I personally think it is really sad that in Wisconsin venison is the ONLY choice on the big game menu! We are all so gun ho for deer hunting and this land has been so screwed up for so long that we actually believe this is the way it's supposed to be. Wisconsin is supposed to be one big petting zoo full of deer for our fun food and pleasure, can't have anything dangerous in the woods, someone might get hurt!
We tried to put as many deer as we could in our petting zoo so everyone could shoot a half dozen deer each, but we learned that the forest can't feed that many deer. While we were too busy fighting over how many deer we should have, bears and wolves got into our petting zoo, threatening to screw up the whole petting zoo. Diseased deer down south, over hunted deer up north, all proof that our unnatural "petting zoo" management doesn't work.
We don't know any better, I slept through history classes, all I know is this is the way Wisconsin is and has been for as long as I remember. Wild animals were something we saw in movies, bears, wolves, cougars, elk bison caribou and moose, just characters in a Disney movie, not something we see in the woods in real life. ...I never even saw a coyote in WI before the 90's, and now I think Mother Nature has had about enough of our foolishness. If you're paying attention, the message is fairly clear. Go back to 5th grade biology, are we smarter than 5th graders? Humans+bears+wolves+cougars= 0 deer and 0 deer means no human deer hunters, and bears, wolves and cougars either eat domestic animals or die.
#1 predator in Wisconsin? Human. Tell me, what's in your freezer? Mine has beef, pork, venison, turkey, pizza, and a variety of other foods. Predators need variety, and we're the only predator that can go to the store or raise our own. What do our current other predators have to eat here in Wisconsin? Funny, the same exact things we find in our freezers. We don't take too kindly sharing our food either, especially our domestic animals and crops. Back to 5th grade, what did the bears, wolves and cougars eat in Wisconsin before the white man came and killed everything? What's it going to take to maintain a natural food chain that has bears, wolves, cougars and humans? A LOT MORE THAN JUST DEER! That's for sure.
Back to the question. I use to put 6 deer per year in my freezer. We ate a lot of venison in a variety of different ways, hot dogs, brats, sausage, steaks, roasts, hot stixs ect. I guess that's how Wisconsinites have evolved, making the most out of what's available. Now that I've grown older and hopefully wiser, I'd like to leave more than just deer for my grandchildren. Don't get me wrong, deer are awesome, but to save the deer, to save hunting, to save and rebuild Wisconsin's economy, we must rebuild the natural food chain and manage our natural renewable resources by reintroducing the links that are missing.
In my lifetime I have seen bears go from 0-30,000 plus. Wolves go from 0- 1000+. Now cougars are showing up. In my life time I've seen many birds and animals return to Wisconsin, most recently turkeys and pelicans have showed up in numbers I never would have believed 30 years ago. We've done a lot of good work cleaning up the mess we've been left with and only a few steps away from stabilizing the big game food chain. Get behind our DNR and get the elk program back on track, and give the DNR a kick in the back side for keeping bison behind fences and sold off like cattle. Those bison in Sand Hill should become a test herd in the wild where they belong. If we have to have wolves, bison are the number 1 favorite wolf food. We can have a couple million grazing animals to hunt, they just can't all be deer.
So in 20-40 years from now I hope my grandson has more than just venison on the big game menu here in Wisconsin, but that's up to us here and now. We're a couple steps away from loosing EVERTHING too. The choice is ours.
American by birth, hunter by choice.