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The Unknown Future of Wisconsin's Deer Herd

June 29, 2012
The Unknown Future of Wisconsin's Deer Herd - 4

Last fall Wisconsin hired James Kroll, a.k.a. Dr. Deer, as the new “Deer Trustee” for the state. Kroll’s responsibilities will be for putting together recommendations for future management of Wisconsin’s deer herd.

Kroll’s preliminary report featured more on his team and past deer issues rather than what the future management plan would look like.

There are many things that Kroll and his team could suggest. Some think there will be a change to the state’s sex-age-kill formula that is currently in place for estimating deer populations while others think antler restrictions might come into play.

Some of the deer data the DNR uses, like wintering ranges, is more than a decade old. Kroll will most likely recommend updating this data. Other possibilities could include antlerless tags specific for private and public lands and decreasing deer predation by coyotes, wolves and black bears.

One of the more interesting conversations that’s sure to spark some debate will be around whether or not mandatory deer check stations should be replaced in favor of using an online and phone registration process. Using an online or phone system should save the DNR money in the long run, but will the data still be as accurate? If the DNR does go to an online system, it would still be beneficial to have a two- or three-week mandatory check in during the peak of the rut when many deer are killed so biologists can ensure the herd is healthy.

Another hot topic will be Kroll’s recommendation on how the DNR, hunters and landowners could work together to better manage the deer herd. Some groups think the deer population needs to increase while others, like farmers and homeowners, have crop damage and extensive shrub damage from deer.

There’s no question that Wisconsin has some big bucks – it sits on top of the record books when it comes to the number of record whitetails taken over the last ten years. The real question now is whether or not Wisconsin will continue to be a top producer following the new management plan set out by Kroll and his team. Hunters will have to wait and see, the next report is due July 1st.

Comments (4)

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from bioguy01 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

jjas - Landowners...maybe. Insurance companies? Now that's a myth. Although wildlife agencies do want to reduce the incidence of deer-vehicle collisions, it's not because of pressure from insurance companies. It's because it's a public safety hazard and an economic drain on motorists and society in general. Deer are responsible for an estimated 1.5 million accidents accounting for about $1+ billion in damages, 29,000 injuries and 200 fatalities each year throughout the US. Anybody that hits a deer knows how expensive it is because insurance companies don't pay the full cost of the repairs. The person insured needs to cover the deductible before insurance kicks in. I don't know about you, but I have a $1000 deductible to keep my premiums lower...the last thing I want to do is hit a deer and cause $1000+ worth of damage! If DVCs are a problem for insurance companies, they'll just increase your premiums, so who really loses out on the deal? That's right...the motorists. The motorists get slammed with a bill they cannot afford if they hit a deer, and slammed again with higher premiums if everybody else in the state with the same coverage is also hitting deer. I don't know who started the "insurance company" myth, but whoever did had absolutely no idea what they were talking about.

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from schmakenzie wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I am from Illinois and we use a call in or online check in system for deer unless they are checking for CWD. It was kind of weird in the beginning, but I am used to it now. I can not help, but think people tag wrongly or don't tag at all. Who knows? I really like how you can follow the archery harvests in almost real time on the DNR website. I wish you luck in Wisconsin, I hear the deer hunting is just as good or better than Illinois.

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from jjas wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

There is so much pressure from landowners and insurance companies to lower herd numbers that hunters are going to be expected to kill more does and the easiest way to do that is cheap doe tags and one buck rules.

In Indiana, the herd is being managed as much for "social" reasons as herd health reasons and I expect Wisconsin will do the same.

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from charlie elk wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

WDNR is using 16 year old habitat maps from 1996. The SAK formula dates back to the 50's when buck only hunting was allowed and has never been updated to reflect the mandated antlerless kill. WDNR and the outdoor press have been asleep at the switch here in WI. We have big bucks in spite of WDNR not because of.
Having a Deer Trustee to review WI deer management is a great idea and long overdue.
later,
charlie

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from charlie elk wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

WDNR is using 16 year old habitat maps from 1996. The SAK formula dates back to the 50's when buck only hunting was allowed and has never been updated to reflect the mandated antlerless kill. WDNR and the outdoor press have been asleep at the switch here in WI. We have big bucks in spite of WDNR not because of.
Having a Deer Trustee to review WI deer management is a great idea and long overdue.
later,
charlie

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

There is so much pressure from landowners and insurance companies to lower herd numbers that hunters are going to be expected to kill more does and the easiest way to do that is cheap doe tags and one buck rules.

In Indiana, the herd is being managed as much for "social" reasons as herd health reasons and I expect Wisconsin will do the same.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from bioguy01 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

jjas - Landowners...maybe. Insurance companies? Now that's a myth. Although wildlife agencies do want to reduce the incidence of deer-vehicle collisions, it's not because of pressure from insurance companies. It's because it's a public safety hazard and an economic drain on motorists and society in general. Deer are responsible for an estimated 1.5 million accidents accounting for about $1+ billion in damages, 29,000 injuries and 200 fatalities each year throughout the US. Anybody that hits a deer knows how expensive it is because insurance companies don't pay the full cost of the repairs. The person insured needs to cover the deductible before insurance kicks in. I don't know about you, but I have a $1000 deductible to keep my premiums lower...the last thing I want to do is hit a deer and cause $1000+ worth of damage! If DVCs are a problem for insurance companies, they'll just increase your premiums, so who really loses out on the deal? That's right...the motorists. The motorists get slammed with a bill they cannot afford if they hit a deer, and slammed again with higher premiums if everybody else in the state with the same coverage is also hitting deer. I don't know who started the "insurance company" myth, but whoever did had absolutely no idea what they were talking about.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from schmakenzie wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I am from Illinois and we use a call in or online check in system for deer unless they are checking for CWD. It was kind of weird in the beginning, but I am used to it now. I can not help, but think people tag wrongly or don't tag at all. Who knows? I really like how you can follow the archery harvests in almost real time on the DNR website. I wish you luck in Wisconsin, I hear the deer hunting is just as good or better than Illinois.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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