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SECTION 2 establishes that the youth waterfowl hunting season will be held on September 15 and 16.
Section 3 lifts a sunset of special migratory bird hunting regulations at the Mead and Zeloski Marsh Wildlife Management Areas.
SECTION 4 relaxes the prohibition on hunting waterfowl in open water for holders of permits for hunters with disabilities.
SECTION 5 reestablishes a duck hunting zone that consists of the Wisconsin portions of the Mississippi River west of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad tracks. This is the same zone configuration that was in place for the 2011 season and has been approved by the USFWS for a five year period.
Summary of, and comparison with, existing or proposed federal regulations
Under international treaty and Federal law, migratory game bird seasons are closed unless opened annually via the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) regulations process. As part of the Federal rule process, the USFWS proposes a duck harvest-management objective that balances hunting opportunities with the desire to achieve waterfowl population goals identified in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP). Under this harvest-management objective, the relative importance of hunting opportunity increases as duck populations approach the goals in the NAWMP. Thus, hunting opportunity would be maximized when the population is at or above goals. Additionally, while USFWS believes that the NAWMP's population goals would tend to exert a conservative influence on overall duck harvest-management. Other factors, such as habitat, are to be considered.
Wisconsin Canada goose harvest is supported by 2 different Canada goose populations; the local giant Canada geese which are part of the Temperate Breeding Population (TBP) of the Mississippi Flyway provide about 40% of our fall harvest while the Mississippi Valley Population (MVP) that breeds in northern Ontario provide about 60% of the fall harvest. These 2 populations are managed under cooperative management plans developed by several states and provinces. The TBP population has steadily grown and management goals are to provide additional harvest opportunity and control population growth. In contrast, the MVP population has been on a slow decline so management objectives are to maintain a lower rate of harvest and have a stable or increasing population. These contrasting goals create a challenge in the development of hunting regulations. In order to improve our harvest management, the Mississippi Flyway Council tested the use of a standard season framework for 5 years while monitoring population size and harvest rates for the MVP and TBP. From 2007 to 2011, season lengths and bag limits for each MVP harvest state were unchanged. Each state retained the flexibility to schedule the timing of their Canada goose season. In addition, if the MVP spring population numbers dropped to a predetermined low level during the 5-year period, the stable season framework could be adjusted. At the winter 2012 flyway meeting, analysis of the impacts of these 5 years of stable regulation were reviewed and the results were mixed with regard to the management objectives. It was decided among the member states that a cautious and slow approach be taken toward continued liberalization of Canada goose hunting seasons.
The proposed modifications included in this rule order are consistent with these parameters and guidelines which are annually established by the USFWS in 50 CFR 20.
Comparison with rules in adjacent states
Since migratory bird species are managed under international treaty, each region of the country is organized in a specific geographic flyway which represents an individual migratory population of migratory game birds. Wisconsin, along with Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Iowa, are members of the Mississippi Flyway. Each year the states included in the flyways meet to discuss regulations and guidelines offered to the flyways by the USFWS. The FWS regulations and guidelines apply to all states within the Flyway and therefore the regulations in the adjoining states closely resemble the rules established in this rule order, and only differ slightly based on hunter desires, habitat and population management goals. However, these variations fall within guidelines and sideboards established by the USFWS.
Summary of factual data and analytical methodologies
For the regular duck season, a data based process called Adaptive Harvest Management is used annually by the USFWS and the Flyways to determine which of 3 framework alternatives best matches the current year's data on populations and habitat (data from the spring pond and duck survey). The option of a closed season is also possible if survey conditions indicated that this is necessary for the management of duck populations. The determination of which alternative is selected is based in part on the spring wetland conditions on the breeding grounds and the Mid-Continent Mallard population. These data come from the May Pond and Breeding Waterfowl Population Surveys conducted by the USFWS and Canadian Wildlife Service on traditional survey areas as well as surveys from select states, including Wisconsin.
In 2011, the USFWS gave our state the option of reconfiguring duck hunting zones and after an 11 month public input process Wisconsin implemented changes for a 5 year period. Waterfowl hunters appear to have been supportive of the new zone configuration and this proposal contains the same zone configuration that was in effect for the 2011 season. The department's position has been that the configuration of duck zones is an issue of hunter opportunity and satisfaction which does not have significant impact on duck populations.
