Hunters Rights

Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition

Along with many other Wisconsin hunting groups, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ Association is a member of the Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition (HRC). With the backing of these member groups, the HRC provides one strong voice to protect the rights of Wisconsin’s hunters.


HRC Applauds JFC on Stewardship, Kroll Report Implementation

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.”

Hunters Rights Coalition Reacts to Judge’s Mixed Ruling on Wolf Hunt

February 12th, 2013

Today the Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition (HRC) applauded portions of a Dane County Judge’s ruling on the use of dogs to hunt wolves. Last month, Judge Anderson issued an encouraging oral ruling and has since released his written ruling.

In the ruling, Judge Anderson vacated the temporary injunction blocking the use of dogs to hunt wolves. His opinion also stated that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had the authority to enact addition restrictions on the use of dogs to hunt wolves, but that the Court doesn’t have the authority to force the DNR to do so.

“When the legislature created the wolf hunt, hunting with dogs was always part of the equation,” said Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) President, Al Lobner. “We’re glad the injunction is behind us.”

Judge Anderson’s opinion also found that the DNR didn’t fully consider the necessity of additional restrictions when authorizing the dog training season, and invalidated the training rules. He said the DNR needed to be more thorough in their consideration for the rules to be valid.

“We’re very happy Judge Anderson upheld the ability to use dogs during the wolf hunt,” said Jeremy Rine, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF) in-house counsel. “However, we are disappointed with the training rule decision. We’ll be further evaluating the ruling to determine our next steps.”

The DNR has since stated they are in the process of crafting new dog training rules and hope to have them in place soon.

Several HRC member organizations and individuals filed as interveners on behalf of Wisconsin hunters. These include The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Safari Club International, United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, and The US Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation.

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, Whitetails of Wisconsin, and the State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

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

HRC Applauds Governor Walker’s Deer Management Initiatives

February 8th, 2013

February 8, 2012 – MADISON – Today the Wisconsin’s Hunters Right Coalition (HRC) applauded Governor Walker’s announcement of new deer management initiatives that will be featured in his 2013-14 budget proposal. The initiatives will be aimed at successful implementation of the 2012 Deer Trustee Report, something HRC member organizations have supported since the reports publication.

“Deer hunting in Wisconsin is part of our DNA. It feeds traditions and fuels a huge economic engine for the state,” said Governor Walker in a statement released earlier today. “My budget provisions create the infrastructure needed to implement the Deer Trustee Report to the fullest extent possible, ensuring Wisconsin’s standing not only as a national destination for deer hunting, but also a national leader in deer management.”

Governor Walker appointed Dr. James C. Kroll to be the state’s Whitetail Deer Trustee in 2011, and commissioned him for a scientific evaluation of Wisconsin’s deer management practices. The Deer Trustee Report was released in July of 2012 and included many recommendations that were immediately supported by Wisconsin’s hunting community.

“We have supported implementation of the Kroll Report since its publication last summer,” said Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association Vice President Carl Schoettel. “Today’s announcement from Governor Walker shows us how serious he is to make these necessary changes to keep Wisconsin’s deer hunting strong.”

“We need to take this package as a whole and give it a try. It’s the only way to restore trust with the Wisconsin hunter,” said Joe Koback, Legislative Chairman for Wisconsin’s Chapters of Safari Club International.

Among the report’s key recommendations that will be budget provisions a new program – Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP). It would start by providing management assistance to land owners so they can maximize the potential habitat of their parcel. The concept then spreads to the county and regional level, in essence replacing the top down, numbers based management system we now have with a local consensus driven process balancing the needs of hunters, farmers, woodlands owners, and local communities.

“We need to get away from an SAK-based system,” said Koback, “The Kroll report is a blueprint for major reform of deer management in this state. We should move as quickly as possible to full implementation.”

HRC has been advocating for an overhaul of Wisconsin’s deer management system for several years and has been in the forefront in the development and implementation of the 2012 Deer Trustee report.

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, Whitetails of Wisconsin, the State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs, and Educators Inc, and the National Rifle Association.

