EAB is gone. Thank Gawd

retch sweeny
 
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EAB is gone. Thank Gawd

Postby retch sweeny » Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:49 am

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The legislative ending of EAB was a good move. EAB is a tool that wrecks more important and statutorily mandated tools such as SAK. SAK is the only statutorily allowed method the DNR must use to annually estimate deer herd populations (the foundation of sound management) In units were EAB was used, SAK could not be used and we saw where that got us as predicted by the SAK audit team we spent a million + on. (for those lamenting the spending of 125K on Dr. Kroll). You can strive for accurate population estimates with SAK or you can use EAB but you can’t use both.

Millions being spent right now on a Buck recovery rate and fawn mortality studies are to improve SAK because SAK here to stay. Getting rid of EAB was the next logical step to improved population estimates. The more the DNR used EAB, the more the population estimates were flipped on its head producing population estimates indicating a growing herd while the actual population was tanking as predicted of the last independent study.

But I understand, science and history and statistics don’t matter if you only care about EAB making the other guy pass on bucks so you have a better chance at shooting a nice one in the future. Ending EAB was perhaps the most sound management decision in recent history and it came from the legislature which has some people upset. I say good riddance to EAB and hello to improved population estimates.

willypete
 
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Re: EAB is gone. Thank Gawd

Postby willypete » Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:42 pm

Earn a buck was horrible.

Meules37
 
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Re: EAB is gone. Thank Gawd

Postby Meules37 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:41 am

There was an article on the DDH homepage talking about how it was a very effective management tool for the state. Another side of the story.

Earn-a-Buck Out in Wisconsin
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 by Daniel Schmidt
One of North America's most effective deer management techniques was kicked to the curb yesterday when Wisconsin lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to prohibit state deer managers to use earn-a-buck regulations for future deer seasons. The state had used the regulations on and off for most of the past decade. The regulation forced hunters to bag and register an antlerless deer before "earning" the right to use their antlered buck tags. In Wisconsin, hunters are allowed to shoot one buck with a bow and one with a firearm.

Many hunters are calling the end of EAB a victory, as it was a loud contingent that leaned on lawmakers to repeal the regulation. Having lived in Wisconsin my entire life, I've seen how this regulation has divided the hunting community.

As a deer hunter, I will admit that EAB was a tough pill to swallow. In fact, I likely have a bigger sob story than anyone else can provide. I can't recall the exact year, I believe it was 2001, but my wife Tracy and I were bowhunting on a tract of private land in October. It was an EAB season, and Tracy had yet to bag her doe. Tracy was seated beside a large boulder, on the ground, in a makeshift blind she had built earlier that afternoon. I was perched in a tree stand about 200 yards away. I couldn't see her, but I could see the boulder.

At about 5 p.m., an absolutely huge buck appeared in the meadow near Tracy's hideout. I grabbed my binoculars and sat in stunned silence. This buck was incredible. I watched him for at least 10 minutes and wondered if Tracy did, in fact, see him. If I were to guess, I'd say he was easily 150 inches.

The buck eventually walked off, and darkness settled upon the landscape. I climbed from my stand and walked to Tracy's blind. When I arrived, she was standing beside the boulder, clutching on to it as if she was having a hard time standing. She was visibly shaken.

"Did you see that buck?" I gasped.

"You mean the giant 9-pointer that was standing right THERE for 10 minutes?" she blurted out while pointing to a spot just 10 yards in front of the boulder. "The same buck that I came to full draw on twice — put my sight pin on his chest — and let down just so I could tell you that I COULD have shot him? Yes, I saw him. I feel like I'm going to puke."

That was 10 seasons ago, yet it remains as the one and only antlered buck that Tracy could have shot with her bow.

Bitter pill, indeed. However, that story illustrates my desires as a hunter. As someone who understands the delicate balance between deer densities and habitat regeneration, I understand that EAB has been the only tool Wisconsin managers have used to successfully reduce deer populations enough to make a difference. They started in the 1980s by offering liberal antlerless deer tags. It didn't work. When given the choice, hunters, as a whole, shot more bucks. Then, concurrently with EAB, managers tried other options like unlimited doe tags and special doe-only hunts in October and December. Hunters revolted against the October hunts because they viewed them as cumbersome to the upcoming rut. By December, most guys had enough venison in the freezer, and the thought of shooting deer just to donate them to food pantries wasn't enough to keep them motivated as a group.

