In the wake of a slow deer hunting season, the leader of the State Senate is calling for the jobs of the deer management team at the DNR. Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Weston) says the agency overestimated the size of the herd.
Sen. Decker (:22)
Decker says he’s talked to a lot of people who didn’t see any deer this year. Hunters harvested about 196,000 deer during the nine-day gun season, which is the lowest total since 1982. The Senate leader says the DNR keeps coming up with “wacky excuses” for why the season wasn’t successful.
The agency blamed cold winters the past two years, and wet-and-warm conditions this fall while Decker blamed programs like Earn-a-Buck, which required hunters to shoot does before they could get bucks. The program was scrapped earlier this year amid pressure from angry hunters.
DNR Secretary Matt Frank is rejecting Decker’s call for mass firings saying he knows hunters are frustrated, but firing the staff is not constructive.
Ed Harvey of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress says replacing deer managers with “green horns” is not the answer. He believes the agency should improve the way it estimates the population so it’s not overstating it. Harvey says the public should be more involved in setting deer population goals and Earn-a-Buck should never come back.
Mike Kemmeter-WHBY contributed to this report