MADISON - Total attendance for the Department of Natural Resources spring rules hearings and Wisconsin Conservation Congress county meetings was reported to being close to 7,000 state residents, up 36 percent from last year's attendance.
The meetings to place back on Monday of this week across the state's 72 counties. The local Pierce County meeting was held at Ellsworth High School with 48 people in attendance.
The two questions which garnered the most votes statewide concerned eliminating group-hunting or group-bagging during the firearm deer season and shortening the state's deer hunting season by crossbow. The former question was voted down by a margin of 3,709 to 2,124 and the latter question was also voted down 3,164 to 2,660.
Another big statewide vote supported a ban on transporting harvested deer from designated zones with CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) outside the zones by a vote of 3,102 to 2,617. And state voters also agreed to a proposal to lower the daily walleye bag limit on Lake Winnebago from five to three by a vote of 3,366 to 1,816.
In Pierce County, the majority of meeting attendees voted with the statewide majority on all these questions. They also voted overwhelmingly to approve reviews of panfish and gamefish regulations on the Mississippi River.
In other statewide questions for the spring rules portion of the meeting, a majority of attendees backed a $5 fee to help manage state-owned public lands, rejected a proposal to register all motorized watercraft; supported to keep the opening of the state's inland waters trout season to the first Saturday in April; supported a continuous open season on bass with harvest limits based on current season rules; supported a resolution to call for the incrase use of renwable resources to reduce risks of climate change and supported a proposal allowing the wearing of fluorescent yellow during firearm deer seasons.
Some 54 advisory questions were on the Wisconsin Conservation Congress list during its portion of the meeting. Those given positive will be considered by the WCC's state convention the second weekend in May and put on the springs rules hearing agenda next year. There were also reports of many resolutions being offered by meeting attendees.