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Deer registration may end at gas stations, bars

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Deer hunters and the businesses they patronize are both crying foul over a plan to end deer registrations at places like bars and gas stations. On Wednesday the state Natural Resources Board will consider a proposal to start registering catches over the phone and online. It's among the dozens of suggestions from James Kroll, the governor's "Deer Czar," to boost hunting in Wisconsin.

It was proposed in the name of efficiency -- but bars fear it will take away business, and hunting groups say we'll loss some of the tradition and camaraderie among hunters after they turn in their tags and swap stories over a cold one.

The phone and Internet registrations would begin this fall, and the conversion would be complete by 2015. It would save $182.000 the D-N-R now spends to run 626 deer reporting stations. D-N-R staffers also say it would count the harvest faster, and make it more convenient for hunters.

A few randomly-selected hunters would still register in person, so parts of their animals could be tested for chronic wasting disease. Agency staffers say bars could set up Internet terminals to help hunters register -- but tavern owners say those people will just register with their smartphones someplace else. The Wisconsin Conservation Congress generally supports Kroll's recommendations -- but some members think more hunters will simply not register their kills.