by Scott Bauer and Todd Richmond
MADSON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Republicans brought in rocker and avid hunter Ted Nugent on Wednesday to publicize a package of bills that would declare an open hunting season on Sandhill Cranes and allow anyone 18 years of age or older. will also allow a person to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.
Nugent appeared with more than 20 Republican lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Devin Lemhieu, inside the assembly hall. The musician and conservative activist said that “hunting is essential and any regulation that is not related to protection or science-based wildlife management is an obstacle to participation.”
The Wisconsin package of 13 bills is making its way through the Republican-controlled Legislature. Even if they are passed, they would need the approval of Democratic Governor Tony Evers, who could have vetoed many of them, for them to become law. An Evers spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Nugent, who lives in neighboring Michigan, is the national spokesperson for Hunter Nation, a group that won a court order in Wisconsin for an unprecedented late-winter wolf hunt. The hunt, conducted during the animal’s breeding season in February, angered conservationists and called on the state Department of Natural Resources to cancel the upcoming fall wolf hunt.
Nugent has long lobbied for hunting-related measures, including bills in Michigan that would reverse a ban on deer and elk biting in that state.
One of the Wisconsin bills would allow state residents to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, whether hunting or not. Republicans have been pushing to eliminate concealed carry permits for years. It was last proposed in the 2017 session, but died without a hearing.
“We are here to empower law-abiding gun owners to exercise the right to exercise the freedoms granted to them under the Constitution,” said Irma’s State Sen. Mary Felzkowski.
Evers, a Democrat who supports restricting access to guns, said the measure would almost certainly be vetoed if the legislature passed it.
Another proposal would create a sandhill crane hunting season. Former Republican state Representative Joel Klefisk introduced a similar bill in 2012, arguing that the birds eat farmers’ corn seeds and fledgling stalks. The bill faced intense opposition from bird lovers – Wisconsin is home to the International Crane Foundation – and the proposal died.
Felzkowski, who sponsored the bill this year, said the sandhill crane population in Wisconsin is on the rise.
Nugent said that in addition to population control, sand hills are also delicious. “Are you familiar with the word ribeye?” Nugent said. “They are ribeyes in the sky.”
Other measures include proposals from the Department of Natural Resources to increase the number of pheasants to 200,000; Simplifying the turkey hunting structure from seven to two and the springtime numbers from six to two; allow young hunters to meet the individual field trial requirement of the Predator Protection Program by participating in an advisory hunt; And DNR is required to raise at least 100,000 brook trout.
Another bill would allow poachers to chase after non-native bovids such as buffalo, antelope and wildebeest. Republicans say many such animals are already being raised on Wisconsin game farms.
And yet another piece of the package would require a DNR, which would eliminate three administrative rules for each proposal. Republicans have long accused the agency of harsh regulations.
State Representative Nick Milory, one of the Democratic co-chairs of the Legislature’s players’ party, said he is upset that Republicans have unilaterally drafted the bills.
“It is imperative that we continue to work towards ensuring our state’s pristine beauty and sporting heritage be passed on to future generations,” Milroy said in a statement. “But we need to do it in an inclusive, bipartisan way. Wisconsin voters are better off with the majority party’s current partisan practices.”
Nugent, best known for his 1977 song “Cat Scratch Fever,” is a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump and a bearer of false information about the coronavirus pandemic. He called it a scam and opposed the health restrictions. Nugent tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year and posted a video where he used racial slurs to refer to the virus, saying he had become so sick with it that he thought he was going to die. Is.
Neither Nugent, 73, nor any Republican lawmaker or other participants wore masks during the news conference.