Eau Claire (WXOW) - Wisconsin deer hunters could see some major changes if new recommendations from the state's so-called 'Deer Czar' are implemented.
The final report from Dr. James Kroll, Wisconsin white-tailed deer trustee, was released Tuesday.
At our sister station, WQOW News 18's Keith Edwards has been covering wildlife issues in our area for 30 years. He read the 136-page report and says it came with a warning: that if something is not done, deer management will fall victim to political interests.
"If the people and the DNR do not come together to manage the deer herd I guarantee you there will be one bill after another and deer management will be taken apart and the whole system will collapse," says Dr. Kroll.
His final report includes more than 60 recommendations. Kroll says the DNR should simplify hunting regulations by not changing them for up to five years at a time, and should put limits on the antler-less deer kill in the state. He also says the DNR should stop coming up with deer population estimates and goals at the local level, and instead focus on the bigger picture.
"What is the health of the herd...and the habitat. If you remember in all of our interviews, I have hammered home about being able to assess habitat and that's a critical part of deer management," he says.
Kroll also recommends creation of a program to help landowners manage the deer on their property. He says 70 percent of hunting land in Wisconsin is in private hands.
"And they control a lot of habitat. So we have to work with them, not to give them control of the deer, but to work with them and help them manage the deer on those lands," he says.
He suggests allowing landowners to increase or decrease the number of deer on their property, by controlling the number of antler-less permits for specific properties. The landowners would also help the DNR collect data and be more involved in decision-making.
All of this, he says, would strengthen the relationship between hunters and the DNR. Kroll says another part of improving that relationship is to re-align assignments in the DNR.
Kroll says, "The next thing is to change job descriptions, where part of their job is to deal with the local people and organize those cooperatives, those landowners, and get everyone together."
Other recommendations in the report include raising the charge for antler-less permits to $12 and taking a more passive approach to chronic wasting disease where it already exists, instead of focusing on detecting spread.
He also says there should be an antlerless-permit system specifically for public hunting land.
In his report, Kroll also took a shot at hunters saying they often want to see more deer than the land can sustain.
DNR Secretary Kathy Stepp said Tuesday it will take several weeks to review the report, and says the agency is eager to get started on improving deer hunting in Wisconsin.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker's deer trustee says Wisconsin wildlife officials should quit establishing local population goals, let landowners hold site-specific hunts on their property and establish better connections with the public.
Walker's administration hired Texas researcher James Kroll to evaluate the Department of Natural Resources' deer management. The administration released Kroll's final report on Tuesday.
The study found the DNR's population estimates aren't precise enough for individual management zones, site-specific hunts would give the state valuable biological information on kills and better DNR outreach would help restore the agency's credibility with hunters.
He concluded the report by taking hunters to task too, saying they want a deer herd so large the landscape can't support it.
You can view the entire report here.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and WXOW. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Theresa Wopat at 507-895-9969. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.