DRIFTLESS - The 2018 Conservation Congress spring hearings were held in all 72 of Wisconsin’s counties on Monday, April 9. Statewide, participation increased by 26 percent, increasing by 1,820 participants. This trend was mirrored regionally in Crawford County where participation was up by 20 percent; Grant by 34 percent; Lafayette by 22 percent; Monroe by 41 percent; and Vernon by seven percent. Only Richland County bucked the trend, with participation decreasing by 18 percent.
All but four of the 54 questions on the survey received majority support statewide, but only two of the questions that received a majority vote garnered ‘yes’ responses in excess of 70 percent of all participants voting.
Those two questions were numbers 8 and 15 on the survey, pertaining to reducing the walleye bag limit from five to three on the Lake Winnebago system; and allowing trappers to keep a raccoon incidentally trapped in beaver sets during the closed season for raccoon. Statewide the resolutions passed by 77 and 71 percent respectively, and received the strongest support of any of the questions on the survey.
Of the other 52 resolutions that passed, two of them received only 36 and 38 percent statewide; the greatest number that passed received approval in the 40 percent range (22); 15 of the winning questions received majority approval in the 50 percent range; and only seven that were approved received approval in the 60 percent range.
In Crawford County, following the statewide trend, the questions receiving the highest approval ratings scored only in the 70 percent range. Those four questions were questions number 3, 4, 20 and 46 on the survey.
Those questions pertained to review of pan fish regulations on the Mississippi River (3); review of game fish regulations on the Mississippi River (4); support for water basin management plans to reduce/ control runoff that has or will be caused by climate change (20); and requiring insurance for a Wisconsin Guide License (46).
In support for question three, Crawford was joined in giving support of 70 percent or more of participants present by Grant, Lafayette, Richland and Vernon Counties. Lafayette had a particularly strong response of 84 percent.
In support for question four, Crawford was joined by Grant, Lafayette, Monroe, Richland and Vernon Counties. Lafayette had a particularly strong response of 82 percent.
Vernon County joined Crawford County in strong support for question 20. Crawford supported by 75 percent and Vernon 76 percent. Statewide only 61 percent supported.
Grant County expressed 75 percent support for question 46. The county’s response was 19 percent higher than the statewide support for the resolution, which passed with 56 percent support. Regionally, only Richland joined Grant in voting yes with 74 percent support, which was 18 percent higher than statewide support.
Statewide, question 8 pertaining to reducing the walleye bag limit from five to three on the Lake Winnebago system, 77 percent of participants statewide approved. In Crawford County, the measure was approved by only 47 percent – 29 percent lower than statewide.
On the question pertaining to designating all karstic areas of Wisconsin as ‘sensitive areas,’ as was recently done for 11 karstic counties in eastern Wisconsin including Kewaunee County, Crawford strongly supported at 75 percent. This was 22 percent stronger than the resolution, which passed, received statewide at 53 percent. It passed regionally, but less strongly, in Grant at 61 percent; Lafayette at 40 percent; Monroe at 51 percent; Richland at 54 percent; and Vernon at 67 percent.
On the question pertaining to conducting hydrogeological surveys in all counties currently lacking them, Crawford County’s support was only 67 percent, with 56 percent statewide. Grant and Vernon Counties showed 73 and 81 percent support respectively. Vernon’s response was 25 percent higher than the statewide response.
Crawford County voted ‘no’ on resolutions 1, 17, 18, 31, 34, 36-39, 48 and 49.
Question one pertained to a statewide, continuous open season for bass fishing, but allow harvest only during the current traditional season. Crawford was joined by Richland and Vernon in voting no, but the resolution passed statewide.
Questions 17 and 18 pertained to elimination of the group deer hunting law, and adjusting the length of the crossbow season. Regionally, only Vernon voted yes to eliminate the group deer hunting law, with the resolution being voted down statewide. Monroe and Vernon both voted yes on adjusting the crossbow season, with the resolution being voted down statewide.
Question 31 pertained to opening the inland trout season statewide on the first Saturday in April. Regionally, only Vernon and Crawford voted no. Grant, Lafayette, Monroe and Richland voted yes, and the resolution passed statewide.