HRC Applauds Governor Walker For Suspending October Deer Hunt

August 24th, 2012

MADISON – Today the Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition (HRC) applauded Governor Scott Walker for suspending a proposed October Hunt in the Wisconsin’s CWD Zone.

The Governor followed the recommendations from Wisconsin deer trustee Dr. Kroll and his team.  In the report, they recommend taking a more relaxed approach to CWD and increased efforts to get more hunter and landowner buy-in for deer management.

“Hunters in the CWD Zone deserve to be treated just like everyone else in the state,” said Joe Koback, Legislative Chair for Wisconsin’s Safari Club International (SCI) Chapters.  “Dr. Kroll’s report says we should be listening to hunters, and putting a stop to these pointless October hunts is exactly what they have been asking for.”

Carl Schoettel, Vice-President of Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) said, “After spending tens of millions of dollars and seeing no results, we needed a change of plans.”

Dr. Kroll’s report also states that a major goal of reform has to be making hunting fun again for the thousands who may have walked away from the sport after a series of disappointing deer seasons.

“Governor Walker has consistently shown that he listens to hunters,” said Schoettel.  “Today he listened to hunters and the new deer trustee by stopping a pending rule which relied on the old way of thinking.”

Koback added, “Governor Walker has the thanks of all Wisconsin hunters for his support of restructuring deer management.”

In addition, the HRC supports full implementation of the entire Kroll Report in as expeditious a time frame as possible.

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, Whitetails of Wisconsin, the State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs, and Educators Inc, and the National Rifle Association.
For more information please contact our representative:  Bob Welch 608-819-0150

HRC Calls for No Extra Hunts in CWD Zone

August 14th, 2012

August 13, 2011  MADISON – Today the Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition (HRC) called upon Governor Scott Walker to stop a proposed October T-Zone Hunt in the Wisconsin’s CWD Zone.

The request is based upon the recent report from Wisconsin deer trustee Dr. Kroll and his team.  In the report, they recommend taking a more relaxed approach to CWD and increased efforts to get more hunter and landowner buy-in for deer management.

“Hunters in the CWD Zone deserve to be treated just like everyone else in the state,” said Joe Koback, Legislative Chair for Wisconsin’s Safari Club International (SCI) Chapters.  “Dr. Kroll’s report says we should be listening to hunters, and putting a stop to these pointless October hunts is exactly what they have been asking for.”

Carl Schoettel, Vice-President of Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) said, “After spending tens of millions of dollars and seeing no results, we need a change in plan.  Our opinions should matter.”

Dr. Kroll’s report also states that a major goal of reform has to be making hunting fun again for the thousands who may have walked away from the sport after a series of disappointing deer seasons.

“Governor Walker has shown that he does listen to hunters,” said Schoettel.  “We are calling on him to stop this pending rule which relies on the old way of thinking instead of listening to hunters and the new deer trustee.”

Koback added, “Governor Walker has the thanks of all Wisconsin hunters for his support of restructuring deer management.  In southwestern Wisconsin that means we’ve had enough of the extraordinary measures to eradicate deer.”

In addition, the HRC supports full implementation of the entire Kroll Report in as expeditious a time frame as possible.

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, Whitetails of Wisconsin, the State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs, and Educators Inc, and the National Rifle Association.

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

HRC Applauds DNR’s Quick Action on Kroll Report

July 31st, 2012

July 31, 2012 – MADISON – Today Wisconsin’s Hunters Right Coalition (HRC) applauded the quick action that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is taking to implement the findings of Dr. Kroll. Dr. Kroll was appointed by Governor Walker to conduct an independent review of deer management in the state. Today was the first meeting of a stakeholder group convened to review the recommendations of the review team.

“Secretary Stepp and her team have pushed forward with implementation, today taking the necessary first step of getting input from all stakeholder groups,” said Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association Vice President Carl Schoettel. “We know that bureaucracies tend to oppose any change, and we know it will take a concerted effort to make the vision of Dr. Kroll a reality. Stepp and her team seem very sincere in moving Wisconsin in a totally new direction.”

