Retired DNR game wardens a resource for conservation issues

9 27 Davis Sandhills
Wisconsin’s growing sandhill crane population has increasingly become the topic of talks around the idea of creating a sandhill crane hunting season. (Photo by Jerry Davis)

Reading Todd Schaller’s articles in a recent issues of Wisconsin Outdoor News regarding the possibility of creating a sandhill crane season points out how valuable an unbiased approach to an environmental problem can be.

Schaller is a retired DNR game warden, having held various positions in the DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement, including chief warden as his last post prior to retirement.

We sometimes forget that Wisconsin’s field wardens, and those who have advanced in rank, probably started their college days studying wildlife and fisheries biology. Though their years in the law enforcement field, these wildlife biologists turned conservation wardens saw how regulations and protection did, and sometimes did not, help to manipulate populations.

By laying out the facts, with law enforcement and wildlife experience, in an unbiased way begins bringing to light why some suggestions simply will not work, and could make situations worse than doing nothing.

The historical case of feeding starving deer could be one example. Chronic wasting disease management might, too, although it gets a bit muddy.

A number of wildlife problems often have two near opposites coming head to head. Some hunters would like to have a sandhill crane season. Many farmers would like to see the cranes go away. And a third segment would prefer not hunting the population at all (keep in mind that hunting the population does not translate into harming the population, as some might believe).

The social carrying capacity issue quickly appears in some cases, too.

Read Schaller’s pieces, not to get an answer to the problem, in part because he didn’t provide a solution, but to see the thought process of looking at facts and seeing why some proposed solutions really are not solutions at all. Many others have trade-offs.

Categories: Wisconsin – Jerry Davis

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