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Madchemguy
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:12 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hey all,
I just wanted to share some information I received from the Superintendant of Kettle Moraine SP (Northern Unit) in 2003. I do have to give you a little background first though:

I do a lot of camping and backpacking in Wisconsin (don’t all Illinoisans?) and always have a firearm with me when I do so, but that was not always the case. I carry now because I had a scare in 2003. When I am outdoors in this area and most others for that matter, the wildlife I am most concerned about is the human kind.

The story:
I, and two buddies of mine, were in a public campground in the Kettle Moraine State Forest (Northern Unit) in the deep freeze of winter. If you have never been up there, its remoteness is amplified hugely by winter. I mean NOBODY is around up there when the temperatures are below zero.

We registered and drove to our site for the night. On our way in we saw how deserted the campground was – only one other site was taken. A large trailer, with no vehicle in sight, was parked at the base of a hill below us about 200 meters away. It was a dark moonless night.

The plan was to spend this Friday at the campground and then snowshoe on the Ice Age Trail for two days. After having been there long enough to cook up some dinner on our stoves, and start thinking about setting up camp, the inhabitants of the trailer began to shout and holler up to us from below. The obscenities and slurred speech from the two voices we heard indicated that some ice fishermen had probably had too much to drink. It was straight out of the movie Deliverance. Things like, “It is mighty warm in the trailer” and “Come on down or we’re comin’ up!” were shouted in our direction. This went on for quite a while and we tried to block it out and assumed they would eventually grow tired of harassing us and leave us alone. We looked down the hill, but the dense woods between us and them obstructed a clear line of sight, and it was DARK. Despite our growing concern, we shrugged it off and started to set up tents on the snow.

We went about our business of dragging gear out of the truck and unstowing our stuff, and I was just unrolling my tent when my buddy stood straight up and said with urgency in his voice, “They’re coming up the hill!” I didn’t believe him, so I stopped and listened, holding my breath to hear better. Dead silence as wel all stood motionless – then a stick snapping under a heavy boot. SNAP!

We all heard it - it was far to close to our camp site, and instantly we all sprang into action. No words were spoken between the three of us. Instinctively we all knew the best thing was to get in the car FAST. In about 30 seconds time we had all our stuff up and thrown in the car. My friends was driving this weekend and he got the ignition turned over and hit the gas pedal before I was all the way in the car. The car jerked forward over the snow and down the hill into the darkness. As I looked back I could see two men in our campsite – their faces reflected in the firelight, eyes following us as we sped away.

It was a crazy experience and extremely spooky. Yes, they probably had some schnapps they wanted to share, or needed to borrow a cup sugar from the neighbors…Whatever. I have always, and still do, love backpacking solo. My favorite trips are the ones where I see no one for days, but when I do, I am leery. The most dangerous animals out there are the human kind.

Okay, story told. For my next trip, I checked in to the legality of carrying a firearm in WI State forests. I emailed the Park Superintendant for the direct line on regulations on carrying in WI SP’s. His reply is below:

Message from Park Superintendant on FA Carry:

Dear Mr. (deleted):

There are a number of points I would like to pass-on regarding your question
of carrying a pistol in the state forest.

1. Carrying a firearm in a pack is considered possessing a concealed weapon.
The firearm or the case it is in, must be in plain view; it does not matter
if the firearm is loaded or unloaded.
2. Firearms must be cased and unloaded within 100 yds. of any campground,
picnic area or other area designated by the Department. Additionally, no
person may possess any loaded or uncased firearm in the state forest except
while engaged in hunting in accordance with the open hunting seasons.
3. Target shooting is prohibited.

I regret that your camping trip was shorten because of unruly campers.
Normally, the vast majority of campers respect the rights of others.
However, in the future, if neighboring campers are disruptive, please
contact a Ranger or if one is not available, call the nearest Sheriff's
Department.

If you have further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Jerry Leiterman, Superintendent
Northern Unit - Kettle Moraine State Forest
N 1765 Co. HWY G
Campbellsport, WI 53010
Phone 262 626-2116
FAX 262 626-2117
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6010rocks
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Posts: 2432

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:41 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

when did you write the letter open carry may not have been legal then?
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AndrewGollup
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Joined: Sep 25, 2009
Posts: 150

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:07 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm not saying this in any way to challenge the validity of your story, but you seem like you'd be a really good story teller. Thank you for a clear, easy-to-read recount of your experience.

