How is it that a guy with a civil service job can get away with dictating the future of Wisconsin’s deer herd?<p>Bill Mytton, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) leading deer biologist, seems intent on hacking away at the state’s remaining deer population with more Zone T hunts next fall in spite of protestations from thousands of Wisconsin outdoorsmen.<p>Mytton flippantly dismisses hunters’ contentions that there are many fewer deer around than the DNR estimates there are. According to Mytton, if a hunter sits on a good stump, he/she will see lots of deer. If he/she sits on a bad stump, not many deer will be seen.<p>Mytton contends that the reasons behind the 25 to 30 percent drop off in the antlerless deer and antlered buck harvests during 2001 were that the weather was mild and there wasn’t any snow, that hunters are holding out for a shot at a trophy buck, and many hunters didn’t want to use their antlerless deer tags. <p>Mytton was right on one account.<p>There were many hunters who refused to use their antlerless deer tag in 2001. They may have seen so few deer during the course of the season that they didn’t want to risk hurting the resource further. Maybe they believed what they saw, rather than what Mytton imagined.<p>Regarding the “brown” gun deer season – in most years, much of Wisconsin is snowless during the gun deer season. So what’s the big deal? Also, it’s interesting to note that Minnesota had a record deer harvest in 2001 with the same weather Wisconsin had.<p>Historically, year-and-a-half-old bucks made up 85 percent of the antlered buck harvest. In 2001, that percentage dropped to 60 percent. Perhaps the harvest of more than 100,000 buck fawns (DNR estimate) in the 2000 Zone T and antlerless deer hunts significantly reduced the numbers of deer that could become year-and-a-half-old bucks. A dead nubbin buck can’t ever become an adult buck.<p>The DNR’s deer population estimates are based on sex/age/kill (SAK) ratios gleaned from hunting season harvest data. <p>After the 2001 deer season, the SAK showed a trend toward a significantly declining Northwoods deer population. That wasn’t good enough for Mytton, however.<p>He wants to tweak the SAK so that it indicates a higher deer population again. That increase in population estimates could cause some deer management units to be placed in Zone T areas in 2002.<p>Mytton’s overall goal seems to be to prove that he is right about the Wisconsin deer numbers even if he has to rely on creative accounting to do so. Maybe he’s related to the ENRON executives.<p>Sportsmen/women will have a chance to discuss the DNR’s deer quota proposals at public meetings held in each of the state’s counties in the weeks to come.<p>We urge all concerned citizens to attend one of the DNR deer quota meetings in the area. The Lincoln County meeting is at the Lincoln County Sports Club (on Schultz Spur Road, off County Road K) Wednesday at 6 p.m. Other area meetings this week include: Oneida County, at the Rhinelander Airport lower meeting room tonight (Tuesday) at 7 p.m.; and Price County, in the Park Falls High School auditorium Wednesday at 7 p.m. The people must be heard.