Question 34 pertained to changing season limits for youth turkey tags. Regionally, only Crawford voted no and the resolution passed statewide.
Questions 36 and 37 pertained to creation of a ‘last chance’ outdoor opportunity for terminally ill hunters, and allowing fluorescent yellow as option to wear during all firearm deer seasons. Regionally, only Crawford voted no on the two resolutions, and both passed statewide.
Questions 38 and 39 pertained to allow deer tracking dog handlers to carry and dispatch wounded deer with firearms, and allowing ‘darkhouse spearing’ for northern pike on the Wisconsin portion of the Wisconsin/Minnesota boundary waters of the Mississippi River.
Crawford County was joined by Grant and Monroe Counties in voting no on the deer tracking dog handlers question, with the resolution passing statewide. Regionally, all counties voted no on the ‘darkhouse spearing’ resolution, and the resolution was defeated statewide.
Question 48 pertained to increasing state guide license fees. Crawford County was joined by Lafayette County in voting no, but the resolution passed statewide.
Question 49 pertained to requiring registration of all non-motorized watercraft such as canoes and kayaks. Regionally, only Richland County voted yes, with the resolution being voted down statewide.
Question 53 pertained to allowing the use of large caliber pneumatic rifles and bows for hunting large game. Regionally, only Crawford County voted yes, with the resolution being voted down statewide.
Lafayette County had particularly strong support for questions 5, 13-15, 33, 41, 42 and 54.
Question 5 pertained to increasing the size limit for sturgeon on Lake Superior. Lafayette supported the resolution with 76 percent, which was 20 percent higher than statewide support for the resolution, which passed.
Questions 13-15 pertained to allowing lures/baiting during the closed season for trapping furbearing animals for nuisance wildlife control purposes (13); allow trapping within 15 feet of beaver dams on private land with permission from the landowner (14); and allow trappers to keep a raccoon incidentally trapped in a beaver set during the closed season for raccoon (15).
Lafayette showed unusually strong support for these three resolutions at 82, 80 and 85 percent, with support for question 13, 20 percent higher than statewide, and for question 14, 19 percent higher than statewide. All three resolutions passed statewide.
Grant and Monroe Counties joined Lafayette in strong support for the three resolutions. Grant voted 79, 84, and 84 percent in support, with their vote on question 14, 22 percent higher than statewide. Monroe voted 72, 72, and 80 percent in support.
Question 33 pertained to requiring an in-person field day for all students under the age of 16 in hunter safety classes, with the resolution passing statewide. Lafayette County voted 76 percent in support, and was joined by Monroe and Richland at 80 and 89 percent respectively.
Questions 41 and 42 pertained to allowing the transfer of bear tags to Wisconsin senior hunters (41); and penalties for tilling land within five feet of channel or surface water (42). Lafayette showed really strong support for question 41, voting 82 percent for the resolution, which was 26 percent higher than statewide for the resolution which passed. They were joined by Vernon in strong support for question 42, at 75 and 73 percent support respectively. The resolution passed statewide with 59 percent support.
Question 54 pertained to changing the wolf application date to December 10. Lafayette County supported the resolution 78 percent, which was 22 percent higher than statewide for the resolution, which passed.
Questions 10 and 19 received particularly strong support in Richland County. They pertained to restricting transportation of deer harvested in a CWD-affected county to within a county or to an adjacent CWD-affected county (10); and urging the Wisconsin Conservation Congress to support legislation to reduce the risk of climate change through increased use of renewable resources (19).
Regionally, only Richland County showed particularly strong support for question 10, with 71 percent support, which was 26 percent higher than statewide. The resolution passed statewide.
Vernon County joined Richland County in strong support for question 19. Richland voted 74 percent in support, which was 22 percent higher than statewide. Vernon voted 81 percent, which was 29 percent higher than statewide. The resolution passed statewide by 52 percent.
Question 45 enjoyed strong support for participants at the Vernon County hearing. The question pertained to banning the use of neonicotinoid insecticides on state owned agricultural and forest land. Vernon voted 76 percent in support, with the resolution passing statewide by 60 percent.