6010rocks wrote:
when did you write the letter open carry may not have been legal then?


It's been legal for a long time, just maybe not in state parks. It just wasn't known until recently.

I'll look for an ordinance confirming the letter. Sounds like another thing we need repealed...

_________________
I'm a newbie. Always have been, always will be...

G22, G27, fists of fury...

Dialing 9-1-1 does not magically put a lock on your gun.

Last edited by AndrewGollup on Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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AndrewGollup
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:42 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Not really state park, but:

Quote:
167.30 Use of firearms, etc., near park , etc. Any person who shall discharge or cause the discharge of any missile from any firearm , slung shot, bow and arrow or other weapon, within 40 rods of any public park , square or enclosure owned or controlled by any municipality within this state and resorted to for recreation or pleasure, when such park , square or enclosure is wholly situated without the limits of such municipality, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding 60 days or by fine of not more than $25 nor less than one dollar.


Hunting on state parks (might fit closer to what you asked about looking for):

Quote:
29.089 Hunting on land in state parks and state fish hatcheries.
...
29.089(2)
(2) Except as provided in sub. (3), no person may have in his or her possession or under his or her control a firearm on land located in state parks or state fish hatcheries unless the firearm is unloaded and enclosed within a carrying case.

29.089(3)
(3) A person may hunt deer, elk, wild turkeys, or small game in a state park, or in a portion of a state park, if the department has authorized by rule the hunting of that type of game in the state park, or in the portion of the state park, and, except as provided in s. 29.063 (5) [I think that's getting hunting tags], if the person holds the approvals required under this chapter for hunting that type of game.

_________________
I'm a newbie. Always have been, always will be...

G22, G27, fists of fury...

Dialing 9-1-1 does not magically put a lock on your gun.
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MattSchultz
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Location: Woodstock, IL

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:19 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I contacted the WI DNR earlier today via live chat from their website. Here is a part of the chat log (I copied the entire log) as it was explained to me:

Matt
In WI an individual is allowed to open cary a handgun for self defense. Is this allowed in the state park?
Donna:
Not in the following counties:
Donna:
Dane, Dodge, Fond du lac, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, LaCrosse, Milwaukee, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Sauk, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Winnebago counties or on state forest lands in the Kettle Moraine or Point Beach state forests or state recreation areas.
Donna:
UNLESS....you are engaged in hunting in accordance with an open season
Donna:
OR while training dogs under a department license in the designated areas.
Matt:
So what you are saying is that a person cannot open carry a firearm in any of the state parks in that list of counties?
Donna:
Not unless they are legally hunting or training/trialing a dog
Matt:
But if a park is not in any ofthose counties you listed then it is ok?
Donna:
and have the appropriate licenses.
Donna:
That's what I would think but not 100% sure. I'd suggest contacting the park manager of any park you plan to visit with a weapon.
Donna:
Or the local warden for clarification.
Matt:
Ok now is that because the indivual counties regulate it or why is it only cerain counties?
Donna:
Is there anything else today?
Donna:
I don't know why
Matt:
And if one cannot open carry in those counties then can they carry it in a case?
Donna:
I can put you in touch with someone in law enforcement if you like who would be able to answer that question.
Donna:
NO
Donna:
The regulation from page 36 of the 2009 deer regs state:
Matt:
do you have a link to that?
Donna:
It is illegal to possess any loaded OR uncased firearm or air gun
Donna:
In state parks in the above mentioned counties.
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MattSchultz
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Posts: 168
Location: Woodstock, IL

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:24 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

cont. sorry it wouldn't let me add more to that reply. I have the Deer Regs. that she mentioned in the chat. She was reading word for word the law. I can send it to anyone who wants it. When I asked her for a copy she was able to bring it right up on my screen for me. Very impressive.

Now I know I've seen elsewhere a law relating to firearm possession in a state park, but this is the first time I have seen this list of counties like this. Some of this sounds like what the original poster was told in 2003.

