Published May 1, 2003 | May 2003 issue
On April 1, residents overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution's Declaration of Rights guaranteeing the right to hunt, fish and trap game "subject only to reasonable restrictions as prescribed by law."
The measure has been pushed by sporting groups worried about intrusive limits and bans stemming from such controversies as chronic wasting disease and environmental concerns. It allows the state, for example, to continue setting bag limits or restrict the length of a game season, but prevents outright elimination of such activities.
Though there was little opposition in the state Legislature in getting the matter to its April referendum vote, legislators were quoted in local newspapers as saying there was little groundswell from residents. Wisconsin was the seventh state to approve such a measure, most of which (including one in Minnesota) passed in the last few years. It was the first amendment since the 1997 state amendment guaranteeing the right to keep and bear arms.
—Ronald A. Wirtz