Stumpsitter, very interesting post. I hate to admit it but that's the first I've heard of Deer 2000. Can you tell us more about it and how it pertains to today?
Yes we do complain some after even the best years past but what I see out my back windows isn't good. What I see on public hunting grounds in my county is pathetic. Where we've seen hundreds of deer in the past, we're see small groups 5-10 deer. I've never in my life seen so few deer. 92 doesn't even come close, yet my county is still an EAB unit. If this is above goal, then our deer herd is in trouble, the goal is way too low.
The WI DNR does have a lot of DATA, maybe more than every other state, but they're not using the DATA to make decisions. There DATA shows that even by there low number goals, they are below goal so they call that area "Regular Zone." There admitted miss calculation of the deer herd is blamed on late winter kill last year. How can they determine late winter kill already for this year when winter isn't over yet? This year is every bit as bad as last year weather wise, we killed too many deer last year in the "regular Zone" because they sold the chickens before they hatched.
You add up the lost deer, you add up the sudden jump from 13,000 bears to over 40,000 in 1 year, add up the wolves that will triple last years number by this summer, by time you are all done adding and subtracting, the deer numbers in Regular zone are in the red just like Wisconsin's accounting books. Problem is, when the deer are all gone, you can't just borrow some from Obama's bail out plan.
I don't know about Deer 2000 but I know back in the early 90's Wisconsin biologists and hunters had a blue print to restore the natural food chain in Northern WI. That plan came to light when the first wolves were wandering into the north woods and the first few bears were gaining numbers also. They figured the bears could bring in big game money, deer was big game money, but if wolves move in, elk and other big game is needed. They studied all the native missing big game animals, elk, bison, moose, caribou..... they determined that only elk and bison were feasable for reintroduction. 1995 They put in 25 elk as a test herd near Clam Lake. Around 2000 they were doing so well that it was decided more elk were now needed to turn the test herd into a reintroduction herd. 2002 all was planned and ready to go when CWD was discovered in southern WI's deer herd and the elk plan was put on hold. The DNR restudied the situation, and decided that the elk were still needed and worth the risk. They joined forces with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and devised a new plan to get disease free elk from Elk Island Canada to boost the test herds genetics and add a 2nd herd in Black River Falls. This plan is well thought out, well planned, and even paid for but the DNR was stopped by the Dept of Ag and forbidden to transport any elk into this state. The Dept, of Ag will not even let the DNR split up our existing herd with in the state can not truck an elk 1 mile. The plan is on hold until the Dept of Agriculture says so.
So the plan put together years ago has all gone ahead without the elk, with out the bison, the bears are peaking, the wolves are peaking, our deer are holding up the food chain as well as possible, but doomed to collapse if the elk don't show up to help feed the hunters, bears, wolves and now cougars. If the deer collapse, the bears follow, then the wolves and here we go again. Wolves will be back on the Fed list, the only way to get rid of them is to loose everything. The only way to live with them is to have deer elk and bison for all the hunters to hunt. One fact that bodes well for the elk is the fact that Clam Lake and Black River Falls are swarming with wolves and bears, deer numbers are way down, chances of CWD spreading through deer past all the wolves and bears is drastically reduced. Mother natures CWD buffer zone, so now's a good time to get those elk into the north woods. , lower the bear count, keep close control of that 500 wolf goal and let the deer recover together with the new elk. Move the DNR bison from central WI's enclosed pen to open range in Northern WI with the elk as a test herd. If studies work out, we can reintroduce them in numbers in the future. If they don't work out, it was worth a try and the DNR can convert there present pastures back into unfenced natural habitat. You want a healthy deer herd, you need a healthy food chain and never before has WI deer needed elk and other big game animals more.
American by birth, hunter by choice.