Conservation Congress meeting in Bristol low-key

A pre-emptive strike by the Department of Natural Resources on the unpopular Earn-A-Buck deer hunting program apparently helped make that a non-issue at the Kenosha County Conservation Congress meeting Monday night.

Instead there was some discussion about bow hunting during deer gun season and a combine upland bird hunting stamp. Also, an old local issue — mute swan erradication — again raised its head in the form of a resolution from the floor.

Conservation Congress meetings took place in every Wisconsin county Monday night. The questions asked and voted on by those in attendance are used to advise the Department of Natural Resources, the Natural Resources Board and the state legislature.

About 70 people attended the local meeting, which was held at Bristol Grade School.

Among the highlights:

  • Kimberly Roper of Rock Lake presented the only citizen resolution of the night. It asked the DNR to halt its mute swan eradication activities. The DNR has been shooting and otherwise removing mute swans, a non-native species, to facilitate the re-establishment of the trumpeter swan. Here’s Roeper reading her resolution (you might need to turn up your sound):
  • There was a little discussion about the first Earn-A-Buck related question, during which the DNR’s recent move to eliminate the program was explained. The program requires hunters to first kill an antlerless deer before earning the right to shoot the more sought after buck. DNR wildlife biologist Marty Johnson said, however, that the state’s action to eliminate to the program for the 2009 hunt doesn’t mean the unpopular program is gone forever. Earn-a-Buck will also be in effect still in chronic wasting disease zones, which include Kenosha County.
  • There was some discussion of a question about allowing bow hunting during gun deer hunting season. Some in the audience seemed to think it might be a hazard. But Johnson pointed out gun and bow hunting have been taking place in CWD zones without problems. David Lois,¬†of the county Conservation Congress delegation, said bow hunters would have to wear blaze orange just like hunters using guns.
  • A proposal to create an upland bird stamp drew some complaints that it appeared to be a way of requiring a stamp for species that currently do not require a stamp, such as ruffed grouse. Local congress representative Todd Knapp explained the proposal to combine the turkey and pheasant stamps and have it include others species is proposed for investigation by the DNR. If it proved to be a increase for most hunters, than it likely would not move forward, Knapp said. Such a stamp could provide funding for maintaining bird populations, Knapp said.


    National Park Service photo of ruffed grouse by Stan Canter

  • Knapp and Mike LaRose were re-elected to the congress without opposition.

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