DNR Says It Will Try Harder To Engage Public Regarding Deer Experiments

Northwoods Study Will See How Different Types Of Forest Management Impact Deer Populations

The DNR is conducting forest management experiments on populations of deer in the Northwoods. Photo: Timothy Wildey (CC-BY-NC).

The Department of Natural Resources is promising to do a better job of explaining a deer herd experiment in the Northwoods.

The study would take place near Manitowish Waters on about 1,000 acres the state purchased five years ago using stewardship funds. The experiment would build enclosures for varying numbers of deer and try to see how different types of forest management affect the animals.

At Wednesday’s DNR Board meeting, Larry Bonde of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress said local citizens haven’t been told much about the study.

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“I don’t know anyone who was aware that this project was even taking place until the recent news story about this project,” said Bonde. “That includes our Vilas County delegation.”

Bonde said that because of the lack of public engagement, the project will evoke “skepticism and doubt.” He also questions closing off public access to the stewardship land.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp says more outreach should have been done about the experiment. She says once the agency fixes that, people will see the benefits of the study.