January 22, 2014
MADISON - The Natural Resources Board approved today emergency rules to begin implementing Deer Trustee Report recommendations on the ground, authorizing a new deer program and regulations that will be in place prior to the 2014 deer hunting season.
"This is a major milestone in the Deer Trustee Report implementation process and the future of deer management in Wisconsin," said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. "Throughout the process, DNR has been the ears while partner groups, tribes, and the public have been the voices. This has been no small feat, and many thanks go to all who have provided input - and to DNR staff who have continued to move implementation forward. We have embraced this opportunity to build on our strong deer management foundation, and look forward to implementing the rules in cooperation with deer hunters, landowners, and other partners."
The rules revise deer hunting season frameworks, management units, and revise antlerless deer hunting permits. The rule provides additional opportunities to evaluate herd size and impacts in counties in addition to using population models to estimate the size of the herd, simplifies state park deer hunting regulations, and establishes a Deer Management Assistance Program. Not all provisions will be in implemented in time for the 2014 season. Some are delayed until 2015. The permanent rule hearings and Board approval will occur in 2014, so that it can be implemented in time for the 2015 season.
For an executive summary of the Deer Trustee Report rule package, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "deer trustee report."
"The Deer Trustee Report rule package is a culmination of the recommendations of Dr. James Kroll, a robust public outreach effort involving volunteer action team implementation proposals, surveys, online feedback, 35 public hearings, conservation roundtables, and stakeholder feedback," Stepp said. "This is Wisconsin's deer herd, not the DNR's, and these rules are reflective of Wisconsin's desires for enhancing deer management in the state."
The implementation of the approved rules will involve public outreach to inform hunters, landowners and others about changes and opportunities prior to deer season. From here, the department will proceed with development of draft permanent rules with anticipated public review and Natural Resources Board action in 2014.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Hauge, DNR wildlife management bureau director, 608-266-2193; Eric Lobner, Deer Trustee Report implementation coordinator, 608-235-0860