Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Report of a Successful 2017 Convention

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

Bear Hunting Magazine | May-June 2017
WBHA Vice President, Lucas Withrow

Greetings Members,

I am happy to report the 53rd annual WBHA convention was another successful event. We started the convention on Friday where our entire board of directors worked very hard to get everything and everyone just where they needed to be for the duration of the weekend. Signs hung, tables set up, puppy room arranged, lots and lots of prizes and auction items logged in and put on display, followed by final details of the convention center.

After a few hours of preview Friday, we were headed to the banquet dinner where we were joined by some very important friends from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the state legislature. I’d like to thank Kurt Thiede, Deputy Department Secretary, Dave McFarland, Large Carnivore Specialist, Todd Schaller, Chief Warden, and also State Representative Kathy Bernier (Chippewa Falls, WI). We had a nice dinner and some great conversation.

Saturday morning came early, especially for those who took full advantage of the after hours entertainment. Before the doors opened we laid out and planned an 81-item auction for the main attraction of the day. As the doors opened we were busy immediately with membership renewals increasing by roughly 26% and new member sign up increasing by 45%. The selling of many different types of raffle tickets and the collection of the annual raffle tickets; we were all very busy doing our part for our members to enjoy.

We started the annual meeting with the very, very important pledge of allegiance to show appreciation and display our love for our free country and all it stands for. We then recognized some great iron clad bear hunters, Bruce Potter and Ronnie Schneider, and presented them an award for there accomplishments. Following that were awards for Jr Big Bear Recognition, Big Bear Recognition, field trial awards, and scholarship achievement awards from the WBHA foundation.

Next we took nominations for next years WBHA leadership. Our current president, Carl Schoettel, was nominated for president next year and several others were nominated for board of director’s positions for 2018.

Around noon, newly hired WI DNR Director of Wildlife Management, Eric Lobner, gave a speech about his perceived direction for the future of the department. We would like to thank him and wish him the best accomplishments in the future. Following that were several guest introductions from our lobbyist, Bob Welch. Our guests were State Representatives Bob Kulp (Stratford, WI), Pat Snyder (Wausau, WI), Adam Jarchow (Balsam Lake, WI), and our newly-elected very own Rob Stafsholt (New Richmond, WI). All gave powerful inspirations for the future and their intentions to support the WBHA for the benefit of the state and its hunting communities.

Then we were very fortunate to be able to give thanks to our veterans in the crowd by honoring them with a couple of offerings of our gratitude for their service to our great country. Thank you veterans!!

From there we talked about the importance of our membership where I stressed:
“If you enjoy hunting and hunting with Hounds then you should be supporting the WBHA. If you care to have a part or voice in the future of hunting in this state, then I would suggest you support a organization, with at the very least a membership, because the fight for hunting land, hunting rights, and hunting with Hounds is very, very real. The WBHA is the strongest hunting affiliated organization in the state of Wisconsin, not only because the number of members we have, but also because of our fierce determination to stay involved and informed on many issues regarding many activities. You may also know that we are one of the very few hunting affiliated organizations that have a state lobbyist to help us to stay involved and informed at the legislative level. We need to strengthen our organization not only with funding but most importantly with members. The more members we have, the larger our voice. The more people that we can reach with our unified voice, the better the outcome. The future of hunting and hound hunting will rely on the people of a unified organization to stand tall, be involved, and represent one another by being committed members of this organization. One by one! Side by side! We will continue to be the driving effort to not only sustain and expand bear hunting and training in Wisconsin but to also advise others abroad to become unified and do the same. Everyone does count! This will ensure that strength of the WBHA will continue to represent our passions for our sport!”

Then followed the annual WBHA auction given by our good friends Wayne Smith and Scott Gunderson. Thank you both so much for your devoted support to the WBHA. I’d also like to once again thank our members for the support they continue to bring to our organization. I would also like to say great job and thank you to all of the dedicated board of directors who continue to not only defend our sport of bear hunting but who also give their time and effort for our organization. I wish all of you good races with your hounds and successful hunts in your future.

WBHA Vice President,
Lucas Withrow

President’s Message

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

February 8, 2017

WBHA Members,

First I would like to thank all the members that made the WBHA annual spring convention a huge success. This would not happen without you and all the hard work helping sell Annual raffle tickets, plus the financial support and all the donations to the Membership and SOS Auction. Again thank you. I would also like to thank the BOD and members from the northwest, Adam Jarchow and The Welch Group and everybody else who helped pass the Hunter Harassment Bill.

