Department of Natural Resources Secretary Matt Frank wants the Natural Resources Board to pull consideration of a 16-day seer season proposal off its December agenda.
Frank says that will give the agency more time to review of the results of the 2009 season, which saw hunters bag the fewest deer in more than 25 years. In a letter to the seven member board, Frank says a full analysis of the 2009 harvest data will provide for better understanding of the size of the deer population, and for making decisions for the 2010 hunt and future seasons. The harvest this year totaled about 195,000 deer, down 8o,000 from last year, a gap which the DNR attributed almost entirely to fewer does being shot.
Hunters have been critical of the agency’s herd estimates for several years, and that frustration led the Majority Leader of the state Senate, Wausau Democrat Russ Decker, to call for the firing of deer management staff. Frank says that won’t happen, but he does believe it’s appropriate to postpone consideration of alternative herd control measures. The 16-day proposal was developed from a process launched last April in response to widespread hunter concerns about the now discontinued – and extremely unpopular – Earn-a-Buck program.
The Natural Resources Board is scheduled to meet Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, in Madison.