“Those attending the stakeholder meeting really seemed to be in consensus that the Kroll report should be implemented in its entirety,” said Joe Koback, Legislative Chairman for Wisconsin’s Chapters of Safari Club International. “We need to take this package as a whole and give it a try. It’s the only way to restore trust with the Wisconsin hunter.”

Among the key recommendations discussed today was the implementation of a new program – Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP). It would start by providing management assistance to land owners so they can maximize the potential habitat of their parcel. The concept then spreads to the county and regional level, in essence replacing the top down, numbers based management system we now have with a local consensus driven process balancing the needs of hunters, farmers, woodlands owners, and local communities.

“We need to get away from an SAK-based system,” said Koback, “simply because if the hunter is happy and the farmers and foresters aren’t seeing unacceptable browsing by deer, then we don’t have a problem. Who cares what the deer ‘count’ says?”

Simplification of deer rules was another theme of the meeting. “Hunting needs to be fun or you are losing hunters,” said Schoettel. “We should follow Dr. Kroll’s recommendation to eliminate the hated Deer Management Unit and instead follow county lines and even group several counties together in regions.”

Schoettel added, “the only way this will work is having more ‘boots on the ground’ with DNR personnel out in the field working with landowners, instead of sitting in cubicles in Madison dictating hunting rules.”

“The Kroll report is a blueprint for major reform of deer management in this state. We should move as quickly as possible to full implementation,” concluded Koback.

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, Whitetails of Wisconsin, Wisconsin FORCE, and the National Rifle Association.

For more information please contact our representative Bob Welch 608.819.0150.

HRC APPLAUDS DNR AND WISCONSIN LEGISLATURE FOR WOLF SEASON

July 31st, 2012

July 31, 2012 – MADISON – On the eve of the wolf hunting application period start date, the Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition (HRC) today applauded the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) leadership and staff, the Natural Resources Board (NRB), Wolf Management Act authors Representative Scott Suder and Senator Terry Moulton, and the Wisconsin Legislature for all their hard work in creating the upcoming wolf hunting season.

“After years of fighting just to get wolves delisted, it’s great to know that in less than 24 hours we can finally apply for permits,” said Joe Koback, chairman of the state’s Safari Club Chapters Legislative Committee. “We couldn’t have gotten to this point without all the hard work put in at the DNR, NRB, and in the offices of our state capitol.”

The application period for a wolf hunting permit opens tomorrow and goes through August 31st. Interested hunters and trappers can apply through an authorized license agent, on the DNR website, or over the phone. The application fee is $10, and will enter you into a drawing held soon after the application period ends.

“Wolf numbers have been well above their delisting number for years,” said Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association President Al Lobner. “Thanks to the efforts of these individuals, Wisconsin can finally manage the wolf population responsibly.”

“The recovery of the wolf in Wisconsin is a great success story. No one has provided more support for this recovery effort than Wisconsin hunters,” added Koback.

Since 2006, over $2 million for wolf recovery efforts have come from Pittman-Robertson funds. These funds are generated from a fee on all gun and ammo sales.

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, the State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Wisconsin FORCE, and the National Rifle Association.

For more information please contact our representative Bob Welch 608.819.0150

HUNTERS RIGHTS COALITION STATEMENT ON DEER TRUSTEE RUMORS

May 31st, 2012

May 31, 2012

In recent days, chain emails and uninformed bloggers have made outrageous claims regarding Wisconsin’s Deer Trustee Dr. James C. Kroll, some going so far as to suggest Governor Walker and Dr. Kroll would privatize public hunting lands in Wisconsin. The Hunters Rights Coalition would like to go on the record and state that NONE of these claims have any validity.

“These claims are completely baseless,” said Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association President Al Lobner.  “As someone who has closely followed everything Dr. Kroll has done in his time in Wisconsin, there is absolutely no reason to believe he or Governor Walker has any wish to privatize hunting in Wisconsin.”

