DNR delay looks very suspicious

Well maybe, just maybe, the DNR has had second thoughts on managing our area for moose over deer. Or maybe it’s a delay tactic.
A news release came out Thursday saying the agency has decided to wait until 2017 to implement northeast deer permit area changes.
We’ve been very strong in our position editorially that the DNR is failing to utilize science in this issue.
The idea of drastically reducing deer numbers will make the moose population magically rebound is right up there with Jack and the bean stalk.
But that is exactly what the DNR has been pushing to do. The changes in the permit areas up here was just a tool to wipe out deer in where there are still moose. Period.
Pushing back the plan a year may just be a delay to avoid the public opposition that has been growing like wildfire not just up here but around the state as well.
“We remain committed to the boundary changes, which benefit both deer and moose,” said Adam Murkowski, DNR big game program leader. “However, it is important that we take the time needed to do more outreach with the public about the proposal, the specific changes being proposed, and what the proposal means for deer and moose.”
Hunters know what the proposal means for deer - open season. By moving to the designation of hunter’s choice when the population is barely starting to recover will reduce the herd too quickly. And don’t be surprised to see this area moved to intensive harvest in short order.
This is being done without the benefit of science. But the DNR spins a different yarn:
Murkowski added that the DNR does not want to implement any changes until after completion of an ongoing evaluation of the state’s deer management program by the Office of the Legislative Auditor in case any findings would influence the roll-out of the new boundaries.
“We could have been clearer about the reasons behind the proposal, and the additional time prior to implementation will allow us to better address concerns and questions,” Murkowski said.
If that sounds like delaying the inevitable then you are seeing the same thing. The DNR knows they don’t have answers to questions being raised about why moose are more important than deer. And if there is a concrete connection between the two animals.
And the DNR certainly doesn’t want to try and answer the question being asked by a majority of deer hunters: What are you doing about the wolf population?
The DNR’s silence on the wolf issue is deafening. Tied up in courts repeatedly and tripped up in Congress by special interest groups, the agency and the state itself has failed to take a lead role in putting wolf management back in state control.
When Gerald Tyler of Ely pushed to have something done at the federal level on the wolf issue, the DNR only joined in after he got the train rolling and he had already convinced U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar to climb aboard.
Now the issue lies deader than a wolf-killed moose. The state has managed to give in to a special interest group run by a select few who somehow believe they know more than the world’s most respected authorities on wolf management.
Dr. David Mech has been one of the proponents for wolf management and harvest. That is the de facto biggest endorsement to overturn federal protection. Yet the state is silent.
Again it will likely to take a grass-roots effort or the ability of a federally elected official to rise above the moose and deer gut piles and advocate for common sense.
If you want to help bring back the moose population, you must look at the entire picture and not pretend wolves are not part of the equation. Don’t tell us the state doesn’t manage wolves, do something about it!
So the delay until the 2017 deer hunting seasons to make these changes should be viewed by hunters with a suspicious eye, like a doe looking over her shoulder while walking in the woods.
If you don’t trust the DNR on this issue, be sure to make your voice heard. This looks to us like nothing more than a delay tactic to let the public uproar die down and then do what was supposed to happen this year.
The agency will not help its image unless there are science-based changes, not rhetoric and magic beans.