly migratory and that where the fish are stocked doesn’t affect the main fishery in the spring and summer.
However, location does affect the fall fishery when chinooks stage off river mouths, then run upstream to spawn, so DNR focused on striking a balance between providing opportunities along the coast and responding to public concerns to provide more fish where the angler pressure, harvest and economic impact are the greatest in fall.
Research shows that more than half of the chinook salmon in Lake Michigan are wild and that the fish swim all over Lake Michigan during the spring and summer. Some even come in from Lake Huron.
DNR fisheries supervisor for northern Lake Michigan, Dave Boyarski, says local fish managers will be working with angler organizations and others to help determine where fish go within a particular county if there is more than one port.
Southern Door County, or more specifically, Strawberry Creek, is set to get the most fish next spring at 120,000 fingerlings.
Kewaunee County — Algoma and Kewaunee — are next with 95,142, followed by Ozaukee County (89K), Sheboygan County (86K), Manitowoc and Milwaukee counties (each 83K), Kenosha County (just under 77K), Racine County (75K), Oconto and Marinette counties (69K combined) and Northern Door County (30K).
Fish and hunt news
Early ice anglers are walking out carefully at a number of nearshore locations to try to tangle with walleyes, perch, whitefish and pike on the bay and trout and an occasional salmon on the Ahnapee River.
There are a lot of shoves and thin ice areas on the bay, so be sure to check locally for the latest reports before heading out.
On the hunting scene, the antlerless gun deer hunt runs through Sunday afternoon before it’s back to camo and bow deer only through Jan. 5.
Canada goose hunting ends next Saturday in our area while pheasant and wild turkey hunting ends Dec. 31 and grouse and squirrel hunting Jan. 31.
Sky view of island
The Nature Conservancy’s recent purchase of a majority share of St. Martin Island — more than 1,200 acres of the island located about five miles north of Washington and Rock islands — will permanently preserve the rocky bluffs, cobble beaches, wetland and white cedar and sugar maple/white birch forests.
— Kevin Naze is a freelance outdoors writer. Call him at (920) 883-9792 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.