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Not being treated fairly

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:30 pm
by Tomahawk Leader
A Letter in the Jan. 29 Tomahawk Leader:

To The Editor:

Over the years, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) has seemingly taken unilateral control of the interests of hunting license holders in Wisconsin. Like no other time before, Wisconsin hunters really need some sort of platform to voice concerns to the WDNR. We need an organized voice when dealing with proposed WDNR rules, the rules making process and promulgation. They “allow” us to attend hearings. We all know how that has gone. Individual opinions brought up at hearings are easily isolated and shot down. We need to do something as a unified group or this WDNR will continue to ruin what we as hunters take so seriously.

Most WI hunters are not at all satisfied with the wildlife management decision-making processes. License holders’ interests are essentially omitted from the process, outside of the dog-and-pony public hearing process. Without a collective approach, we will continue to be overrun by poor, unleashed and unilateral management decisions … also know as “regulatory creep.”

I have talked with hundreds of hunting and fishing license holders regarding some of the wild ideas strewn by the WDNR (i.e., EAB, harvest vs. population numbers, six minnow rule, etc.). I must say that I have never experienced so much consistency and unity on the positions of these license holders. The overall agreement is that our WDNR is out of control. We need them to start hearing, respecting and considering our thoughts on issues.
A few issues are as follows:

1. We challenge "the actual number of deer" versus what the WDNR is claiming.

2. The formula for sex-age-kill is artificially inflating the deer kill target for the next year. Baiting/non-baiting issues.

3. The split north/south duck openers. This is causing problems only up north for obvious reasons.

In the wake of higher and higher license fees, the fact is that we are not being treated fairly – rather we are ignored and taken for granted. The WDNR needs to take our opinions to the decision table to be presented to the Natural Resources Board (NRB), as part of the rule-making process. I have thought of some possible names and acronyms for an organization, including (other ideas welcome) – Hunters Against Regulatory Mismanagement (HARM): accurate, but perhaps a bit negative; and Hunter's Alliance for Regulatory Communication (HARC): reflects the goal, and has a more positive connotation.

I am very serious about this and really would value your opinions, your ideas and perhaps your help in launching this effort. Please contact me at 715-536-7870 if you have any questions. Please leave your name, phone number, and e-mail address in support of the effort. Subsequent action will be based on overall support of the effort.

Tony Ungerer

Re: Not being treated fairly

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:49 am
by Jeff Boettcher
So Tony,
Do you have a degree in Wildlife Management, Fisheries, or Water Resource Management? Have you personally surveyed an area for an accurate wildlife population estimate? Do you have a solution to the fish virus that has been found in Lake Michigan AND the Winnebago watershed?

The folks you are bashing are trained & dedicated to maintaining habitat/improving wildlife survival and fisheries management for our state.

Re: Not being treated fairly

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:11 am
by Kerry Tobin
Just because your (trained) mechanic says your car is running fine doesn't mean a crowd of 50 people can't figure out its on fire...

Remember that the DNR isn't listening to it's own people out in the field that are telling them the bear numbers are too high and the deer numbers in SOME areas are too low!

Heck, rumor has it that the DNR might finally admit there are cougars in the state because someone saw one down a little closer to Madison. I guess if you're from anywhere north of Portage the DNR considers you blind, deaf, incompetent and stupid!

Re: Not being treated fairly

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:04 pm
by ungerer1
No technical experience. . . but my empirical experience is more valuable and accurate than you may know. It sounds like you work for the WDNR. Don't be so naive. Listen, I happen to know that there are many DNR workers (i.e., wardens, etc) at our level that actually do care about what they are doing. However, they are controlled by the political puppets who frankly don't allow them to serve properly . . .

Re: Not being treated fairly

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 9:44 pm
by Jeff Boettcher
No WDNR employee here. I just get tired of DNR bashing when some one doesn't get their deer or limit of fish. There's a guy at work who was griping about the lack of deer on his 40, claiming it was directly caused by T-Zones. When a buddy set up a game tracker camera along a trail that ran through the land the camera must have had a near melt down from all the deer pics it took. The problem: The deer were all passing through at night.

Generalized accusations without data are irritating, not helpful. Although I guess I did the same thing by lumping you in with the whiners. My apologies.