The parameters of Wisconsin's regular goose seasons are guided by the Mississippi Flyway management plans for the MVP and TBP Canada goose populations and approved by the Mississippi Flyway Council and the USFWS. The health of these populations was measured with spring breeding population surveys, survival data and harvest rates obtained from banding and production studies. The surveys and studies are conducted annually and are supported by the State of Wisconsin as part of the MFC. The result of this work is reviewed annually by the MFC committee and the USFWS to measure the impact of the stable season framework trial period.
The primary elements of Wisconsin's waterfowl regulatory process include conducting spring waterfowl surveys, participation in MFC meetings, commenting on federal proposals, and soliciting input from the public. The state process begins with Flyway meetings in February and March each year where staff provide input to the development of federal framework alternatives and requests related to the early seasons. In spring and summer, breeding waterfowl surveys and banding are conducted in support of the regulatory process.
In early July, staff conducted a public meeting to solicit input from interest groups, including representatives of the Conservation Congress Migratory Committee. At this meeting, staff provided the attendees with breeding status information and asked for any items that they wish the department to pursue at the MFC meeting in mid July. Department staff then attended the MFC Technical and Council meetings. At these meetings, staff were provided status information and the proposed framework alternative from the USFWS. Department staff worked with the other states in our Flyway to discuss and develop proposals and recommendations that were voted upon by the MFC. Proposals that passed at the MFC meeting were forwarded to the USFWS for consideration by the Service Regulations Committee (SRC) at their meeting. The USFWS announced its final waterfowl season framework recommendation at the end of July. Department staff then summarized waterfowl status and regulation information for Wisconsin citizens and presented this information to the Migratory Committee of the Conservation Congress and at a public meeting (Post-Flyway Meeting) of interest groups and individuals on July 28. Staff gathered public input and citizen suggestions at those meetings for the development of Wisconsin's waterfowl regulations, given the federal framework. Public hearings were held from July 30-August 2 around the state to solicit additional input on the proposed annual waterfowl rule.
This rule will expand opportunity for waterfowl hunters with disabilities. Open water waterfowl hunting is currently prohibited on all but a handful of lakes in WI. A hunter who is “concealed" in emergent vegetation under current rules is not considered to be in open water. The concern is that those with disabilities may physically not be able to get into a smaller John boat, skiff, or blind and that it may be difficult or impossible to place an accessible boat or blind near vegetation capable of meeting the concealment requirements. This proposal will make it possible for disabled permit holders, and their companions, to hunt from a craft such as a pontoon boat, which may be impossible to conceal in emergent vegetation.
Closing migratory bird hunting hours early on managed public hunting areas in some states has been shown to provide good hunting across an entire property rather than just near refuges, hold ducks in an area for a longer period of time, and provide better hunting opportunities throughout the season. An experimental early closure has been applied at the Mead Wildlife Area in Marathon and Wood counties and at Zeloski Marsh in Jefferson. The regulation has been in place only during the early part of the season when hunting pressure is heaviest. The regulation has sunset after a three year trial period. There continues to be support for the special regulations and reauthorization by rule is needed for them to remain in effect.
Anticipated Private Sector Costs
These rules, and the legislation which grants the department rule making authority, do not have a significant fiscal effect on the private sector. Additionally, no costs are associated with compliance to these rules.
Effects on Small Business
These rules are applicable to individual sportspersons and impose no compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses, and no design or operational standards are contained in the rule. Because this rule does not add any regulatory requirements for small businesses, the proposed rules will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small businesses under s. 227.24 (3m), Stats.
Pursuant to s. 227.114, Stats., it is not anticipated that the proposed rule will have an economic impact on small businesses. The Department's Small Business Regulatory Coordinator may be contacted at smallbusiness@dnr.state.wi.us or by calling (608) 266-1959.
The Department has made a determination that this action does not involve significant adverse environmental effects and does not need an environmental analysis under ch. NR 150, Wis. Adm. Code.
Agency Contact Person
Mr. Scott Loomans, Bureau of Wildlife Management, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707 or by email at scott.loomans@wisconsin.gov.
