The questionnaire package for the 2014 Department of Natural Resources spring fish and wildlife public hearing and annual Conservation Congress county meeting and the list of meeting locations is now available for review on the DNR website.
On Monday, April 14, there will be 72 public hearings, one in each Wisconsin county, starting at 7 p.m. where people interested in natural resources management have an opportunity to provide their input by non-binding vote and testimony to the DNR and the Conservation Congress on proposed hunting and fishing rule changes and advisory questions.
The hearings, held annually on the second Monday in April, are combined with the county meetings during which attendees can introduce and vote on their solutions to natural resources related issues.
The spring hearings cover three major areas: elections for county Conservation Congress delegates; proposed wildlife and fisheries rule changes that have been developed largely through previous Conservation Congress meetings; and Conservation Congress proposals for future rule development.
Due to changes in administrative rule procedures, this spring there is only one proposed rule change to allow trolling statewide. There are additional fisheries advisory questions on creating catch and release seasons for game fish that would replace closed fishing seasons if there are no significant biological impacts; and a series of questions on possible rules for panfish and trout management.
There are wildlife advisory questions on transferring hunting and trapping permits, allowing foot cable restraints for furbearer trapping late in the season; and simplifying hunting and fishing stamp requirements.
Additionally, new this year, DNR wildlife staff will provide information and answer questions from the public regarding the implementation of the new deer hunting rules and how they will affect hunting opportunities in 2014 and beyond.
The Conservation Congress also has a variety of advisory questions asking citizens to gauge public support on various natural resource issues.
During the Conservation Congress county meetings, county residents have the option to run for a seat on the Conservation Congress and to elect delegates from their county to represent their views regarding natural resources issues on the Conservation Congress, the citizen advisory body to the Natural Resources Board and DNR.
Also, individuals have the opportunity to bring forth new conservation issues of a statewide nature to the attention of the Conservation Congress through the citizen resolution process.
To view the 2014 spring wildlife and fisheries questionnaire package or for information about the process search the DNR web site, dnr.wi.gov, for “spring hearings.”