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Deer czar says stop deer-population goals

Wisconsin's "Deer Czar" James Kroll released a 136-page report July 10 that advises the DNR to end its practice of maintaining local deer population goals.

Kroll, a Texas deer expert, was hired by Governor Scott Walker last fall to analyze the state's much-criticized deer-hunting system and make recommendations how to improve it. He said the state should also let landowners and groups hold their own hunting sessions on their properties and that the DNR should make better connections with state residents.

The report also faults hunters for expecting a deer herd larger than the wilderness can support. Kroll said his report gives hunters and the DNR a chance to discuss their differences, and possibly save Wisconsin's deep hunting traditions.

Kroll called it a "reset button," saying that his ideas will have to be accepted, "If we're going to continue to have the hunting heritage in Wisconsin."

DNR land division chief Kurt Thiede said the agency needs to review the long report but quote, "We are not afraid to face recommendations and critiques in the report, and adjust accordingly."

Kroll said hunters don't take much stock in the DNR's deer population estimates. Instead, he says the agency should simplify its goals for increasing or decreasing the herd and measure their success on trends spotted in things like deer crop damage, or car-deer crashes.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said it would take several weeks for her department to review everything in the report.

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