Revised Notice of Hearing
(Original published September 30, 2013, Register No. 693)
Natural Resources
Fish, Game, etc., Chs. NR 1—
rulemaking_notices CR 13-071 CR 13-071
(There is no emergency rule number for this rule as the emergency rule has not been filed.)
(DNR # WM-11-13 and WM-24-13 (E))
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that pursuant to ss. 29.014, 29.041, and 227.11 (2) (a), Stats., interpreting ss. 29.014, 29.041, and 29.192, Stats., the Department of Natural Resources will hold public meetings on revisions to chs. NR 1, 10, 13, and 45, Wis. Adm. Code, related to deer management, hunting, and implementation of the 2012 White-tailed Deer Trustee Report.
Hearings will be held October 22 through October 31 at each of the following locations at the following times:
October 22
Eagle River
Northland Pines HS Auditorium
1800 Pleasure Island Rd.
6 to 8 p.m.
Eau Claire
DNR Service Center Conf. Rm
1300 W. Clairemont Ave.
7 to 9 p.m.
Park Falls
Park Falls High School Auditorium
400 9th Street North
6 to 8 p.m.
Prairie du Chien
Prairie du Chien City Hall
214 East Blackhawk Ave.
7 to 9 p.m.
Richland Center
Richland County Courthouse Board Room
181 West Seminary St.
6 to 8 p.m.
Schofield
D.C. Everest Middle School Auditorium
9302 Schofield Ave.
7 to 9 p.m.
October 23
Superior
Superior Public Library
1530 Tower Ave.
6 to 8 p.m.
Black River Falls
BRF Middle School/Lunda Auditorium
1202 Pierce St.
7 to 9 p.m.
Burlington
Veterans Terrace — Stars and Stripes Room
589 Milwaukee Ave.
6 to 8 p.m.
Fitchburg
DNR Service Center—Gathering Waters CR
3911 Fish Hatchery Road
6 to 8 p.m.
Horicon
Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center
N7725 Hwy 28
6 to 8 p.m.
Plymouth
Plymouth High School
125 Highland Ave.
7 to 9 p.m.
Rhinelander
James Williams Middle School, Auditorium
915 Acacia Lane
6 to 8 p.m.
October 24
Green Bay
NWTC Room SC 132
2740 W. Mason St.
7 to 9 p.m.
Wautoma
Wautoma High School Cafeteria
514 S. Cambridge St.
7 to 9 p.m.
Hayward
Hayward High School, Auditorium
10320 Greenwood Ln.
6 to 8 p.m.
Portage
Law Enforcement Center
711 East Cook St.
6 to 8 p.m.
La Crosse
DNR Service Center Room B-19
3550 Mormon Coulee Rd.
7 to 9 p.m.
Mauston
Mauston High School Auditorium
800 Grayside Ave.
7 to 9 p.m.
October 29
Ashland
Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center
29270 County Hwy G
6 to 8 p.m.
Baldwin
DNR Service Center, Conference Room
890 Spruce St.
7 to 9 p.m.
Clintonville
Clintonville High School
64 West Green Tree Rd.
7 to 9 p.m.
Florence
Natural Resources Center Conference Room
55631 Forestry Dr.
7 to 9 p.m.
Grantsburg
Crex Meadows Wildlife Education and
Visitors Center
102 E. Crex Avenue
7 to 9 p.m.
Janesville
DNR Service Center — Janesville
2514 Morse St.
6 to 8 p.m.
Medford
Medford High School Red - White Theater
1015 W. Broadway Ave.
6 to 8 p.m.
Pewaukee
Wildwood Lodge — Hudson Bay Room
N14 W24121 Tower Place
6 to 8 p.m.
October 30
Antigo
Antigo High School Auditorium
1900 10th Ave.
7 to 9 p.m.
Barron
Barron Cnty Government Cntr, Room 110
355 East Monroe Ave.
7 to 9 p.m.
Crivitz
Crivitz High School
400 South Ave.
7 to 9 p.m.
Dodgeville
DNR Service Center
1500 N. Johns St.
6 to 8 p.m.
Fountain City
Cochrane/Fountain City HS Auditorium
S2770 STH 35
7 to 9 p.m.
Oshkosh
Webster Stanley Middle School
915 Hazel St.
7 to 9 p.m.
