Archive for the ‘HRC’ Category

Hunters Endorse Walker

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

May 9th, 2012 – MADISON – Key members of Wisconsin’s Hunters Rights Coalition today endorsed Governor Scott Walker for reelection this June 5th.

The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA), the state political committee for Wisconsin’s Chapters of Safari Club International (SCI), Wisconsin FORCE – the chartered state NRA chapter, Whitetails of Wisconsin, and the NRA have all endorsed Walker as the strongest advocate for hunting, gun rights, and conservation that this state has seen for many years.

“Governor Walker has been incredible for hunters in his first year and a half in office,” said Joe Koback, chairman of SCI’s state political committee.  “He got rid of earn a buck, brought in Dr. Kroll to clean up the DNR mess, got rid of outdated gun case regulation, and appointed good pro-hunting people to DNR leadership.”

WBHA President Al Lobner agreed.  “Walker signed into law the Bear Bill which Governor Doyle had vetoed.  His administration has been 100% in favor of delisting wolves, and he recently signed Wisconsin’s first modern wolf hunting season bill.  He also made sure that stewardship land purchases are open to hunting, fishing, and trapping.”

“He is the most pro Second Amendment Governor we have had in my lifetime,” said Wisconsin FORCE President Jeff Nass.  “He not only signed a strong concealed carry bill into law, but he also supported and signed the castle doctrine, helping Wisconsinites feel safe in their homes.”

Whitetails of Wisconsin President Laurie Seale added, “Scott Walker has introduced a common sense approach to regulation of our industry and hasn’t panicked over CWD.  We strongly support his reelection.”

Lobner added, “Governor Walker also signed an historic wetlands bill which will guarantee the creation of many acres of high quality, huntable, wetlands over the next decade.”

“Wisconsin hunters should know that they will not find a better friend for our hunting heritage than Governor Scott Walker,” said Koback.

For more information please contact Joe Koback at 608 566 9534.

HUNTERS RIGHTS COALITION APPLAUDS FINDINGS OF KROLL REPORT YEARS OF BATTLING FOR COMMON SENSE DEER MANAGEMENT VINDICATED

Friday, March 30th, 2012

March 30, 2012 – MADISON – The Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition (HRC) today applauded the preliminary report of Wisconsin’s Deer Trustee, saying that it vindicated their years of trying to establish common sense, science-based, deer management policies for Wisconsin.

“The hide-bound bureaucrats in the cubicles at our DNR refused to listen to us time and again when we would point out that their science made no sense and that they were ignoring hunters’ opinions when it came to herd count, herd goals, unit management, and season structure,” said Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) Vice-President Carl Schoettel.

“Dr. Kroll and his team have confirmed what we have been saying for at least the last 4 years about the deer count,” said Joe Koback, President of Safari Club International’s (SCI) Central Wisconsin Chapter and legislative chair for the six chapters of SCI in Wisconsin.  “Once earn a buck came along, SAK was irreparably broken and the deer herd estimate had spiraled out of sync with reality.”

An SAK (Sex – Age – Kill) Audit Report done in 2006 showed that SAK was wildly inaccurate, but the department chose to put a happy face on the report and did nothing to change the way they counted deer.  The report concluded that SAK estimates were “within ± 121.9% of the true population level”.  This means that today’s estimate of 1.4 million deer could be 3.1 million deer or no deer at all.  “There is no way that science this indefensible should be used to come up with management strategies,” said Koback, echoing the report’s conclusions.

The report also calls the CWD eradication effort a “failure”.  “Again, we have been saying for years, by not taking hunter attitude into account, the CWD management plan has failed by every measure,” said Laurie Seale, President of Whitetails of Wisconsin (WOW).

The report also finds that rather than trying to work with landowners and hunters to develop policy, the DNR has taken the attitude of “we know best” and tried to impose its junk science on stakeholders.  “We have been insulted for years by so-called DNR experts calling us ‘barstool biologists’,” said Schoettel.  “Dr. Kroll is now saying that the best management practice for deer management is to actively work with landowners and hunters in a bottom-up approach.  I can’t believe it took an outsider to finally confirm what we have been saying for years.”