The Annual meeting dates for next year will be March 24th and 25th at the Central Wisconsin Convention & Expo Center, we will have blocked a 100 rooms for Friday and Saturday at the Holiday Inn. Do not wait too long to reserve your hotel rooms.

The last thing that I want to mention is the Wolf Summit in early September somewhere in northern Wisconsin. It will consist of experts in wolf management, Legislators and citizens affected by the overpopulation wolves. There will be an expert in wolf management who will be our keynote speaker. After hearing from experts and legislators, we will hear from citizens from around the state who have had pets and livestock killed by wolves. The goal is to raise awareness about the wolf population in the Midwest and encourage the federal government to allow for state-led wolf management programs. And get these varmints delisted!! I will quote our friend Senator Tom Tiffany, “Wisconsin is not a wolf sanctuary and it is irresponsible to allow it to be treated as such”. We will keep you informed with more details as we get closer to the summit date in September.

Have a great and productive training season.

Carl Schoettel

WBHA Applauds Passage of Right-to-Hunt Bill

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

February 16, 2016 – Madison – Today the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) applauded the Wisconsin Legislature for passage of the Right to Hunt Act of 2016.

Last fall, Wisconsin hunters and trappers had run-ins with animal rights extremists which often involved harassment, interference, videotaping, and stalking-like behavior.

Under current law, it is illegal to interfere with lawful hunting, fishing and trapping. However, local law enforcement and DNR officials found enforcing the current law to be extremely difficult.

“When this bill becomes law, it will make the current hunter harassment law easier to enforce and will hopefully cut down on these dangerous encounters,” said WBHA President Al Lobner. “In addition, it will increase penalties to those engaging in this type of anti-social behavior.”

In Wisconsin, hunting is a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin. By interfering with hunting, fishing, and trapping, opponents are violating the rights of the people lawfully exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right.

“Hunting, fishing, and trapping are traditions in Wisconsin spanning generations,” added Lobner. “WBHA thanks the legislature for understanding the value of these traditions, and their willingness to protect them. We especially want to thank Representative Jarchow and Senator Moulton for authoring the proposal.”

This important piece of legislation now heads to the desk of Governor Walker for his signature.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp: 2014 Gun Deer Season—The rules have changed, but the tradition remains!

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

NOTE: To all of our members that deer hunt, here is a reminder of changes to the upcoming deer season from DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. You can download a PDF of the 2014 Wisconsin Bonus Antlerless Deer Permit Information for new deer zone details.

Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp

Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp

You talked, and we listened. Our goal in the months leading up to deer season was to bring hunters and landowners to the table, and we’ve done just that. As a result of these collaborative efforts, the rules have changed as we work to improve the experience for everyone who takes part in Wisconsin’s great hunting tradition!

With these changes, we hope to continue to grow our relationships with Wisconsin’s hunters and landowners. Below, you’ll find a few examples of how changes to deer management in Wisconsin reinforce our commitment to deer management and reflect the desire to get each of you involved.

  • County Deer Advisory Committees: To give each hunter a chance to participate in the management of Wisconsin’s deer herd, we created committees on a county-by-county basis to create plans for deer management based on your feedback. We think this change will provide a better opportunity for our hunters to play a larger role in key decisions made throughout the state. We’re through the first round of meetings and we’ve already heard some great feedback.
  • Deer Management Assistance Program: DMAP is a great tool that provides landowners with the resources they need to improve both their land and local deer herd through a great partnership with our forestry and wildlife staff.
    Simplified Deer Management Units: The old DMU system is out, and new this year is a county-based system. See the new map in the regulations booklet or on our website dnr.wi.gov keyword “deer.”
  • First Time Hunters: We want to encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the outdoors and the excitement of the hunt. This year, first time hunters can purchase a license for just five dollars. First time hunters should also check out the first deer certificate; a great way to commemorate a hunter’s first successful hunt, complete with picture and details of the outing. Search “first deer” on the DNR website.
  • Public Access Lands Atlas: The PAL Atlas is a great way to find public hunting land around the state. At the PAL Atlas website, you can either download the full version or individual maps for free!

With new changes come new opportunities. I look forward to continuing our partnerships with Wisconsin’s hunters and landowners, ensuring a great experience for all.

