Now we have the final report, and several of the recommendations make good sense, and I felt the team was largely fair in its critique of the Badger State's deer program, pointing out shortcomings and offering suggestions for improvement. The seven-page summary can be read here but the highlights for me were:
- Do away with population goals and estimates at the DMU (deer management-unit) level…And replace it with a simplified goal statement of increase, stabilize or decrease population density.
- Establish a Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP), which will put biologists on the ground with private landowners to help them with management on their properties.
- Consider a more passive approach to CWD management, with an emphasis on detecting disease spread, responding to breakouts and involving citizens.
- Involve the public more in data collection, management and input, give the Conservation Congress a more active role in decisions at the local level.
- Improve habitat assessment and range evaluation, especially on public lands, and form a Young Forest Initiative Task Force (this is, in my opinion, especially critical on national forests in the state).
- Continue research on predator populations and their effect on deer herds.