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UPDATE: Wis. gov signs off on deer hunt changes

UPDATED Monday, February 10, 2014 --- 12:25 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker has approved a sweeping set of changes to Wisconsin deer hunting that include doing away with in-person registration.

The Department of Natural Resources' board approved the changes as part of an emergency rule last month. The governor signed off on the rule Saturday at the annual National Rifle Association and Wisconsin Firearms Owners, Ranges, Clubs, and Educators convention in Weston.

The changes stem from a report Texas researcher James Kroll prepared on the DNR's hunting policies. Walker's administration hired Kroll in 2011 to review the agency's strategies in response to hunter frustrations.

The plan calls for eliminating in-person deer registration stations, reducing the number of deer management zones, simplifying population goals and creating county committees that will advise the DNR on local population goals.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED January 22, 2014-- 5:55 p.m.

I-Diehl Tap in Plain is a popular registration station and over the past couple of decades they've kept track of thousands of deer, but for them it's not just about the numbers. It's more about tradition and community.

"Father and son, first deer shot this year. This kid's 11 or 12 years old," said owner of I-Diehl Tap, Emil Diehl as he flips through his collection of family photos taken every year at the business.

"We've been doing it for 25 years or longer," said Diehl.

On the walls is his collection of registrations. Hundreds register at the bar every deer hunting season. There were 875 registrations there this past year.

"It's a traditional thing without a doubt," said hunter, Allan Kraemer.

Kraemer's been hunting since teh 1950s, viewing registration as a means of showmanship.

"You'll want to bring it and show it to people," said Kraemer. "It's a good chance for people to get together and discuss hunting."

But under a new rule approved today, the in person registration will now instead be done online or over the phone, saving the department about $180,000 in fees and offering a more convienient option. But Diehl is worried about losing business.

"It would be a killer. It's our lifeline here," said Diehl.

And Kraemer's worried about losing structure.

"How many people would register deer if they didn't have to bring it in? You got to look at the ethics of it," said Kraemer.

"There's a lot of nice trophies here and there's a story behind every one."

The DNR said they're bringing Wisconsin up to speed. They say of the 18 states in the midwest, only two aren't using this updated method.

They also said they've received complaints about the current system. Some parents didn't want to bring their kids into a tavern where many registration stations are.

The new rule will go into effect in 2015.

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UPDATED Wednesday, January 22, 2014 --- 2:25 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' board has approved sweeping new rules to reshape deer hunting in Wisconsin.

Some of the key provisions in the plan call for eliminating in-person deer registration in favor of online or phone registration, reducing the number of deer management units and creating county committees to advise the DNR on population goals.

The rules implement Texas researcher James Kroll's suggestions to improve Wisconsin deer hunting. Gov. Scott Walker's administration hired Kroll in 2011 to review the DNR's deer management policies.

The board approved the package on a unanimous voice vote Wednesday. DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp, a Walker appointee, said the rules will give hunters and the public a larger role in deer management.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, January 22, 2014 --- 1:34 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' board is taking public comments on a rules plan that includes provisions to eliminate in-person deer registration.

The rules package would implement Texas researcher James Kroll's suggestions to improve Wisconsin deer hunting. One of the suggestions calls for moving to online or phone deer registration. The Natural Resources is scheduled to vote on the package later Wednesday afternoon.

Rep. Fred Clark, a Baraboo Democrat, told the DNR's board Wednesday that such a move would eliminate a Wisconsin tradition of hauling deer to check stations and a chance for agency staffers to have a face-to-face interaction with hunters.

But Robert Benson, vice president of the Uplands Deer Management Association, says sportsmen are behind the package and want the board to approve it.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, January 22, 2014 --- 8:49 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' board is poised to consider a plan to eliminate in-person deer registration.

The proposal is part of a rules package implementing Texas researcher James Kroll's suggestions to improve Wisconsin deer hunting.

DNR officials say doing away with in-person registration and moving to online or phone registration will save the agency money, expedite kill tallies and make life more convenient for hunters. Critics contend that in-person registration is a Wisconsin tradition, and that bars and stores that offer registration stations could lose revenue from hunters.

The Natural Resources Board is scheduled to vote on the rules package during a meeting Wednesday at DNR headquarters in Madison.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2014 --- 4:19 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin wildlife officials are set to consider a plan this week to eliminate in-person deer registration.

Registering deer at the local bar or store is a Wisconsin tradition. But Gov. Scott Walker's deer trustee, James Kroll, recommended the state move to telephone and online registration, saying the change would enable the Department of Natural Resources to tally kills more quickly.

DNR officials say the move would save money but they'd have to find other ways to collect detailed biological data on deer now gathered in person. Tavern owners contend the change would hurt business.

The DNR's board is set to take up rules implementing Kroll's recommendations Wednesday.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


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