The department still has apparently not learned its lesson.  It was reiterated numerous times in Dr. Kroll’s report that the human dimension of deer management is as important as the science.

Yet just this week, on a vote of 6-1, the Natural Resources Board went ahead with developing a rule for an October antlerless hunt in the CWD Management Zone.  This, despite a compelling argument by board member Greg Kazmierski that the harvest of 1500 female deer during the 4 day antlerless hunt in the 8,873 sq. mi. CWD Management Zone was not worth the resentment it would create with hunters and land owners.

“It was the intent of the Legislature and the Governor that the ability to hold this early hunt by emergency rule would be used by the agency for a legitimate emergency for disease control,” Kazmierski stated before the vote.

Other conclusions of the Kroll report include:
1 – There is intense distrust among hunters about DNR deer management.
2 – The current SAK model for deer counting is a blend of science and value judgments that is impossible to defend.
3 – The three legs of deer management are populations, habitat, and people.  The DNR has focused almost exclusively on population and ignored habitat and people.
4 – There has been no study of forest management impacts on the deer herd
5 – Despite the fact that over 70% of deer habitat is controlled by private landowners, there has been no attempt to educate landowners on deer management.  DNR is only focused on regulation, not facilitation.
6 – Deer have been treated like a “pest” in the CWD zone, rather than the State’s most sociologically and economically important game animal.

“We hope that the Governor and Legislature work with Dr. Kroll’s team to address the finding of this report in a proactive way,” said Koback.  “We already hear that DNR staff are circling the wagons to avoid having to implement any significant change.”

The Hunters Rights Coalition is Wisconsin’s only group 100% dedicated to advancing hunting opportunities and protecting the rights of Wisconsin’s hunters.

For more information please contact Joe Koback at 608-566-9534.

STATEMENT ON SIGNING OF THE WOLF MANAGEMENT ACT

Friday, March 30th, 2012

March 30, 2012

The Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition (HRC) applauds Governor Walker for his plans to sign the Wolf Management Act on Monday.  We also want to express our thanks to many key legislators who helped draft the bill and shepherd it through the process including Rep. Suder, Sen. Moulton, Sen. Kedzie, Rep. Mursau, Rep. Rivard, Rep. Tiffany, and many others.

The passage of this bill represents the culmination of a decade of work that the HRC and its member groups have dedicated to returning the state to common-sense wolf management.

The grey wolf has been recovered in Wisconsin for over ten years.  The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA), Safari Club International (SCI), U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), and the National Rifle Association (NRA) – all members of the HRC – took the lead in pushing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to remove Wisconsin’s wolves from the endangered species list.

Twice before 2012 those efforts led to delisting.  Both times those decisions were challenged in court by radical animal rights groups.  Both times HRC member groups hired counsel and supported the delisting decision in court.  Both times those challenges were upheld on technicalities.  No other Wisconsin groups participated at this level.

Again last year we had to resort to threatening to file a lawsuit against FWS in order to issue the delisting rule.  As this delisting appears to be based on rock solid science and is not flawed technically, we are confident that the delisting will stand against the inevitable court challenge.

In order for Wisconsin’s wolf management plan to be successful, a wolf harvest season is necessary.  This bill is the result of many hours of work by legislators, their staff, DNR staff, and numerous stakeholders.

The bill creates a harvest season running from October 15 through February.  The season will allow both hunting and trapping and be open to both residents and non-residents.  A license will authorize the hunting of wolves using a firearm, bow, or crossbow.  Dogs to track and trail wolves will be permitted after gun deer season.  Night hunting will also be permitted following gun deer season.  The types of traps allowed by the DNR shall include cable restraints.