October 31
Ladysmith
Ladysmith High School Auditorium
1700 E. Edgewood Ave.
6 to 8 p.m.
Darlington
Darlington Elementary School Auditorium
11630 Center Hill Rd.
6 to 8 p.m.
Appearances at Hearing
Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodations, including the provision of informational material in an alternative format, will be provided for qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. Please call Scott Loomans at (608) 267-2452 with specific information on your request at least 10 days before the date of the scheduled hearing.
Copies of Rule and Written Comments
The proposed rule and fiscal estimate may be reviewed and comments electronically submitted at the following Internet site: http://adminrules.wisconsin.gov or by searching the keywords “administrative rules" on the department's website. Written comments on the proposed rule may be submitted via U.S. mail to Mr. Scott Loomans, Bureau of Wildlife Management, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707 or by email to scott.loomans@wisconsin.gov. Comments may be submitted until October 31. Written comments, whether submitted electronically or by U.S. mail, will have the same weight and effect as oral statements presented at the public hearings. A personal copy of the proposed rule and fiscal estimate may be obtained from Mr. Loomans.
Analysis Prepared by the Department
Statutory authority and explanation of agency authority
Department authority to conduct a variety of habitat and wildlife management activities is established in ss. 23.09 (2) (b), (d), (h), (k), (km), and (p), Stats. These sections authorize rulemaking related to deer and deer habitat management and: plans and priorities for conservation, game refuges, cooperative forest protection, research, resources inventory, and disease control. These sections authorize many existing provisions of ch. NR 1 (Natural Resources Board Policy), 11 (closed areas), 15 (game refuges), and 45 (use of department properties), Wis. Adm. Code.
The primary authority to establish hunting regulations for deer and other species is established in s. 29.014, Stats. This section directs the department to establish and maintain open and closed seasons, bag limits, size limits, rest days, and other conditions for the taking of game that conserves the game supply and provides citizens with good hunting opportunities. This section authorizes many of the existing provisions of chs. NR 8 (license and permit procedures), 10 (game and hunting) and 19 (Miscellaneous Fur, Fish, Game and Outdoor Recreation), Wis. Adm. Code.
The wildlife damage and nuisance program and rulemaking authority are established in s. 29.889 (2) (b), Stats., which directs the department to establish rules for program eligibility and funding, methods of abating damage, forms and procedures, prorating claims, record keeping, audits, and inspections. This is the authorizing legislation for much of ch. NR 12, Wis. Adm. Code, related to wildlife damage.
Rules related to Chippewa treaty rights (ch. NR 13) are promulgated under general authority to establish hunting regulations in s. 29.014, Stats., and these rules are the department's interpretation of how laws must be interpreted or limited in order to comply with the general limitations on state regulatory authority expressed in Lac Courte Oreilles v. State of Wisconsin, 668 F. Supp. 1233 (W.D. Wis. 1987) and the specific limitations expressed in the regulatory phase of the Voigt litigation. (See e.g., Lac Courte Oreilles v. State of Wisconsin, 707 F. Supp. 1034 (W.D. Wis. 1989).
Additional specific rule-making authority was established by 2013 ACT 20, the biennial state budget. The Deer Management Assistance Program is created in s. 29.020, Stats., and the department is directed to promulgate rules and establish fees. In s. 29.040, Stats., the department is authorized to promulgate rules that implement recommendations of the 2012 deer trustee's report. Under s. 29.181 (4), Stats., the department is authorized to establish by rule the fee for a bonus deer hunting permit that is issued for use in a county or deer management area where CWD has been identified.
Statutes interpreted and explanation
Statutes interpreted or explained in this rule order include ss. 23.09 (2), 29.014, 29.020, 29.040, 29.181 (4), 29.889 (2) (b), and 227.11, Stats. In particular, s. 29.014, Stats., grants rule-making authority to the department to establish open and closed seasons for hunting and trapping and to establish other regulations. All rules promulgated under this authority are subject to review under ch. 227, Stats.
Related statute or rule
Board Order WM-24-13 (E) is the identical emergency rule companion to the permanent rule. That emergency rule shall remain in effect until June 30, 2015, or the date on which this permanent rule takes effect, whichever is sooner.
