New DNR rules this fall will have an impact on the way Wisconsin hunters enjoy the upcoming season. Modifications recently made to existing outdoor recreational statutes will limit trapping and shooting on state lands.
In an emergency session recently, the DNR Board amended 2012 law to prohibit shooting from or across any trail or other property closed to hunting. Under new restrictions, discharging a firearm, air-gun, bow, or crossbow within 100 feet of a designated use area− a campground, parking lot, picnic facility, or hiking trail− is prohibited. A hunter on open hunting land cannot shoot across or over any such restricted area at a target on open land on the other side of the prohibited area.
Hunters will also be limited to the type of traps they may use. These rules are designed to protect animals not targeted by hunters. Under the new stipulations traps are limited to dog-proof and underwater traps. A dog-proof trap has a trip mechanism housed inside a recessed compartment to prevent being triggered by a canine. Underwater traps are specifically designed to catch prey such as beavers, protecting unintended targets.
The legislation in 2012 allowed broader access to other outdoor activities in state parks and similar public space as well as permitting the practice of trapping for the first time. The move was aimed at getting more people involved in outdoor activities.
DNR makes available to the public maps identifying all areas open and closed to hunting on any state property.
Hunting is allowed in Wisconsin April 1 into the first week of May. Gun and trapping season run from November 15th to December 15th, and archery hunting continues to run until early January.