Wildlife Officials Take Back Management
The legal red tape has been lifted for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to dictate elk hunting permits and restrictions as they see fit. The current regulations called for a specific population count and permit number, which the officials believe is not the only threshold required to properly manage the state’s elk herd. Although the Wisconsin DNR proposed the rule change last year, there were several groups needed for approval. The Assembly sporting heritage committee gave the final say just this month to allow the DNR the freedom to open hunting and adjust permit numbers as needed. Previous regulations called for a five percent permit allowance once the population reached at least 200 and 150 in specific areas.
Elk News from Missouri
Missouri hunters can almost see a 2020 elk hunt on the horizon, but recent bills have focused on increasing poaching fines, not on hunting regulations. After two elks were poached in February and left fully intact at the site, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) publicly supported a bill that called for significant restitution fines for poachers. The Senate bill, SB 356, called for fines of $2,500-$5,000 for poaching a black bear or elk, while a separate House bill, HB 260, called for even steeper fines of $10,000-15,000. Although the first Senate bill failed to pass the Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources committee, the tougher poaching bill, HB 260, passed in the House and will be soon voted on in the Senate. The MDC is working with the Committee before the next meeting to ensure that the bill is fully understood this time.
Elk in Rhode Island
Last year, a state bill was introduced to allow elk or other exotic animals on certain properties for hunting in Rhode Island. Ultimately, the bill was removed from the House agenda and tabled in the Senate. The bill was reintroduced this year on the condition that each animal is cleared by veterinary inspection. At this time, the Department of Environmental Management has not weighed in on the new bill.
Sources: Wisconsin Public Radio, Fox News, USA Today and U.S. News