So the Bear Bill passed, what’s new?

Governor Walker hands a pen he used to sign the 2011 Bear Bill to Senator Terry Moulton, the Author of the Bill.  Looking on are Rep. Tom Tiffany, Sen. Pam Galloway, and WBHA Board Member Al Lobner.

Governor Walker hands a pen he used to sign the 2011 Bear Bill to Senator Terry Moulton, the Author of the Bill. Looking on are Rep. Tom Tiffany, Sen. Pam Galloway, and WBHA Board Member Al Lobner.

After a long process, Governor Scott Walker signed the Bear Bill (Senate Bill 72) into law on June 16th. This bill proposes several much needed changes to how bear hunting is conducted in Wisconsin. Here is a breakdown of those changes:

  1. It creates a new “try it for free” weekend for bear dog training on the 3rd Saturday and Sunday in August.
  2. It allows a person who is under age 16 (instead of 12) to engage in Class B activities without having to purchase a license.  Bear Hunting is truly a family sport and this will ensure more kids are able to be in the woods.
  3. For safety reasons, this bill will allow someone holding a Class B license to act as a “back-up shooter” in case the first attempt has created a dangerous situation.Specifically this means that a Class B license holder may shoot and kill a bear that was shot, but not killed, by a Class A license holder in the same party if there is still a valid Class A tag and if killing the bear is necessary to protect the safety of people.  The back up shot must be taken at the point of kill (not after running around for a half hour through the woods).
  4. The bill removes the discriminatory requirement for Class B participants to wear a back tag.  The DNR will no longer be issuing the tag, you may still receive a tag due to the update status of the ALIS system, but you are not required to wear it. A Class A license holder will still need to wear a tag.
  5. Finally, the bill will allow Class B participation in dog training, tracking, chasing bear, or locating bear during the actual hunting season, as long as they do not shoot at, capture or otherwise take a bear.  Dogs are still allowed only during that part of the season authorized for Dog-Bear hunting.  This will most likely be used by parties that do not currently have a Class A license in their possession, allowing them to enjoy the sport (minus the shooting part) during the hunting season.
Gov Walker speaks about his support for bear hunting just prior to signing the bear bill.

Gov Walker speaks about his support for bear hunting just prior to signing the bear bill.

Representatives of several sportsmens groups gathered to witness the bear bill signing, including WBHA, Safari Club, and the Wisconsin Bow Hunters.

Representatives of several sportsmens groups gathered to witness the bear bill signing, including WBHA, Safari Club, and the Wisconsin Bow Hunters.

Gov. Walker signs SB 72, the 2011 Bear Bill.  This was WBHA's top legislative priority for the year.

Gov. Walker signs SB 72, the 2011 Bear Bill. This was WBHA's top legislative priority for the year.

You can view the bill in PDF format by clicking here.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

View all photos from the signing.

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