Board Order WM-01-13, the wildlife management spring hearing rule, WM-04-13, related to remedial and housekeeping updates, and WM-21-13, related to hunting and trapping in state parks, are currently being promulgated and may affect some of the same sections as this board order. Where possible, the department will choose only one board order to make needed updates. When it is necessary to modify a section that is also being modified by another board order, that will be indicated in the treatment clause.
Plain language analysis
There has been dissatisfaction with various issues related to white-tailed deer management and hunting in Wisconsin. Gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker made a promise to appoint a “Deer Trustee" to review programs. In October of 2011, Dr. James C. Kroll, officially known as Wisconsin's white-tailed deer trustee, entered into a contract with the State of Wisconsin to conduct an independent, objective, and scientifically-based review of Wisconsin's deer management practices. The White-tailed Deer Trustee's report was released to the public in July 2012.
The objective of these proposed rules is to work with sportsmen and sportswomen and other stakeholders in order to implement ideas and solutions from the Deer Trustee's report to forge a new age for deer management.
Sections 1 to 6 update Natural Resources Board policy so that the term “population objective" and “goal" are used consistently and for concise wording.
Section 7 creates introductory material that organizes the current ch. NR 10 as Subchapter 1 and prepares for the creation of another subchapter.
Sections 8, 28, and 29 establish that CWD management zones will be identified as CWD-affected areas and are based on counties and not the previous configuration of deer management units and portions of units. These sections also establish that the population density objective in CWD-affected areas or portions of counties in CWD-affected areas is to decrease the deer herd.
Section 9 creates a definition of “afield" for the purpose of establishing that a deer cannot be accompanied by someone other than the person who tagged it if the person who tagged the deer is not also present while afield, similar to current rules.
Section 10 updates cross references and makes a cross-reference to the law which establishes the archer license more general so that it will continue to be accurate if new statutes related to hunting with crossbows are enacted.
Sections 11 to 17 of this proposal establish the deer hunting season dates for gun, archery, muzzleloader, and deer hunting by youth hunters. The standard deer hunting season framework established in these sections is:
Bow & Arrow/Archery
Saturday nearest September 15 and continuing through the Sunday nearest January 6.
Youth
Two consecutive days beginning on the Saturday nearest October 8.
October antlerless-only firearm (occurs only in those units where CWD or other disease has been found, and only after promulgation of emergency rules pursuant to s. 29.016 (2), Stats.)
Four consecutive days beginning on a Thursday and ending on the Saturday nearest, but not later than October 15th.
Traditional firearm deer season
Saturday before Thanksgiving Day Holiday and continuing for 9 days.
Muzzleloader only
Beginning on the day after the traditional November firearm deer season and continuing for 14 days.
Holiday firearm deer season (South of State HWY 64)
Beginning on December 24 and continuing through the Sunday nearest January 6.
Noteworthy changes to current rule are that there is no longer a 4-day December antlerless-only, any-firearm-type deer season. These 4 days are instead added to the muzzleloader only season, extending that season from 10 to 14 days. This section establishes that a season commonly referred to as the December holiday hunt, beginning on December 24 and continuing through the Sunday nearest January 6, is an either sex season south of State Highway 64 rather than open only in the CWD management zone. For consistency with statewide firearm hunting regulations, these sections repeal the extended firearm deer season that had been established for Metropolitan deer hunting units. Metropolitan units would continue to have a longer archer season which continues through the end of January. This section eliminates references to state park hunting seasons which are no longer needed because state statute has established that deer hunting is generally allowed in state parks. This section retains language which establishes the seasons for certain state parks when it is still needed because the existing seasons are different than the general statewide seasons. Finally, this section eliminates state park deer management unit designations and limited entry state park deer hunts.
These sections establish a bag limit of one buck during firearm deer seasons and one buck during bow & arrow seasons, plus additional antlerless deer where permits are available.
Finally, these sections make a number of remedial changes for consistency with state statute related to the elimination of earn-a-buck regulations for the first buck harvested.
Sections 18, 19, and 22 update cross references related to sharp-tailed grouse, fisher, and bear management zones or subzones so that the deer management unit map in effect in 2013 continues to be the one cross referenced.
Section 20 restores the protected status of white deer in a CWD management area.
