Change alarms couple who encountered bow hunters in prohibited area
When Cathie and Roger Klumb of Cedar Grove went for a walk at Harrington Beach State Park in the Town of Belgium last week, they were shocked to find several bow hunters where they normally walk.
Mr. Klumb questioned if they were allowed to be there, but the hunters claimed they were in the right area and said they were tracking a wounded deer.
The bow hunting season for deer opened Nov. 17 and ended Sunday, Jan. 6, so there won’t be any more hunters in the park until April 1 when the spring turkey and small-game season opens. It runs until May 3.
This is the first year bow hunters will be allowed in the park for the spring small-game season as a result of a law passed by the state legislature in 2011 allowing hunting and trapping in state parks and forests.
The Natural Resources Board approved rules for the 2013 season in December after holding several hearings in October and November.
One of the hunters at Harrington thought he could hunt in the park until April, Mrs. Klumb said.
After the couple passed the hunters, they found a large pool of blood where someone had killed a deer.
“There was no one around and no one answered the phone (in the park office),” Mrs. Klumb said.
She called Jim Buchholz, park director for Harrington and Kohler-Andrae State Park in Sheboygan County, who had Game Warden Sean Neverman return their call. Neverman told the couple to call him if they see hunters in the area again or get their names or license plate numbers.
The Klumbs found a map designating where hunting was allowed in 2012 on the Department of Natural Resources website.
It turns out hunters are not allowed in the area, which was near the south picnic site. If a wounded deer goes into an area closed for hunting, hunters are not allowed to pursue it but should tell a park ranger, who would attempt to find it, according to DNR hunting regulations.
However, the area open to deer hunting was changed in 2012 from previous years and it was changed again Jan. 1.
The DNR did not allow hunting in the campground in the upper park, where it had been allowed before, but opened the wooded area east of Sauk Trail Road to the parking lot and main walking trail. Areas around the parking lot, Welcome Center and Quarry Lake were closed to hunters.
“The road going to the parking lot cuts through the hunting area,” Mrs. Klumb said. “In the past, that was all closed.
“There was a lot of confusion. I think hunters didn’t know the rules. I’m very unhappy about the whole situation. There needs to be more supervision.”
The couple walk in the park five to six mornings a week.
A new hunting map that went into effect Jan. 1 changes the boundaries again and closes more areas to hunters for safety reasons, Buchholz said.
Hunting will not be allowed in the lower park east of Sauk Trail Road to the south picnic area. A south section east of Sauk Trail Road that borders Cedar Beach Road is now open for hunting, something neighbors there will likely find disturbing.
The majority of upper lake park, including the campground, but excluding the Puckett’s pond picnic area and entrance, is open for hunting.
The spring hunting season is a concern because many people visit the parks to see early signs of spring, Buchholz said,
“I don’t know what to expect,” he said. “It was not something that the parks or DNR initiated. It was done through the state legislature, so we can only react to what was passed.
“We were involved in what areas could be opened to hunting. Prior to that it was only 100 yards within a use area that could be closed. Luckily, we were able to close more areas.
“Nobody really knows what kind of hunting pressure we will have, but safety is our No. 1 priority.”
Buchholz said signs at all state parks will be changed to reflect when hunting is allowed.
Mrs. Klumb said the words wildlife refuge should be removed from the signs, since the parks are no longer a refuge for animals.
The Klumbs wrote a letter to the editor which can be found in Section A of today’s Ozaukee Press.