Governor Holding Up ‘Dr. Deer’ Final Report

According to a report by Ron Seely of the Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin deer hunters only have one more day to wait before the state state releases the controversial report prepared for Gov. Scott Walker by Texas deer management expert Dr. James Kroll. According to Seely, Kroll delivered his report last week, but publication has been held up by Gov. Scott Walker.  It will be published on the Wisconsin Department of Administration website.

Seely writes:

Ed Eberle, who heads the DOA’s Department of Intergovernmental Relations, said the details of the report are being withheld until its release Tuesday on the agency’s website. He said Walker has been reviewing the report, which is 136 pages long with a seven-page executive summary, since June 27 when Kroll submitted a final draft.

What happens after the report’s release Tuesday is somewhat up in the air. It is unclear who will be deciding which of Kroll’s recommendations will be put in place or whether any changes will require legislative action. Kroll and others have indicated the process will involve the public, including public hearings on proposed changes to deer management.

Seely goes on to report that the DNR, which is squarely in Kroll’s crosshairs, has yet to see the report.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said more details about how Kroll’s recommendations are to be handled will be released along with the report Tuesday.

Kroll wrote the report in Texas and did not return calls late last week for comment on the final draft. Eberle said Kroll will be in the state for the report’s release. Even though Kroll submitted his report June 27, three days earlier than it was due, Eberle said its release to the public was delayed to give Walker time to read the report and also to avoid any conflict with the July 4 holiday.

Conspicuously absent from involvement in the report’s release is the DNR, the very agency that will be most affected by any recommendations from Kroll and his team. Tom Hauge, who heads the agency’s wildlife management programs, said Friday he does not know of anyone in the department who has seen the report.

“I don’t have a copy,” Hauge said. “I don’t believe anybody in our department has a copy yet.”

Hauge said that, other than a daylong meeting in November, DNR deer specialists have been little involved with Kroll during his study. He said Kroll did have an hour-long conference call a week ago with agency biologists to speak about the final draft of the report.

Ironically, the DNR is footing the bill for the study, even though it was requested by Walker and is being overseen by the DOA. Hauge said the $125,000 is coming from hunting and angling license fees collected by the agency. He said the DNR forwarded $60,000 of the fee to the Department of Administration in January and just last week signed off on another $66,185 payment to Kroll.