Earn-a-buck could come to 27 units in 2004

Ladd listed units where contention exists: 21, 28, 29A, 29B, 34,
38, 42, 43, 73D, and 74B.

“Unit 21 is close to its goal according to the local wildlife
manager, but now it will be in a T zone. The local people are
angry,” Ladd said. “Units 42 and 43 are also close to goals and
should not be in T zones.”

He noted that Unit 73D is supposed to be in Zone T, but said the
reason is because the DNR made a mistake last year and cut the
number of antlerless quota permits by 2,000 permits. Unit 74B
permits were reduced by 1,800 from 2002 to 2003, and the unit is
now supposed to be in Zone T.

“It is difficult for hunters to keep it out of a T zone after
the DNR miscalculated the deer populations and had hunters
believing deer populations were at goal last year,” Ladd said.

Ladd called for a statewide audit of the SAK formula used by the
DNR to estimate the preseason population by using the kill after
the previous season.

Ladd added that there were close to 30 inches of snow on the
ground in much of the north woods, which could increase winter
severity and result in reduced deer populations.

Herb Behnke, board member from Shawano, said he’d seen many
changes in the methods for estimating deer over the years and
wondered if wolf predation is included in SAK. VanderZouwen said it
is considered to some degree, and biologists would see some changes
in the age ratios and doe-to-fawn ratios if wolves were having a
higher impact.

Unit reviews

The DNR, which typically reviews deer unit boundaries and goals
every three years, told the board that given constraints with CWD
and budget shortfalls, it is recommending only a limited unit
review in 2004.

“With everything going on, to have a full statewide public
review seemed like it would be too much for everybody,”
VanderZouwen said. “We all agreed let’s just deal with our problem
units. The DNR has its problem units; the Congress has its problem
units.”

The DNR will hold public meetings in May to discuss goals and
boundaries for units 15, 53, 54A, and 73D, plus units requested by
the congress. The new goals and boundaries for these units could be
in place by early 2005 for use in establishing the 2005 deer
quotas.

Deer units were established in the mid-1950s, and most boundary
changes have been made in the south.

“We are resistant to (boundary) change because large units mean
more data, better population estimates, and better harvest quotas
and permit levels,” VanderZouwen said. “Changes in unit boundaries
break the unit data history and compromises the long-term
perspective.”

Ed Harvey Jr., vice chairman of the Conservation Congress, told
the board that the congress recognizes that changing the boundaries
can have a negative impact on the history on which deer management
is based.

The congress would like to add reviews units 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 29A,
23, 25, 30, 35, 36, 38, 39, 42, 62A, 49A, 51B, 59A, 59B, 59C, 61,
72, 75A, and 76.

“Most of these are where there are distinct differences across
units with geographic dividing lines,” he said.

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