Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Deer Camp - Day Eight

Hunt'n, Governor Walker

Things are winding down at camp.

I would have thought I'd see more hunters out and about in the last few days.  Seems like in the past you could count upon some organized deer drives.  I don't see very much of that anymore.  There are still plenty of deer out there for sure because the game camera captures their presence.  

Exclusively at night.

They're hunkered-down in heavy cover and unless they get pushed around they're going to do what any self-respecting deer would do.  Stay put.

Many of you might have heard or probably know that the deer harvest was down last year.  A mere 329,103 deer were killed.  More than that actually died if you include those killed by predation, vehicle collisions and poaching.  The published figure is for hunter-registered deer.

Sometime early next year we'll have a reasonably accurate figure for this year's harvest.  My guess is it will be higher than last year's number.  I'll have to wait and see if my hunch is correct.  For some of us in the hunting community whatever that number is it will still be too low.  For the anti-hunting crowd the number will be nothing less than an unmitigated slaughter.

Inasmuch as hunters and anti hunters are in the minority - for the vast majority of Wisconsinites the kill count will be a passing news item soon to be forgotten.

We're going to have a new Governor and he's made it clear that he's going to appoint a Deer Trustee who will - Take the politics out of the woods and put the deer back in.

Translation:  Scott Walker will select a political appointee to oversee whitetail deer management.

Does this mean we're going to have another layer of bureaucracy to satisfy the exclusive wishes of hunters?

God bless the Trustee as I happen to think this will be a thankless appointment.  

My advice to the incoming Guv is incremental change.  And listen to more people than just Greg Kazmierski.  If you're going to ignore the forest products industry, agricultural interests, the insurance lobby, along with private landowners that strikes me as a particularly Sisyphean task. 

I admit to being biased. I am skeptical of politicians meddling with the management of wildlife resources.  With modern day election cycles requiring a campaign to begin almost as soon as the last has been completed does anybody honestly believe that an ambitious politician - regardless of party - cares about wildlife resources ten years from now much less a generation from now? 

Am I the only hunter who's thinking - Be careful about what you ask for?  Suppose the balance of power shifts some day to politicians sympathetic to the anti-hunting crowd?  

So for the present I am going to suppress any feelings of entitlement.  I'm going to remain optimistic and keep my glass half-full.  Pardon the pun - but the buck stops with me and what happens with the firearm or bow under my control. 

It occurred to me last night that back in 1960 - about the time I was examining that dead deer in Joey's back yard - the number of deer registered in the Door peninsula's first three days of the gun season numbered 33. 

Yep.  Less than three dozen. 

In 1985 the kill in the first four days was 1198.  Last weekend it was 952 in the first two days of the gun season. 

How about that for the good old days?

In 1990 the combined statewide archery and gun harvest totaled 399,331 deer.

In 2000 the combined statewide archery and gun harvest totaled 615,293 deer.

What is amazing to me is that this state can sustain numbers like this.  Numbers that miserable and empty-handed hunters in other states can only imagine in their wildest of dreams.

I suppose the Deer Trustee is going to be charged with finding the sweet spot for the body count.

Will it be 400,000?  600,000?  1,000,000?  

Will the business of government be to provide a deer in every pot?

Is it hunting?

Or is it shopping?

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