State Republicans ban protesters from getting too close to hunters

Louis Weisberg, Staff writer

The state Assembly has approved a bill that would prohibit people from bothering hunters in the woods, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states can’t place such a restriction on anti-choice activists outside abortion clinics.

The Assembly passed the bill on a voice vote April 11 with no debate. The Senate passed the bill on a voice vote last month. The measure now goes to Gov. Scott Walker. 

The bill’s Republican authors say concerns about hunter harassment have grown since the Wolf Patrol, a group of animal rights activists, followed and filmed wolf hunters in Wisconsin and Montana in 2014.

The bill would expand the definition of interference with a hunter to include remaining in a hunter’s sight and photographing or confronting a hunter more than twice with the intention to interfere. The bill is SB 338.

The law could face legal challenges. In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in McCullen v. Coakley that setting limits on where anti-abortion protesters can stand and what they can say violates their Constitutional right to free speech.