Re: Not being treated fairly

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:38 am
by Kerry Tobin
Hey Jeff,

I figure I'm pretty unbiased, my idea of a perfect hunting weekend involves hanging out with friends and my dad at the cabin (but never quite making to the stands). Most times I don't even bother to buy a license since I know I won't be hunting.

However, just spending time on our property I can tell you things have changed. We simply don't have deer sign around. After a snowfall there MIGHT be one set of tracks. This is the same 80 acres that five years ago I told friends that wanted to hunt I would guarantee they'll at least see something. It might only be a couple of fawns, but there will be something out there. This year I had to warn them they were more likely to run into bears than they were to see deer. The only thing I can promise you'll see in a weekend now are turkeys.

I also used to see deer crossing the roads, both at the cabin and in Tomahawk. Heck, it was expected that I was going to have to slow down somewhere on my drive home. I honestly can't remember the last time I had to stop for a deer near our house or our cabin. Seeing deer in the car was another great thing for family and friends from bigger cities. Sadly, it isn't something I even bother to tell them to expect anymore.

Re: Not being treated fairly

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 10:22 pm
by Jeff Boettcher
Aren't there now two established wolf packs in the Tomahawk area? That could "do a number" on the deer populations. But if the deer are gone, then the wolf population might leave the area or die off from lack of prey (Or be shot if they start taking out cows.)

I have noticed around some public lands near Merrill & Tomahawk that the browse line is about 6 feet in height. Could it be that the deer just ate themselves out of the area? (I think most of them migrated to rural areas around Appleton!)

My hunting consists of being camp cook or bush beater during bird season. It's just fun to be out & about. Fishing is my addiction/affliction!

Re: Not being treated fairly

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:22 pm
by Kerry Tobin
Well, we have two food plots that are hardly touched by anything but turkeys and grouse and I don't believe the two fields on either side of our property are visited much either so I don't think food is the problem. We've also never seen a track bigger than a coyote that didn't belong to one of our dogs so wolves aren't the problem either (cabin's west of town, closer to Brantwood). Like I said though, bears are a problem (we've chased them out of the porch while we were there, had them bite the cabin and have had paw prints on the windows).

The sad part is the DNR says there are too many deer in our area and keeps threatening more and more hunts. Heck, based on the lack of gunfire I could hear during gun season I'd say their isn't much to shoot at anywhere within hearing distance.

Re: Not being treated fairly

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:59 pm
by kmartell
I certainly can't add anything directly to this subject because of where I presently live but I think I know where all the deer have the foothills just west of the Stanford University campus.

Yesterday a friend and I went for a noon hour hike in the hills just west of the campus, an area park called Windy Hill, and saw 3 deer, one fox, and paw marks from at least one mountain lion (haven't seen one of these bad boys yet but the area is posted to be warned of their presence). We see deer almost every time we hike...this is a first for the fox and he was a scraggly looking guy for sure. Granted, this land is part of what's called the Peninsula Open Space Reserve, making it basically untouched land for hiking and such, but it is neat to have something like this so close to such a populated area.

As a kid growing up in Tomahawk there were always deer around, or at least tracks, most anywhere we went in the woods surrounding town.

I don't know who to 'blame' for the deer/wolf/fish problems that I read about on the Board but I pray that an intelligent solution is found.

Re: Not being treated fairly

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:36 pm
by Deb Richardson
From what I've been hearing, from my neck of the woods, is that Buffalo County is the place to be for deer. "Supposedly" the most trophy bucks of any county in WI. With trophy bucks come a large doe population. This info would be from TV news reports and hunting human interest stories in the local papers. Buffalo County is beautiful, rolling hills, woods, and corn fields. Not a match for the northwoods mind you, but beautiful regardless.
In our neighborhood of Chippewa Co. we see very few deer. We've been told that this is due in part to the large coyote population. We see and hear them on a regular basis. Four miles to the west of our home at Lake Wissota State park there seems to be a large deer population. This We've witnessed personally, camping and hiking the park. (Yes, that's right, we camp 4 miles from home.) Caution is the word when driving through that area after dark. There also has been the discussion of a possible hunt in the park to thin the population. Maybe the deer herd is actually migrating to possibly what they consider more suitable habitat.