There was an article in the St Paul Pioneer press yesterday. I could not ignore some of the comments.
Blue font are quotes pulled from a 1/18/2014 Pioneer Press article.
Leslie McInenly, the state’s top deer manager, said “it’s fair to question the goals” the agency sets for various deer hunting zones throughout the state. But when it comes to Johnson’s specific claims against the agency — Johnson alleges one area has more hunters than adult deer — McInenly said Johnson is either improperly applying DNR data or missing the nuances of deer management.
Beau Liddel, DNR Regional Biologist in Little Falls has the deer density goals for zone 222 at 10.8 deer per square mile. The zone measures 413 square miles. At goal that is 4,460 adult deer. (St Paul DNR reports the deer density goal number at 12 deer per square mile, or 4,956 adult deer at goal. No one really knows which number is used in the field ). And 5,100 firearms hunters. And another 1,000 (estimate) bow and muzzleloader hunting. No matter how you slice it, that is more hunters than adult deer.
“My initial intent was to make the committee members’ names public,” she (McInenly) said, referring to committees of hunters, landowners, farmers and others that recommend whether the deer population in a given area should increase or decrease. “But there is a danger that we might lose some people as a result of the heat on this issue.”
It’s unclear under what legal basis, if any, the DNR could withhold the identities of committee members, whom the agency picks. Johnson said he wants the names made public.
When asked why the goals are so low and there are so few deer, the DNR will answer ‘The stakeholders asked for it’. No hunter I know would feel one adult deer per 60 acres is adequate. We manage areas of the state for densities identical to WI CWD zones. The closed door 2006 process should never be repeated. The process had an agenda to lower deer numbers, and it was taken too far. Its destroying the quality of the hunt in MN. The voice of the hunter will be represented in the next go round. There is absolutely no way the hunters of MN are going to allow the process that led to these numbers to continue.
It’s hard to know how widespread the criticism is among the 500,000-strong deer-hunting public.
It’s not difficult. You simply ask the hunter. But the DNR has not run a hunter satisfaction survey in Central Minnesota since 2005. So I did one myself. Took me 30 minutes and cost me $24 through Survey Monkey. I borrowed an email list of Sportsmen from a colleague. I had never contacted any of the names on the list, they were sent no info or propaganda. They received the exact same questions and given the exact same choices as asked in the 2005 DNR survey. I wanted to compare 2013 to 2005. And the answers are disturbing.
In 2005, 77% of the hunters surveyed either strongly or slightly agreed with the statement “I am satisfied with the number of deer I see while hunting.” For 2013 that number has dropped to 23%. A 70% decline. But the DNR does want to act for the 2014 season.
The DNR needs to make changes for the 2014 season. You simply can not ignore the cries for help from the stakeholder group that funds the hunting side of the DNR.