In recent days several people have emailed me blog links such as this one. Here's a portion:
As reported in Lodi Valley News, Walker has hired Texan Dr. James Kroll to serve as Wisconsin’s “deer czar,” a position that gives Kroll considerable power over Wisconsin’s deer management policy. Kroll is an outspoken proponent of game farms, and an opponent of public lands and public game management, which he is on record as describing as “the last bastion of communism.”
The public lands Kroll despises include the state parks, state and national forests, and other publicly held property that hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites—particularly in the northern part of the state—rely on for deer hunting. Hunters on public land may be surprised to discover that Walker regards their annual trek into a state forest as a radical left wing activity akin to marching in a May Day parade in Red Square. But so it is.
If Kroll gets his way, public land hunters will get the shaft. The deer herd no longer would be managed as a public resource, but as the private property of wealthy landowners. Wisconsin will become like Europe, where hunting is the privilege of the wealthy.
Kroll’s view fit in nicely with those of DNR secretary Cathy Stepp, a Walker appointee who already has suggested that public lands be sold.
Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie was quite clear in his response:
Completely outrageous and 100% untrue. Governor Walker is a deer hunter himself. There are some good quotes that directly relate to this claim in a news article done by the Lakeland Times:
From the bottom up
Just recently the state's deer trustee, Dr. James Kroll, issued his preliminary report of his study of deer management practices in Wisconsin and found them severely wanting; among other things, Kroll was critical of the methods and data the agency used and of its excessive regulatory mentality.
In his interview with The Times, Walker said his administration took the report seriously and would be implementing changes.
"I gave him a wide-open purview and told him to go out and talk to as many people and groups as he could, those who are involved in hunting, fishing and trapping, particularly hunting, and to talk to DNR staff - not just management but people in the front lines," Walker said. "He spent most of his time talking to people who love to hunt and who actively hunt in the state of Wisconsin."
What he produced was an independent and objective third-party review, Walker said, and what Kroll found was an approach that was too centered in the bureaucracy.
"He made a number of important observations that we are going to want to follow up on, not the least of which was a concern that he strongly believes that there has been a top-down approach in the past in the DNR in terms of deer management and promoting the harvest in the state," Walker said. "We had felt that from others, but he did more than just provide anecdotes. He actually used science and methodically went through and proved this."
Walker said Kroll has determined that management policies need to be more inclusive.
"He very strongly believes that in states that have had successful hunts and successful seasons, it's got to be driven from the grassroots," the governor said. "It's got to be bottom up, and it's got to be something where the people who are engaged in hunting and in wildlife management beyond the DNR staff feel that they have a voice and that they have a seat at the table, and his observations were that this has largely not been true in the past. That's something we're going to want to build off that report and change."
Walker said a successful hunt isn't just about numbers but the whole experience.
"And that means being engaged and involved and people feeling a passion and that they have a role in this, and that just hasn't happened in the past," he said. "So we want to build off this preliminary report and on the listening sessions Dr. Kroll has held around the state because the report is something that is not just accurate but something that demands that we move aggressively on."