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Gun safety and ... squirrels? Changing Green Bay law prompts concerns

The shift means you'll be able to hunt squirrels within Green Bay, but not by any means
Posted at 7:21 PM, May 20, 2024

GREEN BAY (NBC26) — The City of Green Bay wants to clear up any confusion about hunting squirrels within city limits now that it's becoming legal.

  • In a May 7 city council meeting, a ordinance was revised, dropping protection for squirrels in city limits
  • State law allow for the hunting of small animals such as squirrels
  • The Wisconsin DNR says Green Bay's former law that protected squirrels violated state law
  • Using firearms is prohibited in Green Bay. Archery and box traps are legal methods to hunt squirrels.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.)

District 4 Alderperson Bill Galvin says it could turn out to be a "mess" if you're trying to eliminate a pest without understanding the small game hunting laws.

"When I had my roof re-done they found three squirrel nests in my attic," Galvin said. "They had chewed right through the roofing."

Green Bay recently revised an ordinance this month dropping protection for squirrels.

At a council meeting on May 7, Galvin raised some concerns.

"I've had neighbors complain they've got holes in their siding from neighbors shooting pellet guns at squirrels," Galvin said.

Steve Burns, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Biologist, says the ordinance violated state law that allows land owners to hunt squirrels.

"The original language in their original code superseded that their authority in attempting to manage these wildlife species," Burns said.

Under law, land owners can hunt select animals on their property without a license. Licensing and permission is required if you're not an owner.

"This change really just brings them on a level playing field with municipalities throughout the rest of the stat," Burns said.

Still, not everything goes. Within city limits, you can't use a firearm or a pellet gun.

Archery and box traps are legal.

"99% of the hunters are responsible, and then you've got that 0.1%, like we all say for a lot of things, that kind of ruin it for everyone," Galvin said.

Galvin says reminding everyone of what's legal should alleviate some concerns.

"Hunting requires a lot of responsibility and ethics so people have to be very aware," he said.

Green Bay's city attorney office says the new ordinance will take effect a few days after Tuesday's city council meeting once fully approved.