Debate over bear bill to expand hound hunting heats up

Discussion in 'Bear Hunting' started by Steve, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. Steve

    Steve Staff Member

    Debate over bear bill to expand hound hunting heats up

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    By Dean Bortz
    Editor


    Thursday, February 18, 2010 10:41 AM CST
    Madison - It remains to be seen just what the Senate Natural Resources Committee will do with a black bear bill that would expand hound hunting, but testimony last Thursday made it clear that many hunters want the Senate to slow down and allow the public to weigh in during the spring hearings on April 12.

    Assembly Bill 371 already has passed the full Assembly and went to the Senate Natural Resources Committee for a hearing on Thursday, Feb. 11.

    Before any action could take place on the Senate floor, committee chairman Sen. Jim Holperin, D-Conover, would have to call for a committee vote on the bill; it would have to pass the committee to move to the Senate floor.

    The committee accepted testimony from about 15 people who appeared at the Capitol on Feb. 11, along with at least four mailed or e-mailed comments.


    An executive session that would have allowed the committee to vote on the bill was not scheduled for that day. Nor had a session been scheduled for a future date, as of late last week, according to Liz Novak, committee clerk.

    AB-371 is being sought by the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) and the Hunters Rights Coalition (HRC). The bill would allow hound hunters to train their dogs during the September and October kill season, regardless of whether the hunters had a Class A kill tag.

    If they do not have a kill tag, the bill would allow them to train during a "catch-and-release" season just as they do during the July and August training season.

    The bill would not allow hound training during the one week each year that bear bait hunters are afield on their own.

    AB-371 also would make it legal for someone other than the Class A tag holder to shoot a bear. The "backup shooter" must have a Class B tag.

    The bill would create a "free hunting" weekend at some point during the summer training season so that novice bear hunters could accompany houndsmen for two days without having to buy a Class B license. Another change would increase the age for needing a Class B license from 12 to 16.

    One element of the bill was removed during Assembly action on AB-371. WBHA wanted to do away with the Class B backtag requirement, but acquiesced to concerns from DNR conservation wardens.

    Heating up

    Holperin's committee has been hearing from sportsmen quite often lately, thanks to AB-371 and a proposal to take all restrictions off of the spring turkey season (see front page story in this issue).

    The heat continued during last week's hearing as sportsmen offered up their opinions.

    Some of the buildup to the day spilled over onto the hearing floor as Scott Meyer of the HRC brushed into Wisconsin Bowhunters Association (WBA) president Wright Allen. When Allen was called to testify, Meyer left his seat and walked down the aisle on his way out of the room as Allen walked up the aisle to the committee. Meyer brushed into Allen as he passed and appeared to mumble something to Allen.

    Allen commented on Meyer's action to committee members.

    A couple of weeks prior to the hearing, Meyer and HRC lobbyist Bob Welch attended a WBH board of directors meeting. Allen said Meyer and Welch came to the meeting after they learned that Allen had contacted Rep. Ann Hraychuck to lodge his opposition to AB-371. Allen said he is a bear guide and outfitter and opposes AB-371. He said he contacted Hraychuck as a citizen, not as WBH president. Allen said he is also a member of the WBHA.

    "They came in and criticized me for opposing the bill. Scotty said I should have contacted him before calling Ann, and I said I didn't know that I had to check in with him," Allen said.

    "Then they said that if WBH didn't support the bear hunters on this bill, the bear hunters and the HRC would ask the NRA to back them to bring in crossbow hunting for deer during the bow season. They said they can move mountains in Madison and that we should back off and let this go through."

    Allen said he received a phone call from Meyer after the WBH board meeting that was much less pleasant than the rhetoric offered during the meeting.

    Meyer and Welch did not return calls from Wisconsin Outdoor News before press time for this issue.

    Carl Schoettel, of Neohso, is the WBHA vice president, and he has spent a lot of time working on AB-371. Schoettel said he was not aware of Meyer and Welch's comments to the WBH. Schoettel pointed out that while Meyer does do public relations work for HRC, he said Meyer is no longer a member of the WBHA board of directors.

    Schoettel said he would contact Meyer and Welch to learn more about the WBH meeting.

