County to issue deer damage tags

State sets limit of 35 deer damage tags for county forest, wants more hunting

When it comes to public policy decisions around deer hunting there is a balancing act between politics and science.
That balance act came into focus on Friday with the approval by the county forestry committee to issue crop damage tags in a portion of the county forest. Forest administrator Jake Walcisak is concerned about what he sees as an over-concentration of deer in the county forest. The deer gather in recently cut areas and slow down the regeneration process by grazing on saplings.
Walcisak said while it is possible to fence areas off to keep deer out and promote forest regeneration in other ways, the most cost effective method of management is through the reduction of the deer herd in the area.
Walcisak and assistant administrator Jordan Lutz have been compiling data through the summer to apply to the state for additional permits, under a program similar to the agriculture damage permits farmers can get.
The plan to issue additional permits for the county forest has faced opposition from the County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) of which Walcisak is a member. That body recommends the deer quota level for licenses available on public and private land in the county.
CDAC members note there have not been tags available for public lands in the county for the past few years. Instead of extra tags for the county forest, CDAC members have pushed for additional education to encourage hunters to hunt the county forest. This year the state, at the advice of the CDAC, is issuing 500 public land tags.

See the full story in this week's issue of The Star News.

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