Wisconsin senate majority leader Russ Decker isn't just mad at his state's DNR deer managers, he's calling for their heads on a platter. Last Friday Decker accused DNR deer program leaders of "decimating" the deer herd and asked that the experts who implemented years of herd-reducing regs be fired. You can read the full article here.
In recent years, Wisconsin has instituted several strategies designed to decrease whitetail numbers. The most controversial was ... ... Earn-A-Buck, which required any hunter wishing to shoot a buck to kill and register a doe first. Other measures, such as increased antlerless tags and special doe-only seasons, seemed to achieve the desired effect; across much of the state, the deer harvest was down significantly this year. Many Wisconsin hunters-especially those in the central and northern counties-felt the herd reduction strategies have gone too far. I talked to several hunters from this region, and they were simply not seeing deer.
As a general rule, I get pretty uncomfortable when politicians meddle in game management. They are obviously not professionals and have been known to muck things up pretty badly. On the other hand, state game agencies can also be less-than-perfect (or worse) and what recourse do hunters have when they feel their DNR is dropping the ball? As much as I hate to see them do it, state representatives may be the only folk who can hold the feet of state-agency employees to the fire. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this topic, and learn how similar situations have been handled in your state.
On an ironic note, the huge buck pictured at the top of this post was killed in western Wisconsin recently, proving that not all areas of the state are devoid of deer. The buzz I have is that the giant was shot by Derek Schlesser on the last weekend of the state's 9-day firearms season. The tall-tined buck is rumored to sport a gross score of 210-6/8".