Policy

Wisconsin Assembly approves out-of-state license fee increase, doe hunting suspension

The Wisconsin Assembly has passed legislation that would raise a variety of hunting, fishing and trapping license fees for out-of-state residents, and bar deer hunters in northern portions of the state from killing any does for four years to replenish the herd.

Associated Press

February 23, 2024

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A standing doe is seen in silhouette at the top of a wooded hill with leafless trees, snow on the ground and a barbed wire fence at its crest.

The Wisconsin Assembly approved bills on Feb. 22, 2024, that would raise a variety of hunting, fishing and trapping license fees for out-of-state residents and bar hunters in northern regions of the state from killing any does for four years. (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)


AP News

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Assembly approved a bill on Feb. 22 that would raise a variety of hunting, fishing and trapping license fees for out-of-state residents to help shrink a deficit in the state’s fish and wildlife account.

The Assembly passed the legislation 97-0, sending it to the Senate.

The state Department of Natural Resources estimated the changes would generate about $780,000 more annually for the account, which funds a variety of projects ranging from fish stocking to wildlife surveys.

The account is built largely on license fee revenue. But years of waning interest in outdoor activities has led to a projected $16 million deficit in the account heading into the state’s next two-year budget period.

Republican lawmakers raised nonresident deer hunting licenses by $40 to $200, nonresident hunting and fishing license fees by $5 and nonresident combination licenses by $20 in the state budget that Gov. Tony Evers signed in the summer of 2023.

The license increases in the bill range from a $1 increase on a nonresident two-day sports fishing license to a $5,750 increase for a nonresident commercial fishing license. The Assembly on Tuesday approved a bill that would raise nonresident bow and crossbow hunting license fees by $35 to $200, sending the measure to the Senate. The broader bill approved Thursday includes that increase as well.

Meanwhile, hunters in northern Wisconsin would be barred from killing any does for four years under legislation the Assembly approved Feb. 22.

The Republican-authored measure is designed to help the northern herd replenish itself after an anemic nine-day gun hunt in the region in November 2023. Children under 16 who participate in a youth hunt would be allowed to kill a buck or doe but would be limited to one deer.

According to the DNR, hunters killed 14.7% fewer bucks in the region compared with the five-year average. The doe harvest in the region was down 27.2%.

The Assembly passed the measure on voice vote. The legislation goes next to the state Senate.

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