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Wisconsin DNR ending use of guards to protect spawning sturgeon on Wolf River from poachers

Sturgeon, State Journal generic file photo

An ice fisherman handles a sturgeon in this 2021 file photo.

GREEN BAY — The state Department of Natural Resources is ending its practice of posting volunteer guards along the Wolf River to protect spawning sturgeon from poachers.

WLUK-TV reported Wednesday that Sturgeon for Tomorrow has been posting guards along the river around the clock each spring for decades in coordination with the DNR to protect the fish.

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DNR Regional Conservation Warden Ben Treml says there's been no major complaints or poaching cases for at least 15 years and coordinating the volunteers is a lot of work and it's hard to find people willing to work overnight. He added that no volunteers have patrolled the river for the last two years during the pandemic.

Jim Patt is the president of the southwest chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow. He says he's not happy with the DNR's decision. No one knows how much poaching is really going on, he said, and if word gets around that the guards aren't on the river any more poaching could increase.

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