Section 21 repeals a cross-reference related to blaze orange requirements during deer seasons in CWD zones which is not necessary because blaze orange requirements are already established in statute.
Section 23 revises population goals so that they will be expressed as management objectives to increase, maintain, or decrease the deer population density in a management unit. This section also establishes antlerless permits and their allowable uses and methods of distribution. This section establishes a $12.00 fee for bonus permits which are issued for a CWD-affected area and a $6.00 fee for bonus permits issued under the Deer Management Assistance Program. Finally, this section establishes that one bonus buck may be harvested in units with an objective to decrease the deer population instead of just in a CWD management zone. The harvest of two antlerless deer is required first and there is a limit of one bonus buck per year.
Section 24 modifies the tagging procedures so that a deer possessed in the field must be accompanied by the person who tagged it, even if the deer has already been registered. Deer which have been registered may be transported on roadways or possessed at home by someone other than the person who tagged it, consistent with current rules.
Section 25 establishes that a harvest registration number must be printed on the carcass tag to show proof that a deer has been registered with the department.
Section 26 modifies deer registration procedures to allow telephone or electronic recording of harvest. The ability to require in person registration in a CWD area is retained if the department determines that is necessary at times. Deer and bear harvest must be registered with the department by 5:00 p.m. of the day after the deer is taken into possession. Registration requirements will be the same statewide for both firearm and archer harvested deer.
Section 27 establishes deer management units, including metropolitan units. The note in this Section also maintains the deer management unit map that was in effect in 2013 because those boundaries continue to be used for other purposes such as the basis for the fisher management zone map. [For purposes of rules hearings in October 2013, the department will be evaluating a map based on the consolidation of existing deer management units and an alternative proposal to use counties as deer management units.]
Section 30 establishes the Deer Management Assistance Program to assist with specialized management of deer in localized areas and for specific purposes. This section establishes fees and other conditions for participation in the program.
Section 31 updates a cross-reference related to establishing the harvest quota for tribal members in the ceded territories.
Section 32 repeals the requirement to obtain a special permit before hunting deer in a state park in the CWD management zone.
Summary of, and comparison with, existing or proposed federal regulations
These state rules and statutes do not relieve individuals from the restrictions, requirements, and conditions of federal statutes and regulations. Regulating the hunting and trapping of native species has been delegated to state fish and wildlife agencies.
Comparison with rules in adjacent states
All of Wisconsin's surrounding states use hunting seasons to provide hunting opportunities and to manage white-tailed deer herds. All of the surrounding states utilize a range of hunting seasons and allow the use of archery equipment, firearms, and muzzleloading firearms at certain times. The seasons proposed in this rule order do not vary significantly from the hunting opportunities that are available in other states.
Illinois: The Illinois archery season runs from October 1, 2013 to January 19, 2014 except that it is closed during the firearm deer season in those portions of the state that hold a firearm deer season. Illinois has two periods for firearm deer hunting, a muzzleloader season, and special CWD and antlerless-only seasons. The first firearm season in 2013 is November 22 to 24 and the second season is December 5 to 8. The muzzleloader season is Dec. 13 to 15. The special CWD and antlerless-only seasons occur on December 26 to 29 and January 17 to 19, 2014. A youth firearm deer hunt is open on October 12 to 14. All firearm hunting permits are distributed first through a tiered drawing system where residents have a higher chance of being selected for a permit than non-residents, then through a random daily drawing, and finally they are offered over-the-counter on a first-come first-served basis until the unit's quota is reached. Hunters who are eligible to purchase a hunting permit receive an either-sex permit and one bonus antlerless-only permit. There is no limit on the number of resident archery licenses that will be issued, and each resident archery license includes an antlerless-only and an either sex permit. Non-resident archery licenses also include an either sex permit and an antlerless-only permit, but are allocated through a lottery system.