 

DNR Hires New Chief Warden

Monday, November 11th, 2013

In an email sent today on behalf of DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp, it was announced that the DNR has hired a new chief warden.

Good morning, DNR Partners,

I am writing to you today to tell you of a very important hiring decision we just made at the Department of Natural Resources. It gives me great pleasure to tell you the next DNR chief warden is Todd Schaller. This decision was not easy as we had excellent candidates. However, I have great confidence in the abilities and talents Todd possesses to take over this important leadership role for the DNR.

Many of you already know firsthand of Todd’s expertise and record of outstanding service to the DNR. I would like to highlight Todd’s impressive history as a conservation warden. A native of Bangor in the La Crosse area, Todd was raised by his parents to enjoy and to appreciate Wisconsin’s natural resources. He treasured hunting and fishing outings with his family. Todd earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He was hired by the DNR in 1989 and spent his first dozen years as a field warden in Racine, Trempealeau and Fond du Lac counties. It was during these years that his people skills and managerial talents became more apparent. He then served 8 years as a team supervisor for the Oshkosh Team. Four years ago, he was promoted to the position he holds today as the chief of the Recreation Enforcement and Education Section.

In the coming weeks, Todd will be working to make his transition into the chief warden position that will become effective December 17. He will be working closely with Chief Warden Randy Stark to make this a seamless transition to the bureau’s staff, to our partners and to the public. Please join me in congratulating Todd. This is a great day for the Bureau of Law Enforcement, the DNR and the state which depends upon the wardens, who truly are the DNR ambassadors in every community.

Lastly, I want to thank representatives from the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission Wardens, State Capitol Police, Wisconsin ATV Association, Clean Wisconsin, Wisconsin Bear Hunters and the Hmong American Sportsmen Club for participating in the selection process.

DNR Investigates Possible Wolf Attack In Minnesota

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

The WBHA has learned of a possible wolf attack that is being investigated by the DNR. The attack took place near the shore of the West Winnie Campground on Lake Winnibigoshish in north-central Minnesota.

From the article:

The teenager survived what the DNR called an “extremely rare” attack, but a wolf with a jaw deformity was trapped and killed in the area early Monday, said Tom Provost, regional manager for the DNR’s enforcement division in Grand Rapids. Rabies test results on the animal are expected Tuesday or Wednesday, he told reporters.

For more details, please read the article here.

HRC Applauds JFC on Stewardship, Kroll Report Implementation

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

May 17, 2013 – MADISON – Today the Wisconsin’s Hunters Right Coalition (HRC) thanked members of the Joint Finance Committee for their actions regarding stewardship and implementation of the Kroll Report.

“Knowing how concerned the legislature is with state debt, Wednesday’s actions by the Joint Finance Committee will help keep stewardship on solid footing moving forward,” said Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association Vice President Carl Schoettel. “It also ensures that less stewardship money will be spent on projects that are not open for use by all taxpayers.”

The Joint Finance Committee maintained the Governor’s recommended bonding level of $32 million for land acquisitions by both the DNR and NCOs. These lands are almost always open to hunting.

Wednesday’s motion also included the provision that two-thirds of DNR land acquisitions must be done through conservation easements rather than outright purchases. HRC member organizations have long thought it a good idea for the DNR to change its focus to easements and applaud the committee for including this in the motion.

The committee also voted to reduce Governor Walker’s proposed DNR Property Development and Local Assistance Grants budgets. These funds are rarely used to purchase lands open to hunting.

Road access to stewardship lands was also addressed. Too often land has been purchased with stewardship funds without any road access for hunters. HRC is very pleased committee members addressed these concerns.

Also important to Wisconsin’s hunting community, the committee voted to adopt and fund in full the recommendations of the Kroll Report. The HRC was the driving force to bring Dr. Kroll to Wisconsin and has been vocal in its support for the Report’s recommendations.

“Dr. Kroll’s report provided the legislature with a scientific assessment of how to better hunting in Wisconsin,” added Joe Koback, Legislative Chairman for Wisconsin’s Chapters of Safari Club International. “We want to thank members of the Joint Finance Committee for adopting and funding the recommendations of this important report, including changes to deer season management policies and the creation of a DMAP.”

WBHA and DNR Educate Bear Hunters on Baiting

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

The Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ Association and the DNR are working together to educate the bear hunting public and our members on bear baiting.

