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Legislators should reject the deer unit changes

The Natural Resources Board has approved sweeping deer management changes that include the elimination of in-person deer registration and the realignment of management unit boundaries to county lines — both of which we urge legislators to reject when they review the rules.

As stated by George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation that represents more than 100 conservation and hunting organizations, it makes perfectly good sense to retain deer management units that are easily definable because they were established using highways and rivers, not today’s somewhat invisible county borders.

Even more important is that the units were established to incorporate similar deer habitat and climate conditions, which makes it easier to estimate the effects of hunter harvest, harsh winters and other factors that impact deer numbers.

If the purpose of the county-to-county unit boundary change is establishing county delegations that have more say in management than today, the state could accomplish that without throwing away more than 50 years of management unit harvest and population data.

Vilas County can work with Oneida County and both can work with Forest County where unit boundaries overlap county lines. If the goal is more county control instead of Department of Natural Resources (DNR) control, the counties can simply work together.

We cannot support the elimination of in-person deer registration because harvest numbers are vital to the sex-age-kill (SAK) formula — a respected system nationwide for estimating deer populations.

The DNR?will not only lose concrete harvest data with phone-in or Internet registration, they will lose the ability to easily age hundreds of deer each year — a key component of the SAK model. The other more obvious problem with anything other than in-person registration is the chance for cheating the system, including the reuse of carcass tags.

The changes recently approved for deer management will move the DNR?further away from what should be the target — providing sustainable deer populations to a level preferred by hunters, and improved long-term accuracy on estimates.

Public use of Tara Lila is rare, unique privilege

It’s quite a privilege being extended to bikers, cross-country skiers and now snowshoe enthusiasts, the use of trails on private Tara Lila property owned by Richard and Amy Jo Aylward.

The trailhead off Sundstein Road and much of the initial stretch of the Three Eagle Trail going south is located on their property.

The Aylwards’ generosity shows a commitment to community as well as a passion for helping promote the silent sports in this area, a gesture this tourism region can embrace.

We thank them for opening a fifth snowshoe/hiking trail that is open to the public.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014 1:09 PM

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