Wisconsin Deer Management

Jerry DavisMaybe we – outdoors writers and media – should take some of the responsibility for there being so much angst swarming around Wisconsin’s deer hunting and managing issues, especially during the last decade.

Seems it’s just too difficult for a writer to be unbiased when it comes to deer hunting (management), just as it probably is for most gun deer hunters to do the same.  But we need to try.  We need to keep trying.  We need to succeed.

And while most readers reading this are not writers, those who are not should look at what we write as well as how we write it.  Question the words we chose.  It may show our bias.

We (media) weren’t identified in James Kroll’s final report to Gov. Walker as a group who needs rebuke, but we probably should have been noted, too, as should have those who hog the microphones and lecterns.

Pick up an outdoors article in your local weekly newspaper or in a national magazine and you might be led to believe, based on how it’s written, that all deer hunters believe earn-a-buck is bad, or that we should do nothing about CWD, for example, or just the just the reverse.

Writers often suggest things to their audiences by using the word ALL or by just saying HUNTERS and we read all into that statement.  Hunters and the WDNR have a toxic relationship, we read.

That is not true.

I’m not sure if we learned this writing style from reading too many letters to the editor or they learned it from us.  Maybe we learned it from politicians, or the reverse.

Keep in mind, too, that many outdoors pieces are columns, essentially opinion pieces, and within these, outdoors writers have more freedom.  Still, we should make sure our statements are true.

Why do we believe we must exaggerate to make a point?  Why do we round numbers — one million gun deer hunters — when the number is about 600,000?

Why do we believe exaggeration is better?  It’s not; it tends to exacerbate a negative mood.

If I’m a deer hunter and read that there is a toxic relationship between hunters (read ALL) and the DNR, I might think, wow, I am the only one who thinks there is some good in some of the things the some state biologists do.  I’d better change my ways, better get on the wagon, better start talking hate.  Or, better begin writing hate.

Even if we don’t know the numbers for what we are writing about, there are numerous terms we can use to make a point, such as writing, or saying, hunters I’ve talked to, by saying some hunters, or many hunters, or most hunters.  These terms would provide a truer picture for those who want to read a story to learn.

Remember, too, that many who read outdoors-related pieces are not hunters.

The subject, not an exaggeration, should draw a reader to a piece.

Whatever is reported should not add to angst, but should explain a situation, report the facts; and try to tell readers there is a silent majority, or at least a silent minority.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Whitetail Deer, Wisconsin – Jerry Davis

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