MADISON - Four bills relating to hunting, regarding minimum hunting age, woodchucks, turkey and pheasant hunting and using a youth antlerless carcass tag, were signed into law by Governor Scott Walker on Nov. 13.
Passed in time for opening of gun deer season on Nov. 18, Assembly Bill 455, allows children 9 and younger to hunt, leaving it up to parents to decide how young their hunters should be under the hunting mentorship program. It also allows both mentor and mentee to carry a device, eliminating the previous limitation of having one gun between mentor and mentee.
Finally, the Bill 455 prohibits a person who is serving as a mentor in a group hunting party from killing a deer for the mentee or using a deer carcass tag issued to the mentee, in line with other statutes with youth hunting.
A bill that re-establishes Act 100 from 2015, Assembly Bill 528, prohibits adults from harvesting antlerless deer using a youth antlerless carcass tag under group hunting allowances.
Woodchucks can now be hunted under the authority of a small game hunting license and trap woodchucks under a trapping license under Assembly Bill 323. Also under this bill, as amended, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is required to establish a year-round open season for woodchucks.
Senate Bill 225 extends fall turkey, gray (Hungarian) partridge and pheasant hunting and trapping seasons, which will be open through the Sunday nearest Jan. 6, including the New Year's holiday. Currently, these seasons close on Dec. 31. The bill becomes effective Feb. 1, 2018, or the day after publication of the bill, whichever is later.
The bill also changes the archer deer season setting the season as open through the Sunday nearest Jan. 6, for metro areas, which currently are open through Jan. 31, in addition to all other areas in the state.
Finally, Bill 225 authorizes metro bow/crossbow hunting from the Monday closest to Jan. 6 through Jan. 31, as was strongly supported by the most recent Wisconsin Conservation Congress.