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Deer Trustee Report: "Phase One" done, long way to go


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -  The Deer Trustee Report implementation meeting Saturday was the end of the first phase of the process to change Wisconsin’s deer herd management. That’s according to Deer Trustee Report implementation coordinator Eric Lobner.

There were morning sessions for the action teams to discuss Deer Management Assistance, Herd Health and Chronic Wasting Disease, Regulations and Season Structure, and Science & Research. The afternoon session was broadcast live on the Internet and offered sportsmen statewide a chance to interact with the presenters.

Lobner says the people of Wisconsin are helping them shape the future of deer management. “They’re really coming forward and really want to be clear in what they hope to see the Department take this information and ultimately make it a final product that we see in a rules package that ends up going to the Natural Resources Board ultimately in December.”

The discussions up to this point lead Lobner to believe certain things will definitely change. “I can definitely see some significant changes in how we issue our permits, what the cost of those different permits are, what our different management units or zones look like, and how we ultimately manage them.”

The next phase is to take the information gathered to the Natural Resources Board. “Ultimately, we’re going to need to bring this to the Natural Resources Board initially in September, where we will be requesting the authority to have formal public hearings. Those formal public hearings will be in October. It’s really important that people come forward and ultimately provide their feedback and input on this information that they see here before them.”

The process to change Wisconsin’s deer herd management and hunting is not going to affect the 2013 seasons. Lobner says hunters should not worry about rule changes or surprises this fall. “This coming fall, we don’t want to throw any last-minute curveball at folks, so we’re again looking at the 2014 deer season. They can plan as they normally have. They know what the season frameworks and season structures are.”

DNR officials including Lobner are encouraging people to pay attention to upcoming Natural Resources Board meetings and the public hearings that are expected after the board meets. There will be more opportunities to express opinions about the proposed changes.

Lobner says one of the goals is to help local hunters and landowners to be able to work more closely with their local wildlife biologists so that management plans can work better in many different areas of the state.