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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Forest health and diversity are directly affected by the primary herbivore of the forest, the whitetail deer"......." You can't have healthy deer without healthy forests"--Anne Baynton Milwaukee Sentinel reader---------The newly appointed deer Czar of Wisconsin(James Kroll) released his 21st Century Deer Mgmt proposals last week and it did include language about forest regeneration and biodiversity.........If Kroll is serious about this then as former Wisconsin State employee John Andersen states-- "Leopold understood the relationship between predator and prey"............ "The balance between the wolf and the deer is critical to keeping both a healthy deer herd and one that exists in Wisconsin".......... "An unchecked deer herd will kill off its habitat, limit its expansion and become disease ridden"..........."Man is the ultimate predator on Wisconsin's deer herd"..... "Man has failed to keep the herd in check"..... "We want trophy deer obtained with little or no work"...........Wisconsin should go back to the drawing board on its Wolf mgmt plan and conclude that the Lobos should not be hunted at all in Wisconsin..........All of them and more are neeeded to return the Forests back to a state of optimum health

Surprised? Deer report is not controversial

Paul A.

A report released Tuesday offers recommendations on deer Management in Wisconsin.

At its heart, deer management must address: How many deer do we have? How many deer should we have? And, if they are different, how do we get there from here?The Tuesday release of "A 21st Century Model for Deer Management in Wisconsin," the final report and recommendations of the state's white-tailed deer trustee and review committee, was highly anticipated and added another chapter to our affair with the state's most important wildlife species.
Deer trustee James Kroll and his associates, Gary Alt and David Guynn, offered a list of 62 recommendations in a 135-page report.The trio has offered a reasonable roadmap - with significant details to be decided later - for changes in how Wisconsin answers the three basic deer management questions.

With regard to deer population estimates, they suggested using the Sex-Age-Kill model only on a statewide or regional basis, not in individual management units as is currently practiced. Local deer populations would be described in terms such as increasing, decreasing or stable, not expressed in number of deer per square mile.

In response to the second question, the panel recommended the state develop a set of metrics to help set and monitor deer population goals. The report didn't dictate but suggested measures including hunter success, deer-vehicle collisions, agricultural damage, chronic wasting disease incidence, forest regeneration and biodiversity.

Wisconsin Wolf surveying the shore

The report acknowledges such a system would take time to test and validate, but "should prove invaluable in diverting attention from population estimates and demonstrating the need for deer population management actions by hunters and others."
Importantly, such metrics would involve public input and form a basis and justification for deer management decisions.

To help resolve differences between the number of deer we have and the number we should, the report recommends Wisconsin implement a Deer Management Assistance Program. Developed in the 1970s, DMAP is used in 20 other states and promotes more active involvement by hunters and landowners.
Under DMAP, the state issues antlerless deer tags for specific properties. The hunters collect data from harvested deer. The state then provides reports for the hunters and landowners and engages them on future management decisions. The program is run on private and public properties in most states.
On other issues, the panel recommended more consistency and predictability in deer regulations, changing them only every three to five years

They also supported the deer research projects under way and suggested even more, including a long-term research plan.The panel also acknowledged the leading role the Wisconsin Conservation Congress should play in gathering public comment to guide future deer management decisions.
And it recommended a more passive approach to deer management in the chronic wasting disease zone of southern Wisconsin.Overall, the recommendations were met with little opposition. Granted, it will take some time for the report to be digested.

Tim Van Deelen, associate professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Wisconsin, strongly criticized the panel's preliminary report but agreed with many of the final recommendations.
Wisconsin Wildlife Federation executive director George Meyer said the report included many reasonable measures, especially the call to stop using deer management estimates at the local level.
The DNR is still reviewing the report, said Secretary Cathy Stepp, but is "ready, willing and eager to roll up our sleeves and get started" to find ways "to make deer hunting even better in Wisconsin."

Perhaps what's most remarkable about the recommendations is they are so uncontroversial.
There isn't, as some had trumpeted during the June recall election campaign, a call to privatize deer hunting in Wisconsin. There isn't even a recommendation on baiting and feeding, or crossbows. The panel opted to stay away from such controversial issues.

Wisconsin Deer yard

The recommendations respond to some of the primary complaints of hunters and strive to improve the relationship between the DNR and hunters and landowners.Significantly, the report includes an admonishment to hunters who have unrealistically high expectations of deer numbers.One area not mentioned in the report but often discussed during the town hall meetings is the potential for legislative action.

Several aspects of Wisconsin's deer management program are written in administrative code, including the use of Sex-Age-Kill, the definition of deer range and the deer population goals in management units.
Any changes should properly be supported by the public, initiated by the DNR and made through the administrative rules process, not through new legislation.

