Some deer hunting traditions should be reconsidered as regs are re-written

(Photo by Jerry Davis)

The Natural Resources Board, the Conservation Congress, and the Department of Natural Resources continues to discuss possible changes in deer season structure and regulations.

For many hunters and deer biologists, even though they remained somewhat silent after the review by three out-of-state individuals, unrest and discomfort with the changes began almost immediately following the report’s release.  Some hunters were vocal, even before the review was finished when they heard about the procedure to be followed.

That was then; money lost and lessons learned are now.

I presume the hunters and biologists, as well as many of the non-hunters, want deer management to emphasize hunting deer as though deer are part of a wild herd.

The more rules, regulations and statutes, which cut the state into smaller and smaller units, seasons and land managers, the more the season becomes a private recreation.

One person, in thinking the process through, commented that a group cannot legislate traditions.  No, but traditions can be legislated out, eliminated by the legislative process.  Further, regulations and rules can make traditions possible, too.

More privatizing of the deer and having fewer folks season-smithing ideas are usually poor methods for improving a season.

Memory will not fail me, when at a wrap up of the ideas in Mount Horebe last time, we, the public, were told in no uncertain terms “this report had better be accepted completely or there will be …. to pay.  I know people in high places,” the lead person told several hundred hunters.

Let’s stop referring to Dr. James Kroll and his process as though he is still standing over us with a club.  Or using his ideas as though we have to continue down those trails.

It appears the ongoing process will be quite different this time around.  That’s a great start.

Keep simplicity in.  Keep openness of the process in.  And keep out-of-state, commercially-oriented folks out.

Return in part to some of the traditions scuttled.

It seems incongruous to have a recreation (hunting deer) so devoted to doing most things online and then chest pumping and back-slapping about how important tradition is in keeping interest and camaraderie front and center.

Options for buying a license, registering a deer, even hunting a deer and taking it into possession should be sold as just that, options.  The old, traditional options, if kept, should be noted, too.  Some folks still want to go face-to-face with a service center clerk, a registration specialist, and even a warden who sees a backtag and a deer tag, not just a computer that spits out an “authorization.” How did “authorization” become part of our hunting vernacular?

Contact Jerry Davis, a freelance writer, at or 608.924.1112.

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

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