    Spring hearings

    When Conservation Congress Executive Council secretary Rich Kirchmeyer, of Prentice, learned of AB-371, he added the bill's original five elements as advisory questions to the April 12 spring hearing agenda.

    Kirchmeyer is a bear guide in Price County and opposes the idea of allowing hound training during the kill season for hunters who don't have a kill tag. Kirchmeyer said the spring hearing process will give more sportsmen a chance to register their opinion than would Holperin's Senate hearing.

    At last week's hearing, Allen, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, the Conservation Congress, and individuals asked the Senate committee to allow the bill to be reviewed during the spring hearings.

    Novak said Holperin did know that elements of the bill are on the spring hearing agenda.

    "The bill is not scheduled for a vote right now," she said.

    Good bill

    Schoettel said the expanded training opportunity is the most misunderstood part of the bill.

    "There is a lot of misinformation on this. We are not asking to be training during the week that bait hunters hunt on their own. We would be hunting when the Class A hound hunters go," he said.

    "We're going through the Legislature because we know how long it takes to go through the Congress and that's usually not an effective route. Our opponents so far are fellow hunters and sportsmen and I'm surprised at that. Any time we can increase opportunity for anyone to hunt more - I can't understand how anyone could oppose that.

    "There are not going to be any more hound hunters out there than there are now - we're not staying home now. You would see the same amount of pressure. We don't ask perfect strangers to go hunting right off the street, but we do find a (Class A) tag so that we can run," Schoettel said.

    "The angst about what is going to happen in the woods, I don't see that. Most people don't really understand what's going on out there," he said.

    "There's a lot of worrying about nothing, as far as what's going to happen in the woods. We just want everyone to get along and have opportunity."

    Correspondent Tim Eisele attended the Feb. 11 hearing and contributed to this report.
     
  2. I have nothing against hound hunters but this looks like it could create conficts with both bait hunters and hound hunters that have kill tags. Also what is there to prevent hound hunters that don't have a kill tag that are chasing a bear or have a bear treed getting a hold of some one that does have a tag to kill the bear. Then there is the back-up gun issue are they going to let the baiters have a back-up gun while tracking a wounded bear? To me it looks like a total nightmare for the wardens to enforce bear hunting laws with the proposals that are being asked for. As far as not being any more pressure if the hound hunters didn't have a class A kill tag or had used all their Class A tags they were done hunting if the Bill passes they can hunt the whole season. If there were rule changes that would benefit all Bear hunters not just a percentage of Bear hunters I would think that the rule changes that are being proposed would have a better chance at passing. The way it stands now it is all one sided and does nothing to benefit the other Bear hunters.
     

  3. Steve

    Steve Staff Member

    Yeah we need to remember that we are all hunters.
     
  4. Tom- I am a hound hunter. I am not fully in support of the bill either. Really though the part about allowing training in the harvest season may not make much of an impact. As it is now. Guys still hook up with other guys to run the dogs. So it may not make a difference in the number s of hunters out there. I can see where it may though take some of the pressure off some hunters, and give others a better hunt. THe reason for a better hunt is it may reduce the number of weekend warrior type guides.

    As for the back up gun. You are dead wrong on this one. This one is for everyone, and it is a safety issue. It would allow you to have a back up shooter as a bait sitter. When trailing a wounded bear this could be a matter of life and death!!! It's not going to give hound hunters a chance to shoot more bear. It's going to give everyone a chance to be safer. If a bad shot is made, a guns jams, etc. There is someone there with back up just in case. Nobody goes bear hunting in other states without one. Especially alaska. Even on safari there is a back up shooter. I don't want to shoot your bear. Yet, If I have to in order to insure the safety of you, or a humane kill than so be it. I know of wounded bear that got away because of no back up. I know of bear that went to waste because guys would not track one in the dark because of no gun allowed. As it is now. The DNR takes away your right to carry. Although I have had warden supervisors say that they MAY not issue a citation for a handgun, but would for a long gun. Either way it would be up to the warden. So if I carried a pistol with me because it is my right to carry. I could get a ticket for illegal hunting. This is not right. Just because I walk into the woods with a gun does not mean I am going to kill something. As it is now I don't carry a weapon at all with me in the woods. So if something goes wrong it's hand to hand with whatever it may be. Either wolf, bear, or rabid beaver. Does not make sense that I can walk through my town carrying my pistol, but cannot walk into the woods with it! The day comes and you are tracking a wounded bear focusing on the blood trail. You may be very glad I was standing next to you with a back up gun.

