MADISON, Wis. — The Legislature's outdoors committees have approved a bill that would create a woodchuck season.
The Republican bill would remove woodchucks from the Wisconsin's protected species list and establish a hunting and trapping season that would run from July through December with no bag limits.
The Assembly's Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage Committee amended the measure Wednesday to establish a year-round open season on the animals on an 11-2 vote and passed the bill 9-4.
The Senate's Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry Committee met on the bill on Wednesday as well. That panel signed off on the amendment 5-0 and passed the bill 4-1.
Committee approval clears the way for votes in the full Senate and Assembly.
Badgers are carnivores. Woodchucks are vegetarians. In fact, badgers look at woodchucks like college students look at pizzas. Both dig holes that can present problems. For people. The hunting of woodchucks hasn't really been hunting as such. It's mostly been shooting, plinking at living, and sometimes moving, targets. Few people, if any, eat them, they're rodents, distantly related to rats and mice, after all. They might be trapped for purposes of eliminating their construction of burrows but for no other purpose. No one makes coats or stoles out of their hides. Maybe there's a demand for stuffed woodchucks, woodchucks that taxidermists preserve in interesting postures, perhaps holding a small US flag or riding a miniature bicycle.