The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources board approves new deer hunting rules.

Governor Walker’s so-called deer czar James Kroll recommended several deer management changes in his report, with the goal of improving Wisconsin deer hunting.

One controversial change involves switching to online or phone registration of deer-kill, rather than the traditional in-person registration at a bar or gas station.

AUDIO: Representative Fred Clark (D-Baraboo) says such a policy change would eliminate face-to-face interaction. 1:33

Clark argues changes of this significance need to be tested before fully implemented statewide. He suggests adopting them in a couple of counties for a few years to see how it goes.

Robert Benson, vice president of Uplands Deer Management Association, supports the changes, as do sportsmen, he says, who are “excited” about the recommendations. “Please remember, the only manager of the deer herd is a sportsman.” He says, “At the end of the day he is managing your herd. Therefore, you’ve got to create for him a meaningful experience for him to enjoy and embrace.”

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp says the rules give the public more input in deer management.

Tavern owners argue electronic deer registration could hurt business.

Among other things, the board also discussed antlerless deer hunts,  CWD management, reducing the number of deer management units, the creation of county committees to advise the DNR on population goals, the bear hunt, and Wisconsin’s white deer population.

James Kroll spoke at Wednesday’s meeting via video-taped message.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report

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