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Gov. Walker pulls grant from United Sportsmen Foundation

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A politically-connected group will not get a state grant to encourage more Wisconsinites to go hunting and fishing. 

Governor Scott Walker Thursday night canceled the half-million dollar grant awarded eight days ago to the United Sportsmen Foundation. 

That was after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel learned that the group's leader, Andy Pantzlaff, was fined in 2005 for hunting with an improper license in Langlade County. 

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp, who gave final approval to the grant last Thursday, said Walker wants her agency to find other ways to promote the state's sporting heritage. They agreed that any group which gets state tax money needs to have the public's trust in being able to produce results. 

The Journal Sentinel said the United Sportsmen never had experience in training people to hunt, fish, or trap -- and some training groups were not allowed by Republican lawmakers to apply, while others didn't know the grant existed until it was too late.

The United Sportsmen were the only ones to apply. 

On Wednesday, the group apologized for a misunderstanding. That was after Pantzlaff told the state committee his group received tax-exempt status from the IRS, while it's actually in the process of doing that. 

Meanwhile, some Democrats are crying foul after the DNR told the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation to stop operating the state's MacKenzie Environmental Education Center at Poynette. 

The agency said the center was the only bidder for the project when it was approved in 2006. The DNR said it would start running the center itself next year.