Letter in the March 6, 2007, Tomahawk Leader:
This letter is about the mismanagement of the bear population and it's affect on our deer herds. Twenty-five years ago it was the assumption (by local wardens) that the bear population consumed about one-quarter of the fawn crop each year. Back then if you wanted to see a bear you’d go to the dump in the evening and wait and you might have gotten a glimpse of one. Otherwise to see one in the wild was rare. Now I see anywhere from five to seven per year along roads or in fields. And that's not counting one particular sow by us that seems to have three to four cubs every other year. …
It's getting so populated in the Harrison and Skanawan areas that for 12 years they have been trapping them each fall on the farm that I live next to. Each year about mid-August when the corn goes into the milk stage the fields are literally crawling with bear. The DNR has hired out the job of trapping and moving these bear and over 12 years that individual has moved 50-plus bear. …
The problem is, they do not start trapping until there is a certain amount of damage done, then not only do the taxpayers pay for the bears’ removal, we also pay damages to these farmers.
This is not the only farm around that has this problem. On Hwy. 17, in Parrish, one farm had 10 bears removed last year alone before the DNR issued kill tags to the farmer to get rid of them and four more were shot. It is estimated that each bear removed costs taxpayers $700. That's $35,000 to remove the 50 bear on one farm in 12 years, plus damages; not a very good management strategy if you ask me. … It makes a whole lot more sense to issue more kill permits for these areas, like they do for high deer populations, and eliminate the problem for good instead of just moving it.
Now let’s assume there are seven bears, not counting cubs, in our area and each one of them eats 10 fawns each spring. (One study had a big boar catching 15 fawns). That’s a lot of deer that never make it past their first week.
The deer numbers in our area have plummeted over the last 10 years .... It seems the DNR is using one wildlife management strategy to manage the other with no concern over costs to the taxpayer. I have no problem with the DNR wanting to reduce the deer numbers in areas that need it, but let’s not trade one problem for another. …
Maybe this is the reason wolves were re-introduced, just to manage the deer herds. ... The anti-hunters and insurance companies are spending a lot of time and money and they are being heard; maybe it's time the hunting community spends a little less time looking for deer, that probably aren't there, and a little more time voicing their opinion to lawmakers.