An expert in modern deer herd management, Dr. Kroll was appointed by Governor Walker to be Wisconsin’s deer trustee.  As the trustee, Dr. Kroll conducted a scientific study of our state’s white-tailed deer management practices and released very well-received findings in March.

“Public hunting is an incredibly important part of life in Wisconsin and Dr. Kroll has repeatedly shown he understands this in both his words and actions,” added Joe Koback, chairman of the state’s Safari Club Chapters Legislative Committee.  “The fact that anyone is suggesting otherwise means they’re either grossly misinformed or completely dishonest.”

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, Wisconsin FORCE, and the National Rifle Association.
For more information please contact our representative Bob Welch 608.819.0150.

HUNTERS RIGHTS COALITION APPLAUDS NEW FOREST LEGACY PURCHASE

May 17th, 2012

May 17, 2012 – MADISON – The Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition (HRC) today applauded the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Secretary Stepp for their purchase of a working forest easement on over 67,000 acres of land in Northwest Wisconsin.

“This is exactly what our stewardship dollars should be spent on,” said Joe Koback, chairman of the state’s Safari Club Chapters Legislative Committee.  “It preserves biodiversity in a large contiguous tract and provides for the preservation of hunting and trapping access on these parcels forever.”

The parcels would continue to be owned by Lyme Timber and managed for sustainable harvest – assuring a tax base for local governments and a wood for local industry and jobs.  At the same time the purchase assures that lands currently open to hunting and trapping through the Managed Forest Law (MFL) program remain open to the public.

“We know well that timber tract owners are under pressure to sell their lands for development,” said Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association President Al Lobner.  “This purchase allows an important economic driver for Northern Wisconsin to remain viable and provides access for the public to an amazing natural resource.”

Jeff Nass of Wisconsin FORCE added, “These lands provide a great habitat for bear, deer, grouse and many other game species.  They also contain enough road access so that the public can enjoy their outdoor activity without too much difficulty.”

“We strongly encourage the Natural Resources Board to approve this acquisition,” concluded Lobner.

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, the State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Wisconsin FORCE, and the National Rifle Association.

For more information please contact our representative Bob Welch 608.819.0150.

Hunters Endorse Petrowski and Moulton

May 15th, 2012

May 15th, 2012 – MADISON – Key members of Wisconsin’s Hunters Rights Coalition today endorsed Senators Petrowski and Moulton in the elections to be held 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, and the NRA have all joined to endorse two of the strongest advocates for hunting, gun rights, and conservation that this state has seen for many years.

Hunters endorse Senator Terry Moulton (R – Chippewa Falls) for reelection to the 23rd Senate District in the June recall.  Moulton was a lead Senate author on many of the Hunters Rights Coalition’s top priority bills.

“He authored the bills to rid us of outdated gun case regulations, to eliminate earn-a-buck, and to modernize our Wisconsin bear season rules,” said WBHA President Al Lobner.  “These were on our wish list for many years and Senator Moulton made them a reality.”

“Moulton has been incredible for hunters in his first year and a half in the Senate,” said Joe Koback, chairman of SCI’s state political committee.  “He has always cared about what we thought, and has been a real leader for preserving our hunting heritage.

Hunters endorse Representative Jerry Petrowski (R – Marathon) in the June special election for the 29th Senate District.

“Jerry has been 100% in favor of delisting wolves and supported our wolf harvest season,” said Lobner.  “He also has worked to assure that stewardship land purchases are open to hunting, fishing, and trapping.”

Koback added, “Petrowski also supported an historic wetlands bill which will guarantee the creation of many acres of high quality, huntable, wetlands over the next decade.”

“Senator Moulton and Representative Petrowski are among the most pro Second Amendment Legislators serving today,” said Wisconsin FORCE President Jeff Nass.  “They not only voted for a strong concealed carry bill, but they also supported the castle doctrine bill, helping Wisconsinites feel safe in their homes.”

“Wisconsin hunters should know that they will not find better friends for our hunting heritage than Senator Moulton and Representative Petrowski” said Lobner.
For more information please contact Joe Koback at 608 566 9534.