In July, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s office released an independent report by “Deer Czar” Dr. James Kroll.
The report brought about plenty of criticism from within the state (See D&DH Editor Dan Schmidt’s thoughts HERE), but regardless it called for some major changes in deer management in the state.
The following is the DNR’s update on those changes.
Fulfilling a campaign promise, Governor Scott Walker appointed an independent deer trustee in October 2011 to review DNR’s deer management and address hunter complaints. Trustee James Kroll – chair of forest wildlife at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas and director of the Institute for White-tailed Deer Management and Research – was assisted by David Guynn, professor of forest resources at Clemson University, and Gary Alt, former head of Pennsylvania’s deer program.
After a 9-month review – involving hundreds of DNR documents and public comments, and meetings with DNR staff, citizen groups, hunters and other natural resource agencies – the trustee committee submitted a final report with 62 recommendations. It can be found at dnr.wi.gov by typing “deer trustee report” in the search box.
Develop a deer management assistance program (DMAP) working closely with landowners and hunters.
Reduce the number of Deer Management Units. Currently there are 130 DMUs.
Limit the use of numeric population goals and estimates. Instead, evaluate deer habitat and deer health.
Develop an electronic deer registration system (Telecheck).
Simplify regulations. Review deer populations and seasons every three to five years instead of annually.
DNR has met with Stakeholder groups to get feedback on the report and started planning the needed steps for implementation. Some of the recommendations will require administrative rule changes or legislation. These recommendations will likely impact the 2014 deer seasons. Other simpler recommendations will be implemented sooner. Some recommendations will require further discussion with the public on how best to implement them.
The department will use stakeholder advisory groups to help guide implementation and establish a website where implementation progress can be monitored. This website should be up and running by mid-December.
The Timeline (as swift as possible)
The DNR will be working as swiftly as possible to implement the recommendations made in the report. Some that will occur in 2013 include initiating a pilot DMAP program in parts of the state, installing a Telecheck deer registration system, and improving outreach and public involvement at the local level.
Recommendations that require law changes will be targeted to the 2014 seasons. Improving land cover data and developing deer herd and habitat metrics will be done as resources and data become available.
Easy Way to Stay Updated
Individuals can subscribe for updates at: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/WIDNR/subscriber/new