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LETTER: What are DNR leaders in Madison thinking?

To The Telegram: After experiencing a very poor deer hunting season In Northern Wisconsin, I read the article "Snowed Out" in the January issue of Deer and Deer Hunting magazine that provides information on the Northern Michigan deer hunt. It occ...

To The Telegram:

After experiencing a very poor deer hunting season In Northern Wisconsin, I read the article "Snowed Out" in the January issue of Deer and Deer Hunting magazine that provides information on the Northern Michigan deer hunt.

It occurred to me that Michigan's Upper Peninsula has been and still is pretty good deer country. A quote from the article states that "Only 5 percent of survey respondents in the east U.P. and 7 percent in the west harvested antlerless deer during the 2007 fire arm season." Compare that to Wisconsin where 642,419 hunters killed 183,951 antlerless deer. Statewide that translates to 28.6 percent of the hunters shooting antlerless deer. I believe it is safe to assume that Northern Wisconsin would have even higher percentages because that is where most of the public land is located.

We must reduce our antlerless deer harvest to 5 percent or less. It is working in Michigan's U P, and it will work in northern Wisconsin. We as hunters and landowners must protect our whitetail herd if the DNR won't.

The article goes on to say, "In 2007 hunters in the west U.P. reported seeing an average of 22 deer (three bucks and 19 antlerless deer) per hunter during the entire season."

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I suspect there were very few hunters in Northern Wisconsin during the 2008 season who saw more than five deer in the whole season, and many who saw 0 deer during the nine days. The winters are typically harsher in Michigan with heavier amounts of snow.

Our Department of Natural Resources and its leaders in Madison bear the blame. The DNR continues to say that Wisconsin has too many deer for the amount of winter feed in the forest. Yet the U.P. deer herd is huge compared to ours with worse winter conditions. Local DNR wardens agree with the hunters who complain of extremely low deer sightings in the north. Yet, while Michigan has great deer hunting, we have a bunch of "know it all's" in Madison who blatantly ignore concerns expressed during the Conservation Congress spring meetings, or any other hunter's concerns.

With 30,000 bears and an increasing wolf population consuming the northern deer herd, hunters will have to discontinue harvesting antlerless deer. If we don't, a deer siting in the north will be rare. Instead of managing the herd, the DNR is overseeing its demise. A renewable resource that provides jobs in the sporting goods industry, in meat processing, and tourism in the north will become nonrenewable.

Unfortunately, Wisconsin hunters have to rely on their legislators to help them. Please take the time to alert your state representatives, and the Natural Resources board, and urge them to take action so that the northern herd will be sustainable.

All of the kill and hunter numbers were gathered from the DNR office in Eau Claire.

-- Roger MIsna

Chippewa Falls

Related Topics: HUNTING
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