Hraychuck: Earn-A-Buck Suspended
MADISON – The day after urging the Natural Resources Board (NRB) to reconsider its Earn-A-Buck deer hunting policy, State Representative and Assembly Fish and Wildlife Committee Chairwoman Ann Hraychuck (D-Balsam Lake) applauded the NRB’s April 22nd decision to indefinitely suspend the use of Earn-A-Buck as a method of herd control, except in chronic wasting disease (CWD) zones. The NRB is made up of seven citizens appointed by the Governor and has the responsibility for setting Department of Natural Resources (DNR) policy.
“I was told by many hunters and fellow legislators that this couldn’t be done. But through the strong voices of hunters across the state, we have this historic decision today,” said Hraychuck.
Earn-A-Buck (EAB) is an unpopular tactic that the DNR has been using since 2003 to decrease Wisconsin’s deer population. If someone is hunting in an EAB zone, that hunter must first harvest a doe before they harvest a buck.
Nearly 1000 hunters attended three legislative hearings sponsored by Rep. Hraychuck and Sen. Jim Holperin (D-Conover). The hearings in Madison, Rhinelander and Spooner were held over the past month and provided another forum for hunters to voice their concerns regarding deer herd management techniques.
“Senator Holperin and I facilitated negotiation meetings with DNR Secretary Matt Frank and his staff before and after the legislative hearings were held to communicate the concerns of Wisconsin hunters about the deer population. Eliminating Earn-A-Buck was their number one priority,” said Rep. Hraychuck.
Hraychuck and Holperin sent a letter to Secretary Frank this week outlining hunters’ concerns, requesting that he provide this information to the Natural Resources Board. Specifically, the letter asked the Board to suspend the use of Earn-A-Buck, find hunter-supported alternatives to manage Wisconsin’s deer population, and modify the DNR’s current process for counting deer.
In addition, the Natural Resources Board also announced the creation of a Special Study Committee to research alternative herd management methods. This committee must report back to the board before the 2010 deer season is set.
“This is a classic example of how government should work—bringing stakeholders and the appropriate decision-makers together to solve a problem,” said Hraychuck. “It’s really all about listening and actually getting something done.”
(From Office of Rep. Ann Hraychuck)