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State park hunting restrictions aren't enough for some opponents

Published On: Dec 12 2012 10:27:34 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 13 2012 02:50:55 PM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

A Madison woman whose border collie died in a hunting trap isn't buying Wisconsin's new plan to allow dog-safe traps in state parks.

A new law that takes effect on Jan. 1 allows hunters to trap animals for the first time in about two-thirds of state parks.

There are restrictions, but animal activists argue they won't protect people or pet dogs.

"I get really upset sometimes," said Carolyn Schueppel, whose unleashed dog died in a hunting trap on private, Town of Oregon property.

"The first time, locals told me it was OK because they'd been coming out there 25 years and their dogs were running free, too," Schueppel said.

Since she can't bring herself to buy another dog, Schueppel has become an advocate instead and spoke up at Tuesday's Natural Resources Board meeting.

The board on Tuesday approved a law allowing trapping on 62,000 acres of state parks, leaving a third of them free from hunting. But the board's decision disappointed some opponents of the law.

"They were really sad because they were going to be losing their parks and their opportunities to have fun," said Schueppel of the people at Tuesday’s meeting.

But Wisconsin State Parks Director Dan Schuller said the board put hunting restrictions in place because of concerns from the public.

"This is just another new complement of users, and we expect all the other users of state parks to not see their activities affected at all,” Schuller said. "I think the board was trying to strike a balance and our recommendation tried to do the same."

The board limited hunting seasons to one month in autumn and another in April, and traps can't be within 100 yards of high-use areas. The state's trapping association touted specific traps that prevent catching dogs.

"If somebody makes a mistake, like the guy did in my case, there's really no compensation or justice," Schueppel said.

The law only restricts dog-safe traps to dry land. Hunters can still use water set ones elsewhere.

For a listing of all the parks that will open to hunting and trapping starting Jan. 1, go to dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/hunt.

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