Wisconsin Senator Introduces Two Anti-Hunting Bills

February 16, 2018 | by National Deer Alliance

Two bills were recently introduced into the Wisconsin Senate that shook the hunting and trapping communities. And rightfully so. Wisconsin Senator Fred A. Risser (D-Madison) introduced Senate Bills 774 and 775 on February 7. The bills would prohibit trapping and hunting, respectively, on all Wisconsin state parks.

The language of Senate Bill 774 states that “[n]o person may trap an animal in a state park by setting, operating, or otherwise using a steel-jawed trap, a body-gripping trap, or a snare.” Currently, “state parks are open to trapping by persons who hold the appropriate license, permit, or other approval from the Department of Natural Resources.”

Similarly, Senate Bill 775 reads, “No person may hunt on land located in state parks.” Currently, Wisconsin “state parks are open to hunting by persons who hold the appropriate license, permit, or other approval from the Department of Natural Resources.”

The largest issue these bills present is a reduction in access to lands to trap and hunt. Wisconsin has over 60,000 acres of state park lands. Eliminating trapping and hunting from this acreage is a huge blow to the state’s sportsmen and women. One of the leading causes for trappers and hunters giving up their pursuits is a lack of access to land to pursue these activities on. Many rely on state-owned lands, like state parks, to hunt and trap. There’s no doubt that Senate Bills 774 and 775 would result in a decline of sportsmen and women heading afield. The National Deer Alliance (NDA) outlines hunter access as one of its key focus areas. These bills directly and negatively impact access.

In addition to a decrease in participation, these bills would affect the Wisconsin economy. According to the Sportsmen’s Alliance, the average Wisconsin hunter spends over $2,800 per year, resulting in an overall impact of $4 billion to the Wisconsin economy. A loss of access would result in a loss of hunters and trappers, which would directly affect the economy of Wisconsin as a whole.

Additionally, The National Deer Alliance outlines predator and competitor management as one of the focus areas in its strategic plan. It's not a priority because we don't appreciate predators and the role they play in wildlife management; rather, we understand that careful management of predator populations is for the greater good of all wildlife, and people. Trapping is one of the most effective management tools for predators, including bobcats, coyotes and foxes, which are major predators of deer fawns. A ban on trapping on state parks would result in out-of-whack predator-prey balances throughout the state.

“I can’t imagine what Senator Risser hopes to accomplish with these bills, which seem to point to a larger anti-hunting agenda,” said NDA President and CEO, Nick Pinizzotto. “Wisconsin has one of the deepest hunting and trapping traditions in the country, and license buyers not only contribute significantly to the economy, they provide a great service to managed conservation as well.”

The National Deer Alliance opposes Wisconsin Senate Bills 774 and 775. These bills have a negative impact on sportsman access, the Wisconsin economy and Wisconsin ecosystems. We encourage you to write or call your local lawmakers to let them know that you join the NDA in opposing Senate Bills 774 and 775.