The focus should be on the potential good in the report and how to make deer management as successful as possible in Wisconsin.

The next steps are uncertain. But since the process was started by the governor, and he controls the DNR, you can bet on seeing at least some of the recommendations implemented in the months and years to come.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Andersen

Andersen: Leopold had answers to deer problems

LAKE HALLIE — In the spirit of the Wisconsin deer hunt, perhaps it is time to review a very simple truth: We spent $125,000 on a self-proclaimed "Dr. Deer" when we have the real thing in Wisconsin, Aldo Leopold.

Leopold, a nationally acclaimed conservation and wildlife manager, resided, worked and died in Wisconsin. His national treasures such as "A Sand County Almanac" and "The Land Remembers" are the bible for conservation throughout the world.

What frustrates me most about government is the total unwillingness of towns, villages, cities, counties or states to allow their employees to do their jobs.In order to be hired by a governmental unit, civil service tests are taken, backgrounds are checked, and interviews are conducted so the best-qualified people get and do the job. Then political obstacles are raised, pay and advancement limited, public employees are hounded, and then good old "Dr. Deer" arrives in town.

Wisconsin Wolves feeding on a deer they killed

The good doctor's report has revealed that the Wisconsin DNR has fallen behind in field time and technology and is using "outdated" science. Well, Dr. Deer, since 1990 state agencies have taken a 2 percent cut in agency budgets, lapsed funds back to the general fund and has been unable to hire the people it needs to get boots on the ground. "Do more with less" until you are doing "everything with nothing."

Leopold was correct in so many ways. All Scott Walker needed to do was to pick up the phone and call the Wisconsin DNR or the University of Wisconsin Archives and he could have learned for himself of the land ethic proposed by Leopold. The answers would have jumped out of the page for him. Scott Walker could have saved state taxpayers $125,000.

Deer hunting in Wisconsin has changed for the good, and the reasons are simple. Maturing forests, deer baiting, rented deer land, a reduced number of dedicated hunters and chronic wasting disease all impact the deer hunting experience. When I began hunting in the mid-1960s, you were darn lucky to see five deer in a season. Now people are upset if they do not see 10 deer in a day.

Dr. Deer revealed nothing that Leopold did not know of or write of more than 60 years ago. Leopold wrote the following in 1946 on the shooting of a wolf in his early career:"We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes — something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean a hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view."

Leopold understood the relationship between predator and prey. The balance between the wolf and the deer is critical to keeping both a healthy deer herd and one that exists in Wisconsin. An unchecked deer herd will kill off its habitat, limit its expansion and become disease ridden.Man is the ultimate predator on Wisconsin's deer herd. Man has failed to keep the herd in check. We want trophy deer obtained with little or no work.

A direct quote from Dr. Deer's executive summary: "This ... represents our final findings and recommendations. However, we would like to interject here we are in no way questioning the dedication, effort or commitment to deer management by the WDNR staff. We found these folks to be helpful and generous, in spite of undergoing such an intensive evaluation; we are grateful for their help."

The problem continues to lie in the fact that politics has become the overreaching concern of all things. Science is ignored, employee motives are questioned and a shadow of politics is set across the land.
We always refuse to look back and reclaim the simple truths that have already been taught us. There is nothing new in the universe. Just ask Aldo Leopold.

John R. Andersen is a former state employee who remains active in the fields of fire prevention, government and education.


A healthy deer herd requires healthy forests

How to manage the state's whitetail deer herd has been controversial for many years. Paul Smith's recent article summarizes the key points made in a book-length report released by our governor-appointed deer czar, James Kroll ("Modified deer program urged," July 11).

Kroll is not from Wisconsin and he has not studied our forests. Among other things, he recommends that we use the same deer management techniques used by the state of Pennsylvania. For the record, Pennsylvania's forests have been seriously degraded, over-browsed by the deer herd there.
So which state is the more popular deer-hunter destination, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin? We have scientists who live in Wisconsin, have studied Wisconsin forests and deer herds, and we also have foresters in Wisconsin who can all tell you what the deer herd has done and continues to do to our forests.

Our forests are at risk because of invasive pests, such as the emerald ash borer, invasive plants of many kinds and drought. A healthy forest is more resilient than an unhealthy forest, and forest health and diversity are directly affected by the primary herbivore of the forest, the whitetail deer. We've heard from the so-called deer experts. Let's hear from the forest/tree and ecology experts. You can't have healthy deer without healthy forests.

Anne Baynton
Whitefish Bay
milwaukee sentinel

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