    I don't like the way they lumped all this together. As it is what is causing the problem.
     
  5. I agree with MR. White. The front part of the bill is not a factor if it passes or not. The amount of hunters and hounds out there will stay close to the same. Hound hunters as the season goes on will get contacted by bait sitters to help them fill their tags. Or the Hound hunters will watch the forums for people looking for help. Lot of the hound hunters just join up with a group that has a tag.

    I fully support the backup shooter part of the bill and can not explain the need for it any better than MR. White.

    I don't like the idea of this going to the spring hearings where fishermen and non bear hunters that don't have a clue voting on it. Why the anti hunters in Dane County can pack the house and put in enough non-support votes to over ride much of the northern counties grouped together with the attendance we have up here at the hearings.

    There is a lot of misinformation being handed out by the outfitters that guide bait sitters to defeat this bill.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2015
  6. Steve I do not disagree with the Back-up gun just questioned if it was going to be allowed for baiters too. The way it was wrote up it sounded like it was for the hound hunters only.
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Staff Member

    I can't argue against having backup ;)
     
  8. Why would members of the WBHA threaten people from the WBH to back a bill they don't fully support. The ones that want this bill are using threats. Nice. The thing I don't like is the people running dogs. In my area they have no respect for others property and trespass is no big deal for them. They tell you they can't control there dogs and then ignore you when you tell them to keep themselves and their dogs off your land. Maybe if these individuals would respect others property then they wouldn't get so much resistance. Of all the outdoorsman I have come in contact wiyth hound hunters ar the worst kind to meet.
     
  9. First on a Friendly note. WD, you call me Mr. again, and I will send a can of Sammy your way!:lol::lol: I got gray hairs, but damm man that makes a guy feel old!:tsk::tsk:

    Still on a friendly note- Tom, I suppose I did not explain things well enough, and you are most likely not familiar with hound hunting. The use of a back up gun is not going to allow a hound hunters to hunt!!! Even with the proposed law of allowing hounds to be hunted during the kill season without class A will not matter much. Back up gun aside for now!!( I will get to that again!) As it is now!!!! YES, RIGHT NOW!!! All hound hunters can hunt during the kill season. No way, it's against the law you say!! Read it again. So long as you are in contact with the tag holder. You can hunt bear on that tag!!! That is why I say it will not affect things and actually give tag holders a better hunt. As there will not be as many weekend warrior guides offering so called free hunts just to run the dogs!!! Even with the actual guides there is normally another group of guys in the area also running dogs on the same tag. I have seen as many as 5 packs of dogs on the ground all running on the same tag. How is that possible? hey are allin contact with each other. Mostly y radio, which is legal. it even states that in the rule book. So not much will change in that respect

    Now the BACK UP GUN!!! This is for everyone!! This does not just mean bear hunting. It means every single type of hunting there is. It's not a hound hunters vs bait hunters. It's citizens period! vs the WDNR!! The WDNR has been trying to dictate as a state agency what our rights as Americans are!!! A blatant infringement on our 2nd amendment rights!!!! Even the state laws say we have the right to open carry. Then the WDNR has the gall to say if we think you are pursuing a certain type of game, or are in the woods with a gun. That you are hunting a certain type of game. It is hogwash!!!! You are sitting on a bait and shoot a bear just before dark. You let it lay and go for help, just like with deer hunting. Come back and the only person allowed to carry a gun in the woods is the guy with a bear tag. What just happened? Did you enter the magic forest of travel to another country. As an american citizen I cannot carry a weapon to defend myself? Or, defend you? you got that light focused and attention on the blood trail. The bear charges out of the brush. Which is better, my 44 barking stop, or my yelling the WDNR says it's ok. This is not about baitsitters. As you have the same rights!!! or, in the case of the WDNR you have none!!! They as always feel they make the law! Trump the US constituion, and state laws for their own agenda. When it comes to bear hunting this is a huge safety issue. Just try to go to africa on a bowhunt for water buffalo without a backup shooter!! I bet you will be alone on your hunt. If the bear hunting does not scare you, or you think are thinking a bit laxed about. Please think again. I dance with them every year for fun. They are not wounded, and would not play games with a wounded one. Still think it is no big deal please come up in july or aug and hunt with me. We will see who can stand next to a tree when a bear comes down from it. Take it a step further and grab him by the balls!! I bet that bear is a whole lot more ticked off with a bullet in him then when you tickle his balls!!! I could be wrong about this, but 20 yrs+ of hunting bear makes me think different!!

