Yesterday the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources board decided to kill it’s Earn-A-Buck program, a management strategy that forced hunters to take a doe before shooting a buck. Earn-A-Buck was used to curb the growing deer population and stop the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, but it was incredibly unpopular with hunters.

Imagine watching the buck of your dreams stroll out in front of you on opening day, but you have to let him walk because you haven’t shot a doe yet.

The vote to stop the 10-year program came after complaints from hunters finally reached the right ears. Frustrated deer hunters inspired a bill penned by Rep. Tom Tiffany that would have created a state law banning Earn-A-Buck for good.

The vote illustrates a dilemma facing states across the country of how to manage a deer herd without alienating hunters and tampering with long-standing traditions.

“There’s been a pretty overwhelming response in the last few years that hunters would like to see (these programs) go away,” Tiffany told the Wausau Daily Herald. “This addresses the social or cultural aspects of hunting as much as anything else.”

Then there’s the flip side …

“If we take this action today, what we are doing is basically guaranteeing that the percentage of animals with CWD in the deer herd will go up and the geographical range of CWD will expand,” board member Christine Thomas told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Should wildlife agencies cater to the needs of hunters to preserve the sport or should they use hunters as a tool for game management? Comment below.

Photo: benimoto