State Representative Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) is the sponsor of the so-called ‘Deer Hunters Heritage Bill’ (AB-99). “This would eliminate ‘Earn-A-Buck’ in terms of … the Department can no longer have someone have to take an antlerless deer before they take an antler deer — for their first deer.”
Testifying before the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, Tiffany also wants to kill the statewide October hunts, leaving the option open for CWD or diseased areas.
Bob Welch with the Hunters Rights Coalition supports the measure. “We are very much in support of this legislation that would get rid of ‘Earn-A-Buck.’ It’s one of the most hated management tools at the DNR; hunters hate it, they don’t want to pass up that trophy buck if it comes by. I think it has chased hunters out of the woods … just an overall, over regulation of deer hunting has put a damper on, I think, enthusiasm for hunting, which is supposed to be fun.”
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources believes the ‘Earn-A-Buck’ and early hunt rules are essential to controlling the deer population. The Natural Resources Board Wednesday adopted the new hunter-friendly proposal as a rule (7-0), which takes effect for this November’s hunt.
Welch calls it a big victory for hunters, but says it needs to be a state law. “‘Earn-A-Buck’ is not a rule that existed before 1996; it’s not popular; it doesn’t work well; it should go away.”
Welch says hunters aren’t deer-population-management tools for the DNR; hunting should be a fun sport. He says if hunters lose interest, there won’t be any population management.
Kurt Thiede with the DNR says the rule balances social concerns about the quality of the deer hunt with the need for effective herd-control measures.