The DNR’s deer management gets a close look at the Capitol today. Scott Craven, UW Extension wildlife specialist, says DNR deer management staff will have to make a couple of points when they testify before legislators.

“First of all, the fact that it’s very difficult to paint the entire state with a broad brush, and say that the deer herd is down, or really moving in any direction statewide,” says Craven. “There’s just too much variation.” Craven says DNR should also point out that the agency has been working hard for years to get the state’s herd at or near management levels. The state’s deer herd has been over those management goals for years, which has meant problems such as car-deer collisions and damage to state crops and woodlands. “A reduced deer herd for those people comes as very good news,” says Craven. “For the state’s deer hunters, not so much.”

Barrring a change in the way the DNR manages the herd, Craven says hunters may need to get used to seeing fewer deer. “If the notion of staying the course, and managing the herd carries the day, then yes, hunters are going to have to adapt to a different reality.” 

This year’s November deer hunt saw harvest numbers decline by some thirty percent, and DNR staff will attempt to explain those numbers during a joint hearing of Senate and Assembly committees.

Bob Hague (:65) AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (:65 MP3)

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