Report: DNR should drop deer goals

Gov. Walker says he looks forward to working with DNR
Report: DNR should drop deer goals

Gov. Scott Walker’s deer trustee said 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.

“The DNR they didn’t get here because they’re not technically competent or because they’re not dedicated or they didn’t work hard. They did; these are great people — very creative, very, very good people. They got here by a communication problem, and that’s what deer management’s all about, it’s an art, and working with the people’s important,” Kroll said.

He concluded the report by taking hunters to task too, saying they want a deer herd so large the landscape can’t support it.

“While DNR staff has worked hard, we need to do more to ensure hunters and conservationists have confidence in the department’s ability to manage the deer herd,” saild Walker in a statement. “The input incorporated into this report from hunters and conservationists will help us restore trust in the DNR’s ability to enhance Wisconsin’s hunting heritage as we move forward with implementation.”

Walker also said he looks forward to working with DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp and her team to follow through on Kroll’s report.

“The Department of Natural Resources is ready, willing and eager to roll up our sleeves and get started. We look forward to working with the public, the Natural Resources Board, Governor Walker, Dr. Kroll, Wildlife Management professionals, Legislators and the Conservation Congress to find ways to make deer hunting even better in Wisconsin,” said Stepp in a statement.