HRC believes that the wolf harvest season as created by this bill will lead to responsible, socially acceptable wolf number in the state – which will not only mean less wolf depredations, but will be in the best long term interest of wolf preservation.
For more information please contact Carl Schoettel at 414-531-2296.

STATEMENT ON WOLF DELISTING

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

December 21, 2011

Today the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officially announced its intent to delist the Western Great Lakes Wolves  (WGLW) from the endangered species list. Once again the efforts of the USFWS illustrate the success of the Endangered  Species Act in the recovery of the Great Lakes Wolf in Wisconsin.

Thanks to years of hard work from the Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition (HRC) and many like-minded organizations, the  gray wolf recovery is once again recognized by the USFWS. Member groups of the Hunters Rights Coalition filed a formal  petition seeking delisting back in May of 2010. This was followed by a letter of intent to sue the USFWS for failure to act in a  timely manner. This, along with the formal comments issued by the current administration of the DNR, has led to today’s  action.

“Prior to the recent support of the current DNR, I firmly believe that if the HRC hadn’t continued to push we never would  have seen this day,” said Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) Vice-President Carl Schoettel.

Wisconsin’s wolf population is estimated by the Wisconsin DNR at around 800 wolves. This is the most wolves ever counted  in Wisconsin and is likely the most Wisconsin has had since the 1800s. These numbers far exceed all population goals. 800  wolves is eight times the 100 wolves set as the recovery goal in the federal Timber Wolf Recovery Plan and more than twice  the Wisconsin management goal of 350. “We believe the delisting is based on sound science and reflects the reality that  wolves have recovered in Wisconsin and the rest of the upper Midwest,” said Safari Club International (SCI) Central President Joe Koback.

The delisting is especially important as it gives Wisconsin the tools to deal with such a large population. 2010 was  Wisconsin’s worst year on record in terms of wolf attacks on livestock. 47 farms experienced attacks resulting in at least 75  livestock animals lost and 6 more injured. In April of 2007 HRC partners WBHA, SCI, United States Sportsmen’s Alliance  (USSA), and the NRA filed as interveners and have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars collectively in attempts to  delist the WGLW. Twice the efforts of the USFWS to delist the WGLW were reversed as a result of lawsuits filed by animal  rights groups such as the Human Society of the United States (HSUS).

“Although we once again anticipate that out-of-state animal rights extremists will challenge this decision, we are confident  that the sound scientific basis used for the delisting will trump the uninformed emotionalism of the opponents,” added  Koback, noting that the sportsmen and farming communities would be united in trying to finally overcome all the artificial  hurdles erected by the previous lawsuits.

Groups involved in the campaign to delist include USSA, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Wisconsin Chapters of Safari  Club International, Wisconsin State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Whitetails of Wisconsin, Wisconsin  Firearms Owners, Ranges, Clubs, and Educators, and the National Rifle Association.

For more information please contact: Bob Welch 608-819-0150

HRC Applauds Governor’s Quick Action on Pro-Hunting Legislation

Friday, November 4th, 2011

November 4, 2011 MADISON – The Governor announced today that he will be signing two recently passed pro-hunting bills  – SB 228 and SB 75 – into law this afternoon.

The Gun Case Bill, SB 228, just passed through the Assembly yesterday. No longer will Wisconsin have the most restrictive  gun case law in the country. It is currently illegal to lay an uncased and unloaded firearm on the trunk of your car as you  tighten your boots.

“Thanks to the Governor’s quick action in signing this legislation, hunters will be able to exercise safer handling of their  firearms already in the 2011 deer season,” said Carl Schoettel, Vice President of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association. “Wisconsin’s gun case law has been completely impractical and has done nothing but penalize hunters for an irrelevant  action, giving Wisconsin the reputation of being unfriendly to hunters.”

SB 228 is very straightforward, allowing hunters to have uncased and unloaded guns, bows and crossbows in or on their  vehicle. Placing the firearm on or in the vehicle is often the safest and most practical place. Hunters should not have to put  their firearm in the snow as they get out their gun-case every time they get back to their vehicle.

