Wis. committee to consider steeper poaching fines

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Senate's natural resources committee has scheduled a public hearing on a Republican bill that would create steeper fines for poaching trophy deer.

Current state law imposes a $43.75 wild animal protection surcharge on top of the fine. The bill would dramatically increase the surcharge according to antler spread. Surcharges would range from $2,000 to $10,000.

The bill also imposes higher surcharges for poaching large elk and bear, but the measure's authors, Rep. Mary Williams and Sen. Jerry Petrowski, have introduced an amendment erasing those provisions.

Petrowski said the bill was always supposed to raise only deer surcharges and he's not sure how elk and bear got included. Williams and Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association lobbyist Bob Welch didn't return messages.

The hearing is set for Wednesday.

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