Deer Czar says Wisconsin's deer problems are "fixable"
RHINELANDER (WAOW) -
The state's top deer official faced some upset hunters at a public meeting Tuesday night. They're angry about the number of deer in the state. They say it's too low.
Deer Czar James Kroll is trying to change that.
"It's almost void of deer right now," Jim LeVeque said of the land he hunts in Wisconsin. He told Newsline 9 in the 54 years he's been hunting, the deer herd has changed dramatically. He blames the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for the lack of deer. "They don't know how to count deer, they don't know how to manage deer. It's all about money."
We tried contacting the DNR, but they did not return our calls.
It's complaints like LeVeque's that led Governor Scott Walker to hire James Kroll, a deer expert whose job is to look at how the DNR manages the herd.
"This has just boiled over," he said of the relationship between hunters and the DNR. "It's a tremendous frustration. It's time to settle it."
Kroll said he's holding public meetings across the state to create an open dialogue with hunters. "We're going to find out what they're going to be willing to step forward and be willing to do to assure the future of the whitetail deer in Wisconsin, and more importantly even than that, is the future of the whitetail deer hunting heritage in Wisconsin."
Hunter Mike Riggle agreed that more conversation between hunters and those who manage the herd is important, but acknowledged there is a lot of work to be done.
"It's become, you know, very polarized, very special interest groups and sometimes we lose sight of what's important and that's the resource," he said.
Kroll acknowledged hunting in Wisconsin isn't what it used to be, but says with time and proper management it can improve. "The issues may be complex but this is fixable," he said.
Tuesday night's meeting in Rhinelander was the second of six public forums planned throughout the state. Kroll said he plans to take what he hears from hunters and compile it in a study that can be used to create new management guidelines and hunting laws in Wisconsin.