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November 8, 2011

MADISON - Kevin Wallenfang has been appointed as the state's big game ecologist. Wallenfang, 44, of Middleton, is expected to assume his new duties in mid-December.

"We are absolutely thrilled to have Kevin heading up the big game program," says Tom Hauge, director of the DNR's Bureau of Wildlife Management. "Kevin's an avid big game hunter and he understands and respects the passion Wisconsin has for our deer, bear and elk populations."

Kevin Wallenfang
Kevin Wallenfang
Contributed photo

A Wisconsin native hailing from Green Lake, Wallenfang holds a bachelor's degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and has worked in professional wildlife management for over 20 years. He is currently Wisconsin's Regional Wildlife Biologist for Pheasants Forever and also spent several years as a biologist and initiative director for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. He is not a newcomer to DNR as he previously held the position of assistant big game ecologist before his stints with Pheasants Forever and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

"Everyone knows deer management is a real hot-button issue in Wisconsin," said Wallenfang. "But that just shows how important it is to our state, both for individuals as hunters and to our economy. I've really hated to see the loss of some of the passion that some deer hunters have had in Wisconsin in recent years because of issues like CWD. I'm hoping that together, with the help of hunters and the various groups out there, that we can bring back the excitement and traditions that is missing for some people."

"Kevin has an excellent reputation as a leader in Wisconsin conservation and as a biologist, but his real strength is his likable personality," said Hauge. "He is a good communicator and has the knack of working with partners to get things accomplished and in finding middle ground on tough issues. Big game management, especially deer, has always been a challenge and I think these traits will serve the public and him very well."

Wallenfang's work with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation focused on preserving land and habitat for elk, and providing public access and permanent habitat protection through purchases and conservation easements.

"I'm proud that I was here in the beginning of Wisconsin's elk reintroduction and spent several years of my career working on various aspects of that effort," he says. And about bears he adds, "Wisconsin has an incredible bear resources, both numbers and trophies. I've enjoyed a lot of great bear hunts from Wisconsin to Alaska, and hope I can put that experience to work on behalf of not only the bear resource, but for hunters as well."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Hauge - (608) 266-2193 or Bob Manwell - (608) 264-9248

[Media Availability: Wallenfang does not begin his official duties until Dec. 19 and will not be readily available for media interviews until then. Wallenfang will be winding up his current responsibilities with Pheasants Forever. Interview requests can be placed Robert Manwell, DNR acting chief of communications (608) 264-9248

Last Revised: Tuesday, November 08, 2011

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