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Wis. GOP efforts to expand hunting irk opponents

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Hunting opponents say Wisconsin Republicans and the state Department of Natural Resources are going overboard in their efforts to expand hunting in the state.

Since Republicans took control of state government in 2011, they've launched a wolf hunt, renewed efforts to expand the state's elk herd in hopes of establishing a season, and lifted the general prohibition on hunting and trapping in state parks.

They've also proposed sandhill crane and woodchuck seasons and an open crossbow season.

GOP lawmakers say they're trying to preserve Wisconsin's hunting traditions and the economic boost they provide.

Conservationists say it's too much. They say Republicans are overlooking non-hunters like hikers and birdwatchers to please their political base and special interest groups.

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