The other bill being signed today – SB 75 – from Senator Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls) and Representative Tom Tiffany  (R-Hazelhurst), helps preserve the integrity of Wisconsin’s deer hunting seasons by permanently ending Earn-a-Buck and  making October T-Zone hunts into a rarity.

“We thank the Governor for recognizing that the intention of these programs was to help maintain our deer herds and all we  have to show for it is an increase in tagging violations thanks to inaccurate registrations and population estimates” said SCI  Central President Joe Koback.

The programs have been incredibly unpopular and the only measurable impact on hunting has been to turn some hunters  away from the sport. The Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) own statistics show fewer hunters are hunting and less  deer are being harvested while their own deer population numbers continue to grow.

The Hunters Rights Coalition is  Wisconsin’s only group 100% dedicated to advancing hunting opportunities and protecting the rights of Wisconsin’s hunters.  The Coalition is made up of several groups including: The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Wisconsin Chapters of Safari  Club International, and Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs, and Educators Inc.

For more information please contact our representative: Bob Welch 608-819-0150

HRC Applauds Legislature for Passage of Deer Hunters Heritage Bill

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

October 19, 2011 MADISON – The Deer Hunters Heritage Bill passed through Wisconsin’s Assembly and Senate and is now on  its way to the Governor’s desk, where it is expected to be signed without hesitation.

The bill, from Senator Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls) and Representative Tom Tiffany (RHazelhurst), helps preserve the  integrity of Wisconsin’s deer hunting seasons by permanently ending the embarrassing Earn-a-Buck debacle and making  October T-Zone hunts into a rarity.

The programs have been incredibly unpopular and the only measurable impact on hunting has been to turn some hunters  away from the sport. The Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) own statistics show fewer hunters are hunting and less  deer are being harvested while their own deer population numbers continue to grow.

“The intention of these programs was to help maintain our deer herds,” said SCI Central President Joe Koback. “All we have  to show for it is an increase in tagging violations thanks to inaccurate registrations and population estimates.”

Hearings have been held for the last three years in which hunters have expressed clear outrage over DNR deer management  in general and Earn-a-Buck specifically. At a 2009 meeting of the Conservation Congress all 72 counties voted  overwhelmingly in support of eliminating Earn-a- Buck.

Some opponents have said that the Legislature should leave legislating to the DNR and its board. This is not consistent with  our state constitution. The Wisconsin Senate and Assembly decide when to delegate and when to act because the delegation  hasn’t worked properly. In this situation the DNR staff had been unresponsive on earn-a-buck, until the threat of this very bill forced them to act.

The Hunters Rights Coalition is Wisconsin’s only group 100% dedicated to advancing hunting opportunities and protecting  the rights of Wisconsin’s hunters. The Coalition is made up of several groups including: The Wisconsin Bear Hunters  Association, Wisconsin Chapters of Safari Club International, and Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs, and Educators  Inc.

For more information please contact our representative: Bob Welch 608-819-0150

HRC Supports Sporting Heritage Legislation

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

October 5,2011 MADISON – Member groups of the Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition (HRC) strongly support the new sporting heritage legislation introduced by Representatives Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna), Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford), Roger Rivard (R-Rice Lake), and Senator Pam Galloway (R-Wausau).

The bill has several important provisions to positively affect hunting in Wisconsin. One such provision creates a “Sporting Recruitment and Retention Task Force” at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The task force will make recommendations to the Natural Resources Board (NRB) and the Legislature on how to better recruit and retain hunters.

“Any effort to recruit and retain hunters is always welcomed,” said SCI Central President Joe Koback. “It is something we at SCI think about on a regular basis and we’re excited by the possibilities of this task force.”

The bill also helps to ensure Stewardship land is open to hunting. The DNR would be required to prioritize Stewardship purchases that allow for hunting, fishing, trapping, cross country skiing, and hiking. Unanimous consent from the NRB would be needed if the DNR wished to purchase any land that didn’t allow for all five activities.

