Bill looks to ensure youth hunters shoot their own deer

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- While many are set to take part in deer hunting season Republican representatives worry younger hunters are missing out on the key element of hunting.

Rep. Kathy Bernier and Senator Terry Moulton say younger hunters aren't getting the experience of actually shooting their own deer because adults in their hunting party are using their carcass tags.

It’s something they’re hoping to change.

For hunter Luke Weyers the adrenaline rush of shooting his first deer made him a life-long hunter.

“After that I was hooked because it was the thrill of the hunt,” said Weyers.

Bernier says with younger hunters missing out on the excitement of getting their own deer it is leading to a drop in Wisconsin hunters. Weyers agrees.

“It's not fun to sit out in the woods all day and freeze and then have someone shoot your deer,” said Weyers.

Bernier and Moulton have passed the bill in the Assembly, and it’s now headed to the Senate.

Assembly Bill 243 would prevent adult hunters from using younger hunters' carcass tags.

“When it's a permit specifically designated for youth than it is the youth that should be out there hunting and participating in the outdoor experience,” said Bernier. “We’re finding that they’re not actually participating in the hunt.”

Moulton says it has been an issue in Wisconsin ever since the passing of a Sporting Heritage bill in 2013.

“When we did that every youth, when they purchase a deer license, they got an antlerless tag,” explained Moulton.

Moulton says in the northern deer zone there were no other antlerless deer tags available yet the antlerless harvest was extremely high he says this bill aims to correct that.

“This sort of closes the loophole and make sure that the tag that's given to the youth is actually used by the youth and not the older adult person,” said Moulton.

It would be up to wardens to enforce the law and Moulton says while some hunters may exploit the loophole, they probably aren't willing to break a law.

However, Weyers says he isn't as sure.

“It remains to be seen,” said Weyers.

In a press release Bernier says the DNR has been receiving complaints that adult hunters are exceeding their tag limits by using a youth tag.

WEAU reached out to the Eau Claire DNR but they declined to comment.

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