July 31, 2012 – MADISON – Today Wisconsin’s Hunters Right Coalition (HRC) applauded the quick action that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is taking to implement the findings of Dr. Kroll. Dr. Kroll was appointed by Governor Walker to conduct an independent review of deer management in the state. Today was the first meeting of a stakeholder group convened to review the recommendations of the review team.
“Secretary Stepp and her team have pushed forward with implementation, today taking the necessary first step of getting input from all stakeholder groups,” said Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association Vice President Carl Schoettel. “We know that bureaucracies tend to oppose any change, and we know it will take a concerted effort to make the vision of Dr. Kroll a reality. Stepp and her team seem very sincere in moving Wisconsin in a totally new direction.”
“Those attending the stakeholder meeting really seemed to be in consensus that the Kroll report should be implemented in its entirety,” said Joe Koback, Legislative Chairman for Wisconsin’s Chapters of Safari Club International. “We need to take this package as a whole and give it a try. It’s the only way to restore trust with the Wisconsin hunter.”
Among the key recommendations discussed today was the implementation of a new program – Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP). It would start by providing management assistance to land owners so they can maximize the potential habitat of their parcel. The concept then spreads to the county and regional level, in essence replacing the top down, numbers based management system we now have with a local consensus driven process balancing the needs of hunters, farmers, woodlands owners, and local communities.
“We need to get away from an SAK-based system,” said Koback, “simply because if the hunter is happy and the farmers and foresters aren’t seeing unacceptable browsing by deer, then we don’t have a problem. Who cares what the deer ‘count’ says?”
Simplification of deer rules was another theme of the meeting. “Hunting needs to be fun or you are losing hunters,” said Schoettel. “We should follow Dr. Kroll’s recommendation to eliminate the hated Deer Management Unit and instead follow county lines and even group several counties together in regions.”
Schoettel added, “the only way this will work is having more ‘boots on the ground’ with DNR personnel out in the field working with landowners, instead of sitting in cubicles in Madison dictating hunting rules.”
“The Kroll report is a blueprint for major reform of deer management in this state. We should move as quickly as possible to full implementation,” concluded Koback.
The Hunters Rights Coalition is Wisconsin’s only group 100% dedicated to advancing hunting opportunities and protecting the rights of Wisconsin’s hunters. The Coalition is made up of several groups including: The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Wisconsin Chapters of Safari Club International, Whitetails of Wisconsin, Wisconsin FORCE, and the National Rifle Association.
For more information please contact our representative Bob Welch 608.819.0150.