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Concerns about sale of public hunting land


MADISON (WSAU) Six state Assembly Democrats fear that Wisconsin will sell its public hunting lands to private developers, who would then charge up to thousands-of-dollars for the privilege to hunt. At a news conference yesterday, the Democrats said it happened in Texas. And they feared it would happen in Wisconsin under a series of major hunting changes to be recommended this month by James Kroll. He’s the Texas wildlife biologist whom the Walker administration hired last year to analyze the way Wisconsin manages its deer population.

Kroll issued a preliminary report in March. And Jocelyn Webster of the Administration Department said there was no mention of selling off public hunting lands. She told the Madison Capital Times that much of the Democrats’ talk “jumps the gun” and is nothing more than rumors.

But Madison Assembly Democrat Brett Hulsey said a pay-to-play scheme is in the works – and his group wants Kroll to appear at a public hearing to explain his report from March, and spell out what his final recommendations will be. The Democrats said Kroll also needs to explain comments he made in 2002 to Texas Monthly about antler genetics. The Cap Times said blogs have been raising a stir about that. And it forced Kroll to respond on his Web site. He said quote, “I cannot undo the slander, but I can be clear … I stand the sportsmen-and-women of Wisconsin, hunting-fishing recreation, and white-tailed deer.” Kroll also said his ideas are not influenced by politics, but he said the Wisconsin matter has become political as Tuesday’s recall election for governor approaches.