"It's a great day at the capital for hunters " [:)]
That is how Rep. Ann Hraychuck opened the joint hearing on deer population and hunter's concerns.
I got to Madison with a bus load of sportsmen and women that left from Buck Rub Archery in Pewaukee.
After an hour on the bus, talking hunting and deer issues, we hit the Capital.
And we were not alone. In no time, the chamber was filled to overflow status. Both hallways leading to the hearing room were also filled to capacity. I tried to get a picture that shows this but this was the best I could do without a flash. At one point, everyone was notified that the Capital Police said we were in violation of fire codes and that two additional hearing rooms that were wired for sound would be opened for anybody not registered to speak. I later visited one of those rooms after testifying and every seat was filled.
There was media set up in every corner that they would fit and then the Senators and Assembly-persons filled in to get the show on the road.
Rep. Hraychuck was the Chair. Seated to her left was Senator Holperin. Circled all around the room were various other members of both committees.
The first speaker was DNR Sec. Matt Frank. He presented his case well and when finished, took a lot of really tough question from the Legislators. Some he answered well and others he side stepped. Most notably was the question about the EAB threat map. Luckily there was somebody on hand who actually had the EAB threat map that Mr. Frank didn't seem to think existed and and handed it off to the legislators. [;)]
After his testimony, in which Mr. Frank said that the DNR will be listening and paying attention to the proceedings of the day, He left, never to return. He did leave behind a couple of lower level DNR staff to take notes.
After that, was a series of very well done testimony by many passionate speakers. I was able to speak 5th and hopefully did some good in getting the point across that the Dept. has lost touch with the deer population and that the Insurance industry seems to have a better handle on the population than the Dept.
After I testified, I stepped into the hallway and spend time talking with hunters who thanked me and everyone else for showing up to testify. it asked by many people and even the head of the WI Wildlife Federation for a copy of my presentation. I have attached it to the end of this post.
I hung around until 2:45 pm when our bus was scheduled to leave. I was impressed at the number of young kids from 8 to 15 that took the day off of school and came with their parents to see the process in action. I was also impressed with the number of females that not only attended but also testified.
All in all, it really was a great day for deer hunters in WI. Somebody is finally listening. My guess is that a bill (or bills) will be the end result but we will have to wait and see. At the very least, this will have effected deer hunting regulations going forward.