Today, Governor Scott Walker announced deer management initiatives to assure the successful implementation of the 2012 Deer Trustee Report. The initiatives funded in the budget will enhance Wisconsin's rich hunting tradition and improve the partnership between hunters and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
"Deer hunting in Wisconsin is part of our DNA. It feeds traditions and fuels a huge economic engine for the state," said Gov. Walker. "My budget provisions create the infrastructure needed to implement the Deer Trustee Report to the fullest extent possible, ensuring Wisconsin's standing not only as a national destination for deer hunting, but also a national leader in deer management."
In 2011, Gov. Walker commissioned Dr. James C. Kroll as the state's Whitetail Deer Trustee to independently and objectively evaluate Wisconsin's deer herd management practices. The conclusions of his study, along with input from hunters and conservationists, were compiled into a series of 62 recommendations for DNR implementation in the final Deer Trustee Report, released July 2012.
Recommendations include forming a Deer Management Assistance Program (D-MAP) to improve the partnership between hunters, landowners and DNR in managing deer on private land; updating technology to gather information on land cover to better inform decisions; and adopting a more passive approach to CWD management where the disease exists while providing the public improved access to deer testing.
Specific to these recommendations, Gov. Walker's budget provisions include authority for DNR to:
Establish Deer Management Assistance Program (D-MAP): Develop and sustain a Deer Management Assistance Program, including setting a fee for services provided and establishing a D-MAP coordinator position within the DNR.
Invest in Updated Technology: Invest in new satellite imagery technology to provide land cover data statewide to best inform decisions of deer managers and to be used for the benefit of landowner and local government partners.
Fund CWD Testing and Surveillance: Begin charging fees for antlerless deer tags in counties with CWD, using a portion of fees to fund surveillance efforts and improve the turnaround time of and access to CWD testing.
Develop Emergency Rules: Enable DNR to begin implementation for the 2013 deer season with final implementation as soon as the 2014 deer season.
"This is not a report that is going to sit on a shelf and collect dust. The budget language paves the way for progress, giving DNR the tools necessary to implement the Deer Trustee Report," said Gov. Walker.
DNR has begun the initial stages of developing its system for implementation, including appointing a Trustee Report Coordinator and establishing a set of action teams that will include conservation partners including tribal representatives, members of the public, and key Department staff to define actions necessary to implement portions of the plan.
"Implementation of the report is a big job and we are ready for the challenge," said Cathy Stepp, DNR Secretary. "The report covers many aspects of deer management and will greatly change aspects of how the Department manages deer in Wisconsin. We have talented staff and dedicated partners to see implementation through."