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Sweeping changes to Wisconsin's deer hunt approved

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsinites are about to make some sweeping changes in the way they hunt deer.  

The Natural Resources Board cast a unanimous voice vote Wednesday in favor of key provisions to change the state's hunting culture -- changes drafted by Texas researcher James Kroll when he was the state's "Deer Czar" in 2011.  

One key provision endorsed Wednesday was highly controversial. It will eliminate in-person deer registrations at places like bars and gas stations, in favor of online and phone registrations.  

Hunters and tavern owners feared that the change would take away the camaraderie that happens when a deer party makes a big catch -- and then celebrates it at the bar where they turned it in.

Tavern owners also feared business losses from the change. DNR staffers said it would make for a faster count of the harvest, and save money.  

Other changes endorsed today were a reduction in deer management units, and the creation of county committees to advise state wildlife experts on deer population goals.  

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said the new measures would give hunters and the general public more of a say in the state's deer management.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)