Madison, Wis. – Today, Republican Legislators, Hunter Nation, a national grassroots organization of hunters and sportsmen, and Ted Nugent unveiled, in Wisconsin’s capitol building, legislation that would preserve and build upon Wisconsin’s sporting heritage. The Wisconsin Sporting Freedom Act is sweeping but commonsense legislation that protects the rights of hunters and anglers in Wisconsin, expands the enjoyment of our God-given natural resources, and recognizes the positive contributions outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen make to our state’s economy and way of life.
"This is common sense legislation that makes perfect sound science sense for real conservation families in Wisconsin to support economic development, more and better access to the outdoor sports and logical beneficial management of our natural resources," said world-famous rock and roll legend and Hunter Nation spokesperson Ted Nugent.
“The Wisconsin Sporting Freedom Act is a win for the state of Wisconsin because it prioritizes the economic relationship and historic partnership that a state has with its sportsmen and women,” said Hunter Nation President and CEO, Luke Hilgemann. “Anytime we can protect the rights of Wisconsin’s hunters and anglers, the state of Wisconsin is also a winner.”
“Hunter Nation is for anything that will help protect hunting and fishing, our lifestyle, and our heritage,” said Hunter Nation Founder, Keith Mark. “The Wisconsin Sporting Freedom Act does just that.”
Hunter Nation is also calling on the legislature to fully audit the Pittman-Robertson Fund to ensure that taxpayer dollars directed to Wisconsin are being used to benefit Wisconsin’s hunters in the most efficient way possible. Under the Pittman-Robertson Act, Wisconsin receives federal aid for the management and restoration of wildlife. Currently, there is no accountability for the DNR.
Below is information on each bill, from material released by the legislators sponsoring them:
Pheasant Management Bill
Sponsored by Sen. Rob Stafsholt and Rep. James Edming
- This bill would increase the minimum number of pheasants being planted to 200,000 and would improve the identification of the properties where the pheasants are planted, increasing access to hunting.
Turkey Hunting Simplification Bill
Sponsored by Sen. Howard Marklein and Rep. Robert Brooks
- This bill would modify administrative rules relating to the hunting of wild turkeys to combine hunting zones and seasons to just two zones and two seasons (down from the complicated and restrictive six seasons that makes it difficult for many hunters to participate), and to modify youth hunting restrictions.
Mentored Hunt Bill
Sponsored by Sen. Jerry Petrowski and Rep. Robert Brooks
- This bill would allow an individual to satisfy the in-person field testing requirement for the hunter’s safety program by participating in a mentored hunt.
Wisconsin Brook Trout Bill
Sponsored by Sen. Eric Wimberger and Rep. Elijah Behnke
- This bill would set a minimum number of 100,000 brook trout that would be required to be raised by the DNR.
DNR Regulation Simplification Bill
Sponsored by Sen. Duey Stroebel and Rep. Calvin Callahan
- This bill would require the DNR to eliminate three rules every time they propose adding another rule.
DNR Hunting License Categories Simplification Bill
Sponsored by Sen. Howard Marklein and Rep. Alex Dallman
- This bill would require the DNR to prepare a report that identifies ways to consolidate or eliminate hunting, fishing, and trapping approvals to reduce the total number of types of licenses DNR is required to issue.
Sandhill Crane Hunting Season Bill
Sponsored by Sen. Mary Felzkowski and Rep. Paul Tittl
- This bill requires the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to authorize the hunting of sandhill cranes by individuals who have completed a sandhill crane hunter education course and who possess the appropriate approval issued by the DNR to help manage the growing sandhill crane population in Wisconsin.
Constitutional Carry Bill
Sponsored by Sen. Mary Felzkowski and Rep. Robert Brooks
- This bill would guarantee Wisconsinites would be able to exercise their constitutional right to carry a gun under the rights already afforded to them by the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
DNR Habitat Transparency Bill
Sponsored by Sen. John Jagler and Rep. Clint Moses
- This bill would increase transparency and accountability by requiring the DNR to create a biennial work plan that establishes priorities and goals for habitat work on lands managed by DNR and measures progress on established priorities and goals.
DNR Public Lands Access Report Bill
Sponsored by Sen. Howard Marklein and Rep. Gae Magnafici
- This bill would require the DNR to prepare a report that identifies public access opportunities on all lands owned or managed by DNR, land acquired under the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson stewardship program, and open managed forest lands.
Dog Training Bill
Sponsored by Sen. Howard Marklein and Rep. Clint Moses
- This bill would require the DNR to make available on the Go Wild website dog training licenses. Currently, this license is not available there and that makes it harder for hunters to comply.
Aquaculture Partnership Bill
Sponsored by Sen. Howard Marklein and Rep. Alex Dallman
- This bill requires the Department of Natural Resources to prepare a report that identifies opportunities for partnering with the private aquaculture industry for increased stocking of desirable sport fish in lakes and streams.
Farm-raised Game Bovid
Sponsored by Sen. Patrick Testin and Rep. Jeff Mursau
- Under this bill, Wisconsin hunters will have an opportunity to hunt non- native bovids, some of which are already being raised on Wisconsin game farms. The bill requires farm-raised game bovids to be fenced in the same manner as farm-raised deer other than white-tailed deer.