“The greater hunting community has been arguing for the appropriate use of Stewardship funds for years,” said Carl Schoettel, Vice President of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association. “This legislation should help greatly.”

The Hunters Right Coalition is the only Wisconsin organization dedicated strictly to protecting Wisconsin’s hunting heritage. Some key members include the Wisconsin Chapters of Safari Club International, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, and Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs, and Educators Inc.

For more information please contact our representative: Bob Welch 608.819.0150

HRC Submits Formal Comments on Wolf Delisting

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

September 27,2011 MADISON – Yesterday member groups of the Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition (HRC) submitted  formal comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regarding the proposed rule to delist the gray wolf in Wisconsin  and the Western Great Lakes from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The comments were submitted in  partnership with the United States Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation.

By every statistic the Gray Wolf has recovered. FWS cited statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources  (DNR) indicating a population of between 690 and 733 wolves in Wisconsin. The overwinter count for 2011 pins the wolf  population at 782-824 wolves. This is the most wolves ever counted in Wisconsin and is likely the most Wisconsin has had  since the 1800s. These numbers far exceed Wisconsin’s population goal of 350 wolves and even greater exceed the federal  de-listing goal of 100 total wolves for Wisconsin and Michigan, when within 100 miles of Minnesota wolves, as stated in the  federal Timber Wolf Recovery Plan of 1992.

“2010 was Wisconsin’s worst year ever in terms of wolf attacks on livestock,” said SCI Central President Joe Koback. “These  wolves need to be de-listed if Wisconsin is going to have the tools to deal with such a large population.”

47 farms experienced attacks resulting in at least 75 livestock animals lost and 6 more injured.

“The argument that there are now two different species of wolves simply does not add up, and we applaud the Wisconsin DNR  for explaining this in detail in their formal comments on the rule,” said Carl Schoettel, Vice President of the Wisconsin Bear  Hunters Association. “There may be genetic material from two wolf species in the Western Great Lakes region, but there are  not 2 distinct species of wolves living separately in the area.”

As was shown in the vonHoldt study released just after the proposed rule and other studies since, no matter how the wolves  are classified, they should be considered a “single wolf entity” and count toward satisfaction of the 1992 Timber Wolf  Recovery Plan criteria.

Gray wolf population goals have been met and exceeded. Please give Wisconsin back the right to manage its overgrown wolf  population.

The Hunters Right Coalition is the only Wisconsin organization dedicated strictly to protecting Wisconsin’s hunting heritage.  Some key members include the Wisconsin Chapters of Safari Club International, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, and  Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs, and Educators Inc.

For more information please contact our representative: Bob Welch 608.819.0150

Hunters Rights Coalition Applauds Creation of Whitetail Deer Trustee

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

September 23, 2011 MADISON – Wisconsin’s Hunters Rights Coalition strongly supports Governor Walker’s Executive Order to create a Whitetail Deer Trustee.

Announced earlier today, Governor Walker issued Executive Order #40, creating the position, something he promised to do during his campaign.

“Whitetail herd management has been a major concern in recent years,” said Carl Schoettel, Vice President of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association. “An independent expert will go a long way in restoring the hunting community’s trust in Wisconsin’s deer management practices.”

Ordered by the Governor and appointed by the Department of Administrations, the trustee is to be an independent expert with  scientific credentials and experience in Whitetail Deer management.

“After the embarrassing Earn-A-Buck program and questionable deer population estimates of recent seasons, it is a relief to see  a position being created to help ensure an objective, scientifically based look at Wisconsin’s deer management,” said SCI Central  President Joe Koback. “We look forward to the Trustee’s final report sometime between now and June of next year.”

The Hunters Right Coalition is the only Wisconsin organization dedicated strictly to protecting Wisconsin’s hunting heritage.  Some key members include the Wisconsin Chapters of Safari Club International, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, and Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs, and Educators Inc.

For more information please contact our representative: Bob Welch 608.819.0150