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Wisconsin woodchuck hunting bill gets cold reception

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Wisconsin woodchuck hunting bill gets cold reception

A handful of animal lovers tore into a bill that would establish a Wisconsin woodchuck hunting season, blasting the measure as unnecessary during a hearing and calling it another sign that legislators are obsessed with killing wildlife.

Only eight people addressed the Assembly Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage Committee about the bill. One was the measure’s author, Rep. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere. Another was a Department of Natural Resources wildlife ecologist. The others all spoke against the proposal.

“I think the primary (motivation) here is thrill kill,” said Randy O’Connell, 59, of Omro, who described himself after the hearing as a recovering hunter. “This culture, not a heritage, needs to come to an end.”

Woodchucks, also known as groundhogs or whistle-pigs, are beaver-like creatures known for burrowing and gobbling up plants at a manic pace. They’ve been on the state’s protected species list for decades. Property owners can kill nuisance woodchucks but anyone else needs a license.

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