Iowa: In Iowa, there are two archery seasons, two muzzleloader seasons, and two shotgun seasons. There is also an antlerless-only season, a youth hunt for residents, and a holiday season for nonresidents. The archery season runs from October 1 to December 6 and December 23 to January 10, 2014. The muzzleloader seasons run from October 12 to 20 (residents only) and December 23 to January 10, 2014. The shotgun seasons run from December 7 to 11 and December 14 to 22. The antlerless-only season runs from January 11 to 19, 2014, the youth hunt runs from September 21 to October 6, and the holiday season runs from December 24 to January 2, 2014. When a hunter purchases an `Any Deer License,' they are entitled to harvesting either a buck or an antlerless deer statewide. Hunters also have the option to purchase an `Antlerless-only License' which is valid for a specific zone in the state. The number of antlerless licenses available in any particular zone is determined by a quota system, and hunters are able to purchase these licenses on a first-come first-served basis until the quota is reached.
Michigan: Michigan has one firearm season, two archery seasons, and one muzzleloader season, as well as two antlerless-only seasons and a youth hunt. The firearm season run November 15 to 30. The archery seasons runs October 1 to November 14 and December 1 to January 1, 2014. Michigan's muzzleloader-only season is split into three zones with each zone's season occurring in December and lasting for either 10 or 17 days. The antlerless-only seasons run from September 21 to 22 and December 23 to January 1, 2014 and the youth hunt occurs on Sept 21 to 22. Hunters interested in harvesting an antlerless deer must purchase an antlerless license that is valid within a specific DMU for use on either public land or private land. In some DMUs, these licenses may only be purchased over the counter, whereas in others there is an application process and drawing.
Minnesota: Minnesota has one archery season, one firearm season that is divided into four separate zones, and one muzzleloader season. There is also a special archery season on Camp Ripley (a military base) and a youth season. The archery season runs from September 14 to December 31. The firearm season runs November 9 to 17, November 9 to 24, or November 23 to December 1 depending on the zone. The muzzleloader season runs November 30 to December 15. The special archery hunt on Camp Ripley occurs on October 26 to 27 and November 2 to 3. The youth hunt runs from October 17 to 20. Antlerless permits are distributed through a license lottery in “lottery" areas of the state. In “Hunter Choice," “Managed," or “Intensive" areas licenses are either-sex. Bonus permits for antlerless deer are available over the counter for use in managed and intensive areas.
Summary of factual data and analytical methodologies
Implementation of the Deer Trustee's report will result in establishing a number of new policies for deer management and hunting management compared to current rules. The primary policy alternatives evaluated in development of these rules are ones recommended in the report. Throughout this rulemaking process, the department and its partners did evaluate other policy alternatives as they were identified.
The full report is located on the Wisconsin Department of Administration's website at: http://www.doa.state.wi.us/section.asp?linkid=239&locid=0
Revisions to ch. NR 1 are minor and consist of an update to Natural Resources Board policy so that the term “population objective" and “goal" are used consistently throughout the board order and for concise wording. This rule order favors the term “objective" to describe the deer population level that management activities are designed to achieve. The terms “objective" and “goal" are very similar and “objective" is favored in this rulemaking because it was a recommendation of the trustee's report.
Chapter NR 10 establishes most of the deer population management policy and practices and hunting regulations that are in place today. Currently, ch. NR 10 establishes the Sex-Age-Kill model for estimating deer populations, deer population goals, and deer management units. These rules repeal that specific population model from the chapter. However, these rules do not prohibit the department from continuing to analyze deer populations using the Sex-Age-Kill model or others as methods of developing population information. These rules will replace the current population goals by eliminating numeric goals and replacing them with a simplified statement of objectives to “increase, stabilize, or decrease the deer population." These rules establish a set of metrics to monitor progress towards the objective. These rules significantly reduce the number of deer management units. These rules do not change the department's current requirement to evaluate deer management unit boundaries and population goals or objectives on a recurring three year basis.
