Hunters, I want to make you aware of an effort to gather your input on deer season management. As a member of the Deer management population goal and boundary advisory board, I along with the other members of this advisory board were given our own private links to two surveys as a way of getting out the vote for our stakeholder community. I represent the bowhunting community but by extension, all deer hunters and as such, urge you to use this two links below to take the surveys as your results will then be known to have come from the deer hunting community.
It is important to know that this survey comes from our DMU advisory board and NOT THE DNR. Our advisory board made that clear when we set this up. DNR will not be the ones administering this survey nor will they be the one to tally the results. I spent a good deal of time via phone and email formulating the questions for this survey as I am sure other members of the DMU advisory board did the same. We felt these were important questions to ask of the hunters of WI.
I did my own verification and validation of this survey tool by building my own in order to better understand how it will be administered. You can trust that this is being administered outside of the DNR by our own DMU facilitator.
You will only be able to take this survey once per computer and it is encouraged that you first attend one of the DMU meetings in a county near you. This first survey is an online questionnaire being used to gather general input on deer management in Wisconsin. It even includes a question that allows you to grade the DNR's deer management performance with an "A" thru "F" grading scale.
Take the first survey here:
The second Survey is to gather input on the idea of aggregating (consolidating) current Deer Management Unit (DMU) I will tell you that our DMU Advisory Board did NOT recommend aggregating units and that we are instead advocating that DNR keep the units the same as they are right now and run 2 sets of books for a few years to verify that consolidation is the right way to go.
The reason behind consolidation was that it is thought to give more accurate deer population estimates if the units are bigger thus offering a larger sample size. While this may be true, we felt it important that DNR test this plan on paper for a few years and then relay their findings back to us before a map change is made.
There is more to be considered besides accuracy when consolidating units that I will explain below but here is the link to the consolidation survey:
The concept map would take 133 units and combine them to generate a map of 41 Deer Management Units (DMU's) for an example, I will use the unit I hunt which is 62A. I made a map that shows that with a consolidation, 62A would be lumped together with 3 other units as shown below.
Each of the 4 existing units have harvest histories and overwinter populations goals established. Each unit has an established accounting of how many square miles of deer range is in that unit. As luck would have it, all 4 of these units happen to have a 25 deer per square mile (of range) population goal. When added together they would establish an aggregated population of 33875 deer. so combining them might seem like no big deal. I made this map to show Those numbers below.
At the same time, DNR uses population estimates known as SAK which stands for "Sex, Age, Kill" to determine the estimated overwinter population for each unit. I made this map to shows the most current SAK estimates as of March 5th. Based on set goal of 25 deer per square mile of range, this allows DNR to know how close to goal the population is. This map shows that the 4 units vary from 5% to as much as 120% over goal. It also shows what the preliminary season structure will be for this year's deer season for each of the units. The 4 units below are a mix of regular season, Herd control (EAB watch) and EAB.
This last map shows the current aggregated population goal (33878 deer) as well as the current estimated population (50015 deer) The new unit is now 47% above goal meaning unit 46 goes from a regular season structure to an EAB watch without any real change in it's population. It is being penalized by association with unit 62B. On the flip side, 62B goes from EAB to just being on watch for EAB. I think it's clear that there are concerns with combining units. I do not have the time to do this comparison for each combination of units but you can see how your unit would be effected while taking the survey. I urge caution when making your choice on the survey.
Lastly, please make a point of attending the DMU meeting in you area. For a complete list of dates, Times and locations, visit this link.
Thanks for taking the time to offer your voice in our states deer management.