In the end, nothing has worked on a statewide level as effectively as EAB. And now it's gone with the stroke of a political pen. And therein lies the rub. Whether you liked EAB or loathed it, what has now happened is that a key tool to Wisconsin's deer management program has been taken out of the scientific community and placed into the hands of politicians and special-interest groups. Not a good move, in my opinion. You don't have to think too long or hard to envision where this could lead us in the future.

That's how I see it. What are your thoughts?

bullwinkle
 
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Re: EAB is gone. Thank Gawd

Postby bullwinkle » Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:21 am

I agree EAB was too punitive. The problem does not go away with its demise. The next couple of years will be interesting because the deer population will explode in good areas. I would like to see for OVER populated areas:

1. Unlimited free doe tags and a call in system to make it easy to shoot them
2. Some sort of incentive program that includes more buck tags for guys shooting does. Ie - punch card system where you shoot 5 does and you get another buck tag.

Right now my buck tag is filled and I can easily fill my doe tags during gun season. I probably should shoot 4-5 more does than I will just because I dont have tags and it is such a pain to register them (The closest registration station is a 20 min drive)

Let's use a carrot instead of a stick

Ostermann
 
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Re: EAB is gone. Thank Gawd

Postby Ostermann » Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:16 pm

EAB has it's pros and cons.

Pros - you shoot a doe before a buck. You can contribute by shooting 2 deer (at least) so that helps the herd. Also, you have to shoot the doe first before you get a buck. This allows the bucks to get a little bit older and bigger.
Cons - you have to shoot a doe first. My Dad during the 2007 season had to pass up a buck on opening day of gun season.

I like registering deer because that is a good way to ensure that deer are registered and you physically see the deer. I'm not a fan of phoning in. I too have to drive about 20 minutes to the bar to register but I like to do it because you can see what other folks are bringing in.

I think the DNR should have some type of data base to "reward" successful hunters. If you shoot 3 or 4 does then maybe an extra buck tag. But if you do that then you are going to get the hunters who shoot a bunch of deer one year and complain about no deer the next.

bullwinkle
 
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Re: EAB is gone. Thank Gawd

Postby bullwinkle » Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:22 pm

Ostermann - You make a good point. The real question is how do you get the hunters who have land and habitat that holds too many deer shoot the right amount of does? Conversely, how do you teach the hunters on land and habitat that is poor, hold off on does?

I think we as hunters better come up with a solution or the politicians will. Right now we are set up for problems. Like it or not, EAB balanced the deer population and ratio of bucks to does in high populated areas. My guess is our current regulations will not do so.

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Jslotter
 
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Re: EAB is gone. Thank Gawd

Postby Jslotter » Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:39 pm

EAB works good for horn hunters...
I only hunt on days that end in ' Y '.

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Jslotter
 
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Re: EAB is gone. Thank Gawd

Postby Jslotter » Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:41 pm

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I only hunt on days that end in ' Y '.

Ostermann
 
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Re: EAB is gone. Thank Gawd

Postby Ostermann » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:50 pm

Bullwinkle - That is the question. I think hunter education on managing the herd for hunter success, hunter sightings, non-hunter use, safety (deer collisions), and general use is something to strive for.

I have 20 acres that has public land bordering it. I know if I or the group of hunters shoot 5-10 deer, the next year will be kind of slow. 2008 my Dad took a doe, only deer we had seen 4+ days of hunting, limited doe tags. 2009 We saw a couple of deer, limited doe tags. 2010 I shot a small doe but we had seen 10 deer. The population does swing in that part of the state, Portage county near the Marathon county border.

The second half of the season I go to my in-laws farm in Outagamie county near the Waupaca county line (New London). Traditionally a T-Zone and EAB area. 2008 I got a 4 pointer there. 2009 Passed up a couple does but very light shooting for an area that is traditionally among the leaders for deer hunting. One of the guys who hunts there did get a nice 8 or 9 pointer. 2010 I got a 6 pointer but one of the daughters shot 3 bucks opening day!!! They were all chasing a doe.

My point: Long and continued doe harvests will cause an imbalance to buck/doe population. That helps the bucks grow a little bit if you have some restrictions on buck harvest. Deer numbers drop but then hunter satisfaction will drop or hunters won't pull the trigger. Selective harvest is key.


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