Under these rules, the department will be able to modify antlerless harvest quotas and permit levels on an annual basis. These rules recommend that the department consult with groups or representatives for certain deer related interests in establishing quotas each year. Historical demand for antlerless permits has not been a factor that the department was required to consider in quota setting in the past but would be a mandatory consideration under these rules. Under this proposal, hunters in most of the state will continue to receive an antlerless deer tag with the purchase of a firearm or archery license. This tag will be comparable to the current “herd control unit" tag which is issued in units that are 20% or more over the established population goal. Under the proposal, these tags will be valid in any farmland unit. The department currently issues additional herd control tags for the cost of a $2.00 issuance fee but those tags will be discontinued by this rule. Under this proposal, the standard fee of $12.00, also the current fee for a bonus permit, will apply for all antlerless permits which are in addition to the one that was issued with hunting licenses. These rules also establish a $12.00 fee for additional antlerless tags which allow harvest of deer in the CWD-affected area. Under statute, $5.00 of the fee for these permits will be credited to an account for management and testing of chronic wasting disease. Finally, through the Deer Management Assistance Program, these rules allow establishing unique antlerless deer permits that are specific for use on properties enrolled in the Deer Management Assistance Program. A recommendation resulting from the public involvement process that preceded development of these rules was that the fee for bonus permits should be $10.00. That is not proposed in these rules because the bonus permit fee is already established by statute and the department does not have rulemaking authority to change it. Other permits, the fee for which the department does have rulemaking authority, are generally also $12.00 for consistency with bonus permits.
A variety of related hunting regulations changes are proposed in these rules. Many of them are simplifications to current rules. Changes include the names for permits and the allowable use of various deer permits. Deer carcass tags, tagging, and transportation requirements are modified where possible in order to simplify regulations or as opportunities will arise during development of new automated licensing systems. The current requirement to register deer is replaced in these rules with a more customer-friendly harvest reporting procedure using telephone or internet. Black bear are another species for which in-person registration of harvested animals is required. These rules will modify bear harvest recording requirements because deer and bear registration occur at the same locations and through the same process under current rules. These rules will eliminate deadlines to register deer and bear that currently vary by season, harvest method, and location. Instead, a simple statewide requirement to register deer and bear harvest before midnight of the date of harvest is established. This allows fewer hours to register an animal than under current law but electronic registration will be significantly more convenient. Faster registration of deer will provide the department and others who are interested with very timely harvest information. The shorter deadline may also help with enforcing bag limit restrictions. The option to require in-person registration of deer carcasses is preserved in areas that are part of a CWD affected area or where necessary for deer population and herd health monitoring purposes. The department could take advantage of this authority in order to collect tissue specimens for sampling for a wide variety of diseases or biometrics associated with deer populations. Finally, in order to assure hunter accountability and compliance with group bagging restrictions, these rules establish that a deer carcass possessed in the field must be accompanied by the person who tagged it. For practical purposes, this requirement is the same as current rules because in-the-field registration of harvested deer was not possible previously. However, now that deer could be registered while in the field, rules will continue to require that the person who tagged the carcass accompany it during dragging or other field transport. Deer that have been registered could be transported by other people on public roads or possessed at home.
Season date modifications will have the impact of opening a number of refuges, which are established in chs. NR 11 and 15, to additional deer hunting during the late firearm season that begins on December 24. These refuges are located primarily on department managed lands and most of them were established to provide undisturbed resting areas for migrating waterfowl. This deer hunt will occur very late in fall migration and will normally be after all waterfowl seasons are closed.
The department is recommending deer hunting season date modifications as a result of this rulemaking. While the report generally recommended that, “keeping seasons and bag limits consistent for longer periods of time would allow better assessment of management progress", it is challenging to discuss management system changes of this scale without considering season dates. These rules will maintain the current season for hunting deer by archery methods. This proposal maintains the traditional Wisconsin firearm deer season opener on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and 9 day structure. The current 10 day muzzleloader season is extended by four days under this proposal and this extended muzzleloader-only season will replace what had previously been a statewide four day any-firearm season for antlerless deer only. This proposal establishes an additional firearm deer hunting opportunity in the portion of the state South of HWY 64 beginning on December 24 and continuing to the Sunday nearest January 6. This holiday deer hunt occurs under current rules in the CWD management zone. It has been a low-pressure event but, for some, a greatly appreciated opportunity for additional deer hunting at a time when families are together and around which some new deer hunting traditions are developing. The late firearm season, or holiday hunt, is similar to seasons offered in other adjacent states and will occur during a time of the year when more residents are traditionally taking vacation or home for the holidays as in the case of veterans. Finally, only in areas that are part of the CWD season under current rules, archery deer hunting has been allowed on the day before the traditional 9-day firearm season opens. Under this proposal, the archery deer season will be open statewide on the day before the traditional 9-day firearm season for consistency with the rest of the state.
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