As I mentioned in my post "Legal Help for Hunters: Its about Time," Wisconsin Hunters Rights' Coalition and the Wisconsin Chapters of Safari Club International retained Michael Best & Friedrich law firm to help with eliminiting the Earn-a-Buck or "anterless only" seasons.
Courtesy of Michael Best & Friedrich, below you will find the Wiconsin Hunters Rights Coalitions' Position Statement on why the Wisconsin Legislature should eliminate the Earn-a-Buck and "anterless only" seasons.
Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition
The Wisconsin Legislature should permanently eliminate “earn-a-buck” and October “antlerlessonly” deer hunting seasons in Wisconsin because:
1) “Earn-a-buck” and October “antlerless-only” deer hunting seasons remain enormously unpopular with Wisconsin’s 650,000 plus deer hunters and threaten Wisconsin’s strong deer hunting traditions and heritage.
2) The Department originally represented that the “earn-a-buck” and October “antlerless-only” deer hunting seasons would be “temporary.”
3) Wisconsin’s deer population can be effectively managed through the issuance of appropriate numbers of antlerless and bonus deer permits pursuant to Wisconsin Administrative Code section NR 10.104. The use of antlerless and bonus deer permits represents a reasonable and less restrictive means to achieve appropriate deer management objectives.
4) The Department’s deer population “estimates” are flawed and do not justify mandating the use of “earn-a-buck” and “antlerless-only” hunting seasons.
A. A 2006 audit confirmed that the Department’s population estimates at the “deer management unit” level are unrealistic and inaccurate.
B. The manner in which the Department uses the “sex-age-kill” model for calculating deer population estimates results in an estimate that is only “within +/- 121.9% of the true [deer] population level, 95% of the time.”
C. Contrary to the Department’s estimates, trends in vehicle collision reports, buck harvest data, and hunters’ observations show that the deer population in Wisconsin is declining and not increasing.
5) The “earn-a-buck” and “antlerless-only” deer hunting seasons are fundamentally incompatible with the “sex-age-kill” model that the Department is required to use to calculate deer population densities because these hunting seasons alter the buck harvest rate (which is a key variable of the model) thereby biasing population “estimates.”
6) The “earn-a-buck” and “antlerless-only” deer hunting seasons have contributed to the
Department significantly overestimating the size of the deer population in Wisconsin.
7) The Department has established “deer population goals” for the “deer management units” described in Wisconsin Administrative Code Section NR 10.104 (4) that are below levels necessary to meet reasonable social, economic, and ecosystem management objectives. The Department’s population goal for the entire state is approximately 739,000 deer, which represents one deer per 47 acres of land. This goal is well below the biological carrying capacity of the land and antithetical to “good hunting.”
8) “Earn-a-buck” and “antlerless-only” deer hunting seasons are inconsistent with or otherwise violate Article 1, Section 26 of the Wisconsin Constitution; Chapter 29 of the Wisconsin Statutes; and Chapters NR 1 and 10 of the Administrative Code.
A. The seasons unreasonably infringe upon freedom of choice by hunters by requiring hunters to “kill” a deer that they would not otherwise shoot as a prerequisite to exercising their constitutionally protected right to “hunt.”
B. “Earn-a-buck” and “antlerless-only” deer hunting seasons are inconsistent with the Department’s obligation under Chapter 29 of the Wisconsin Statutes to promulgate rules that ensure the citizens of the state continued opportunities for “good hunting.”
C. Chapter 29 of the Wisconsin Statutes expressly condones the use of “hunter’s choice deer hunting permit[s]” and “bonus deer hunting permits” to achieve appropriate deer management objectives.
D. Wisconsin Administrative Code Section NR 10.104 (5) mandates that the Department utilize a “sex-age-kill” model to “annually calculate an estimate of the overwinter deer population for each deer management unit.” Recognizing that a “sex-age-kill” model cannot reasonably be used in “earn-a-buck” deer management units, the Department has employed the use of nauthorized methods of “estimating” the deer population in these units.
9) The “earn-a-buck” and “antlerless-only” deer hunting seasons negatively impact the economic benefits of deer hunting in Wisconsin by reducing hunter participation and generating unnecessary ill-will towards the Department.
10) The unintended long-term consequences of “earn-a buck” and “antlerless-only” deer
hunting seasons are revealed in chronic wasting disease (“CWD”) deer management units. Ironically, the Department itself estimates that the deer population has increased 82% since 2002 in CWD units (the opposite of the Department’s objective), because landowners and hunters have rejected the Department’s management approach.