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Sporting Heritage Council supports new approach to hunting, fishing grants

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A state council that got into hot water for approving a politically-tainted sportsmen's grant has endorsed a new approach to achieve the grant's original goals. 

Thursday, the Sporting Heritage Council asked the DNR to come up with a series of small grants to encourage more Wisconsinites to go hunting and fishing. 

The panel also told lawmakers to fix the state budget measure which barred some well-established sporting groups from applying for the original half-million dollar grant. 

Critics said majority Republicans tried targeting the grant to the politically connected United Sportsmen, which had no experience in teaching people how to hunt and fish. The group's tax status was later questioned, and its leader left the group after it was learned that he was fined for a bear-hunting violation. 

Former Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, who reportedly engineered the budget measure, left to take a state bureaucratic job -- but while the grant controversy kept brewing, he left state government altogether to take a lobbying post with the Wisconsin Paper Council. 

Assembly Democrat Nick Milroy of South Range urged the sporting council to re-work the law to remove any attempt at favoritism. Council chair Scott Gunderson said grants could be arranged outside the political process, and he saw no need to revisit the law.

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