Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago sturgeon registration efforts very informative
Within hours of the closing of the first day of the lake sturgeon spearing season on Saturday, Feb. 13, data and verbal information was emailed to the news media and posted in other ways. The public was also made aware of the activity by seeing spearers show up in person at the various registration stations to check in their fish.
The traditions of this season continued to be in the open for others to enjoy, ask about and become informed.
Volumes of data were collected from the fish, too.
Imagine what the sturgeon season would be like without this public display of information. Most people would not know a season is open or occurring.
Couldn’t the same thing be occurring during other seasons, like deer and turkey? Isn’t there some data that could help in management of the deer, too, if we still showed up at registration stations with our deer?
I would think so, but with in-person stations nearly absent from the picture, the public is less aware of these Wisconsin traditions. Deer data collection is falling far short of a desired volume. We are learning less instead of more about this wildlife animal.
If it weren’t for the numerous bills being passed relating to the deer season (most unnecessary, poorly researched and to help a disgruntled hunter), the public would begin to forget about these grand traditions. Potential deer hunters would not have the curiosity to learn more about deer hunting. And we would be spending more of our time and money wondering how to get more people interested in these recreational activities.
The methods and options of registration and reporting can be free advertisement for the DNR and all of the individuals and businesses owners who benefit from recreationalists engaging in hunting and fishing.
Instead of hiding these activities on our phones and computers, why not use the actual activity in the fields, forests, lakes and streams to inform the public?
The 260 businesses that tried to save some tradition, excitement and recruitment by being volunteer electronic registration stations are likely to diminish, too.
What would have been wrong with saying to the public, “Deer can either be registered electronically, or taken to an in-person station, where the attendant will register the deer?” The deer would still have been have been registered electronically.
Now that deer e-registration is mandatory, the least the DNR could do is use it to report back to the hunters in a timely fashion like the fisheries biologists continue to do during the Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing season. As of early February, we were still waiting for final deer harvest numbers.