MADISON, Wis. - How many woodchucks could hunters kill if hunters could kill woodchucks? Wisconsin might soon find out.
State Rep. Andre Jacque, a De Pere Republican, is preparing a bill that would remove woodchucks from the state's protected species list and establish a season on them that would run from March 1 to Dec. 31. People could kill or trap an unlimited number of woodchucks.
Scott Craven, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Forestry and Wildlife Ecology, said state wildlife officials protected woodchucks decades ago when they were fairly scarce to ensure they would continue digging their burrows, which provide important shelter for other animals.
Woodchucks are fairly common in the state now. Hunters and anglers overwhelmingly approved a woodchuck season during the Wisconsin Conservation Congress' 2009 spring hearings.