April 3, 2012
MADISON - Participation in the 2012 deer forums was significantly higher than in the previous year, with double the number of people turning out for meetings and more than 6,500 providing comments online, state wildlife officials said.
Throughout March, Department of Natural Resources wildlife staff held 36 deer forums throughout Wisconsin to listen to hunters and others interested in deer and to share current information about deer management and prospects for the 2012 season.
New this year, the public was also able to get unit-specific information and contribute feedback about their favorite deer management unit through the DNR website. While attendance at the forums was just shy of 1,200 people, more than 6,500 provided feedback through the DNR website.
"Attendance at the local meetings more than doubled this year, but the response to the online forum option has been very good, in fact it greatly exceeded our hopes," said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist. "With three times the people taking advantage of the on-line forum it seems we've found a good way to accommodate people who don't want to drive great distances, but still want to participate in some way."
Results of both the local forums and on-line survey indicate strong public support for reduced permit numbers in the north for the 2012 deer season and DNR is listening to this feedback, Wallenfang said.
Preliminary results indicate the majority of on-line feedback came from people in northern Wisconsin, with 39 percent representing the northern forest deer management region, 21 percent southern farmland, 18 percent eastern farmland, 13 percent western farmland, and 9 percent central forest. The majority of online respondents were hunters, and most hunt deer during both the gun and archery season.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Wallenfang, (608) 261-7589; Bill Cosh (608) 267-2773