Walker's budget to include more money for deer management
MADISON - Governor Scott Walker said this afternoon that he'll include money in his proposed state budget to improve the way Wisconsin manages its deer herd.
Gov. Walker said he would ask legislators on February 20th to approve a number of deer-related measures. They include the creation of a Deer Management Assistance Program called "D-MAP" - one of the top recommendations made last year by Walker's "Deer Czar," James Kroll. "D-MAP" is a system in which hunters and landowners work with the state to manage deer and other habitat on specific lands. Hunters on those lands would get special tags to shoot antlerless deer, and they'd collect and share data from their harvests.
About 20 other states use the "D-MAP" system, and the properties are determined by a consensus from landowners and wildlife officials. Walker says his budget would include a "D-MAP" coordinator, and fees for the program's services. The governor he also wants to invest in more modern satellite technology to help deer managers track animals and make management decisions. Hunters in chronic wasting disease zones would start paying fees for antlerless tags, to speed up the testing of animals suspected of having CWD.
And Walker would also give the DNR authority to adopt needed emergency rules for this year's and next year's deer seasons. Walker did not say how much the initiatives would cost. He said the measures would enhance Wisconsin's rich hunting tradition, and improve hunter relations with the DNR.
The state DNR will update central Wisconsin residents this month on status of chronic wasting disease in the region. Officials said a hunter shot a deer in Portage County last November which later tested positive for CWD. It was the first time that a deer in the wild had the fatal brain disease. A captive deer on a Portage County game farm was also found to have CWD back in 2002. The DNR will talk about the latest discovery, and what it means, at a meeting on February 19th at the Mead Wildlife Area north of Milladore.