Excerpt from WI DNR 09 Deer Regs.

...It is illegal to:
• possess any loaded or uncased firearm or air gun while within the exterior boundary
of state-owned lands posted with department signs in Dane, Dodge, Fond du
Lac, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Outagamie, Ozaukee,
Racine, Sauk, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago
counties or on state forest lands in the Kettle Moraine or Point Beach state forests,
or state recreation areas, except as follows:
1. while engaged in hunting in accordance with the open seasons listed on pages
5–8.
2. while shooting at an established target range (this is the only target shooting
permitted on these state lands).
3. while training or trialing dogs under department license within designated areas...
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Madchemguy
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Posts: 108

PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:46 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Andrew,
Right on. Firearms are generally banned in WI State Parks unless engaged in hunting. FAs may be transported, encased and unloaded, however. Remember, the carrying case must be visible or it is concealed.

Be careful when carrying. We want outlaws in jail, not law abiding citizens.

When I asked the Superintendat for clarifcation, I got the follwoing:

Quote:

Scott, the answer to your question is yes.

Couple of other items to consider - cased means the firearm must be
completely enclosed (most holsters do not completely enclose the firearm);
the firearm restrictions I have listed reflect firearm use in the state
forest, other municipalities may have more or less restrictive local
ordinances. Check with the local police departments to make sure.

Jerry

-----Original Message-----
From: deletedi]
Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2003 11:06 AM
To: Leiterman, Jerome L
Cc:[i] deleted

Subject: RE: Regulations Regarding Firearms in Kettle Moraine North


Dear Mr. Leiterman,

Thank you for your timely reply. To be absolutely certain I comply and for
absolute clarity, I could carry a firearm as long as it was unloaded, cased
and in plain view at all times. Please verify if this is correct.

I also want to express my admiration for Wisconsin State Forests. I have
nothing but respect for the rules and regulations. I have long had nothing
but enjoyable experiences in Wisconsin outdoors and plan to have many more
in the future. In fact I was hiking the Ice Age Trail last weekend in
Kettle Moraine North and had a wonderful time.

I look forward to your reply.

Best Regards,

Deleted
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MattSchultz
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Posts: 168
Location: Woodstock, IL

PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:59 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Madchemguy (sorry dont know your name)

That pertains to Kettle Moraine which is in that list of areas in the statute. What we need to find out is if you can open carry in the rest of the parks that are not on that list.

On a side note the National Parks just changed their firearm laws to allow carry now based on the state laws of the state the park is in. That will be coming out in February of this year.
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Madchemguy
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:28 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Matt,
Open carry is banned in state parks unless actively engaged in hunting:

State Parks & Wildlife Refuges: Statute 29.089 requires firearms to be unloaded and encased in state parks. There is an exception for hunting when the hunt is administratively approved. Statute 29.091 requires firearms to be encased and unloaded in wildlife refuges.

Scott
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MKEgal
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Posts: 103
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 1:32 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm posting this in Sep. 2014, and in 2011 our laws about carry changed considerably, and not just getting concealed carry.

WI statute 29.089(2) originally prohibited useful firearms in state parks, other than hunting, etc., which the DNR people already told you about.

2011 Act 35 changed that so anyone with a ccl can carry openly or concealed in a state park or fish hatchery. Also, if you have a ccl you can carry in a taxpayer-owned building which does not have a "keep out, evil gun owner" sign on the door, and the state decided not to post its buildings. (Courts and police stations are prohibited by law, but are also usually posted.)

2011 Act 168 changed that so anyone who's legal to possess a firearm or ammunition is legal to carry in a state park, but a ccl is still needed for a fish hatchery (dunno why) or taxpayer-owned building. This went into effect 01JAN13.

So now 29.089 only talks about hunting, fishing, & trapping in state parks & fish hatcheries, and possessing a firearm at a fish hatchery. Nothing about possessing a firearm in a state park.

http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/29/II/089

Thanks to preemption (66.0409) this change in state law means that no locally-owned park can prohibit anyone who's lawfully armed.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/66/IV/0409

And both 66.0409(6) and 947.01(2) clearly & explicitly say that simply being armed is not disorderly conduct.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/947/01
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