Note:  Please avoid using semi-sweet, dark, or bakers chocolate it can be toxic or lethal to bears and other wildlife, especially to cubs. While it is legal to use chocolate as bait, hunters are encouraged to avoid its use. Solid blocks of dark or bakers chocolate should not be used.

Wild Instincts Rehab

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Wild Instincts Rehab is an organization located in Rhinelander, WI. They are permitted by the state and federal government, but receive no funding from them. Their funding comes only from generous people through donations and memberships. The WBHA would like to give our members an opportunity to donate to this organization. To date, WIR has tended to 15 black bears, one of the highest number of species admissions according to their website.

You can donate by visiting their PayPal donations page.

You can learn more about this organization by visiting their website.

Wolf Management Act Update

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

The Wolf Management Act of 2012 – Update

Click here to download a PDF of the Wolf Harvesting Zones

Click here to download a PDF of the Wolf Harvesting Zones

The passage of SB 411 – The Wolf Management Act from Representatives Suder and Rivard allows for a Wisconsin wolf hunting and trapping season to help keep our fast-growing wolf population in check. We’ve covered the reasons for the wolf delisting in previous Bear Tracks. Now we have hard details on what the actual hunt should look like. The act includes many details on how the DNR is to set up the season.

  1. The annual season will start October 15 and run through February 28 and be open to both residents and non-residents. License fees are set at $100 for a resident and $500 for a non-resident. The permit application fee is $10.
  2. Assuming there are more applicants than licenses, the DNR must issue 50% of the licenses at random and the remaining 50% based on a cumulative preference system.
  3. The DNR must divide the state up into wolf harvesting zones to be identified in the DNR’s wolf management plan. A wolf harvesting license will authorize hunting/trapping only in the specified zone.
  4. The DNR may close a wolf harvest zone to hunting and trapping if it decides closure is necessary to effectively manage the wolf population
  5. The DNR may close a wolf harvest zone to coyote hunting during deer season if it decides it is necessary to effectively manage the wolf population. The DNR can also reopen it when it decides it is no longer necessary.
  6. A person who kills a wolf must register the carcass with the DNR on a telephone registration system or through an electronic notification system established by the DNR. The bill also gives the DNR the right to require the showing of the entire wolf carcass.
  7. A license will authorize the hunting of wolves using a firearm, bow, or crossbow. Firearms allowed in the bill are rifles, muzzle-loaders, handguns, shotguns, and other firearm loaded with a single slug or ball. The license allows for the use of shot that is larger than size BB.
  8. Dogs to track and trail wolves will be permitted. Dogs are allowed beginning with the first Monday that follows the last day of gun deer season and ends the last day of February. No more than 6 dogs in a single pack may be used regardless of the number of hunters assisting the license holder. While hunting with dogs, the person must keep any tag required for the dog on their person.
  9. Also permitted will be the use of predator calls including electronic calls and bait that does not involve animal parts or byproduct other than liquid scents.
  10. Night hunting will allowed beginning the first Monday that follows the last day of gun deer season and ends the last day of February.
  11. The types of traps allowed by the department shall include cable restraints.
  12. If a wolf is harvested that has an attached or implanted radio telemetry device, the device must be returned to the DNR. The person who harvested the wolf can request any information that has been collected by the device or otherwise by the DNR that relates to the harvested wolf.
  13. The transferring of a wolf license will be allowed but must be requested at least 15 days before the start of the season. It can only be transferred to a person who is at least 18 and otherwise eligible to use the license.
  14. The DNR will be required to submit rules to implement the bill to the Legislative Council no later than the eighth month beginning after the effective date of the bill.

July NRB Hearing

On July 17th the DNR’s Natural Resources Board (NRB) held a public meeting to discuss the new rule implementing the Wolf Management Act. No surprise, but the anti-hunters showed up in strength. They are threatening a lawsuit to try to block the hunting/trapping season. Despite our position that there should have been a higher quota, WBHA and our Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition partners testified and aggressively defended the season.

The NRB voted unanimously to forward the rule. The new rule simply codifies out what was in the new law. It also designates no hunting lands on tribal land and creates zones which can be seen on the map below. The board also approved the quotas and number of tags for the season.

The total proposed harvest quota for the 2012-13 season is 201 wolves with a proposed 2,010 tags. Remember, due to the Voigt decision, tribes can claim up to half the quota in the ceded territory. The quota is broken down by zone as follows:

 

Wolf Harvest Unit 2012 Winter Population Proposed Quota
Total 815-880 201