    Heck, ever have to cut the throat of a deer after dark during the gun season? Only because the WDNR would give you a ticket for shooting it then. I have been bitten by deer during an escaped like this. God, help me if it was ever a bear! Well, him and flight for life!!!

    I am really not trying to argue about this. Just want you and many others to understand what is really at stake here. Both as a hunters, and citizens of the USA!!!!!
     
  10. I'll try and remember that next time MR. White! :evil:
     
  11. WD- :bowdown::bowdown::bowdown::bowdown:

    Beaver Creek- I missed your post. Have not seen any threats from members of any organization my self yet. I hope that is not true.

    Sorry, for your bad experience with hound hunters. There are always a few bad apples in any endeavor that make the whole group look bad. Most hound hunters are going to be some of the best folks you will run into. Most do respect private lands and the rights of others. I have more problems with deer hunters than anything else. Yet this does not make them all bad. Have yet to have a gun season where a few days, or even the season was ruined due to a few inconsiderate hunters.

    Sometimes I have to think every time we have a new law proposed. It is a way of the WDNR dividing the ranks of outdoors people. Every time we get separated by misunderstandings over a rule change. It gives the antis a little window to sneak in and take every thing from us.
     
  12. Steve,

    This is out of the Wisconsin Outdoor News that was posted in the first thread.

    Some of the buildup to the day spilled over onto the hearing floor as Scott Meyer of the HRC brushed into Wisconsin Bowhunters Association (WBA) president Wright Allen. When Allen was called to testify, Meyer left his seat and walked down the aisle on his way out of the room as Allen walked up the aisle to the committee. Meyer brushed into Allen as he passed and appeared to mumble something to Allen.

    Allen commented on Meyer's action to committee members.

    A couple of weeks prior to the hearing, Meyer and HRC lobbyist Bob Welch attended a WBH board of directors meeting. Allen said Meyer and Welch came to the meeting after they learned that Allen had contacted Rep. Ann Hraychuck to lodge his opposition to AB-371. Allen said he is a bear guide and outfitter and opposes AB-371. He said he contacted Hraychuck as a citizen, not as WBH president. Allen said he is also a member of the WBHA.

    "They came in and criticized me for opposing the bill. Scotty said I should have contacted him before calling Ann, and I said I didn't know that I had to check in with him," Allen said.

    "Then they said that if WBH didn't support the bear hunters on this bill, the bear hunters and the HRC would ask the NRA to back them to bring in crossbow hunting for deer during the bow season. They said they can move mountains in Madison and that we should back off and let this go through."

    Allen said he received a phone call from Meyer after the WBH board meeting that was much less pleasant than the rhetoric offered during the meeting.

    Meyer and Welch did not return calls from Wisconsin Outdoor News before press time for this issue.

    I'm sure there are good ones out there. It's been my luck to have to have dealt with the bad ones which seem to be all of them in Crivitz and Beaver area.

    By the way Steve, you live in one of my favorite towns.
     
  13. I just sent an e-mail to the president of WBHA to get his take on the above Quote. I think without getting the approval from WBHA that Scott Meyer of the HRC was just beating his chest and included the WBHA when he did not have the authority to do so. But I'll wait and see what Kendal has to say before I pass judgment on this.
     
  14. I really got to read the WI outdoor news more often. It really stinks that guys have to go about things that way. WD- may be right that mayer was just beating his chest. Seems a lot of folks speak out citing their membership of an organization as if they represent it. No good ever comes from it.
     
  15. Madison at its best and worst.