Illinois deer managers should host public meetings like our neighbor to the north

White-tailed deer hunting changes include modifications to bag limits for several counties throughout the state.
As I write this, I’m preparing to drive north to Wisconsin to sit in on a County Deer Advisory Council meeting. Granted, I only live a couple miles from the Illinois-Wisconsin boarder, so I don’t have far to go, but I’m still looking forward to it. 
I wish Illinois had a series of meetings like this.
I did reach out to Doug Dufford, DNR wildlife disease program manager, and Tom Micetich, DNR deer program manager, and invited them to tonight’s discussion. I also provided a copy of the agenda. I offered that something like this could be a benefit to all stakeholders in Illinois. I never received a response.
During the month of March, a total of 70 CDAC meetings will be held in almost every county in Wisconsin. Items on the agenda this year are: 1). Review of 2016 deer season results and quota setting process; 2). Consideration of deer/forest interactions by a wildlife liaison; 3). 2017 deer season recommendations including, determining of preliminary quota and permit recommendations, determination of additional season options, if available, in the county, and complete Preliminary 2017 Deer Harvest Quota and Permit Recommendation Form; 4). County specific issues/concerns; and 5). Public appearances/comments.
These meetings are, of course, open to the public.
For the most part, I’m simply curious about how these meetings are run and the depth of the information that is covered. Again, I wish that Illinois had something like this. I think it would be a true asset for Illinois DNR to form a committee like the CDAC that would organize status meetings, open to the public, similar to the one I’ll be attending. 
In my opinion, for the relationship between the Illinois public and the policy-makers in Springfield and Chicago, including those who sit in the DNR’s power seats, to begin to mend there has got to be a far better attempt at transparency. Many hunters know that changes need to be made in order for our deer herds to become great once again. We don’t want to see miniscule alterations while the problems on a much grander scale continue to be ignored. Band-aids are no longer good enough.
So, perhaps this Wisconsin CDAC meeting will provide some clarity into how other states take initiative to include public insight into the policy-making process of any given deer season. Maybe it will be a waste of two hours. Who knows. 
Stay tuned for my thoughts on the Wisconsin County Deer Advisory Council meeting.

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