Free Deer Tags May Cost More Than We Think

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All Kansas sportsmen should be very concerned about a new bill that has been introduced in our legislature. House Bill 2079 states that the KDWP shall provide a free any-season white-tailed deer tag to every resident who owns a lifetime hunting license. Any resident non-lifetime hunting license holder will get a free antlerless tag. In addition, the long-standing 10 day rifle season will be extended another week. The bill does not give any indication of why these changes are necessary, but in my conversations with a few state representatives, the deer population and deer/vehicle accidents both came up.
Free deer tags! More rifle season! This sounds great, right? Here is the concern. The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation was created in 1860 from the likes of Aldo Leopold, Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir. The founded principles have worked wonderfully over the years and are proven. The hunting and fishing opportunities found in America are the envy of the world. Let me get to my point. Our wildlife conservation model has seven tenets. One of those tenets states that science is the proper tool for use in determining wildlife policy. If that is one of the principles, then what is our state legislature doing meddling in the affairs of our wildlife department? I certainly doubt that our state reps have looked over years worth of data regarding our deer population, yearly harvest rates, license sales, CWD damage reports, vehicle accident reports, etc. I wonder who in our state legislature has the biology credentials to understand the ramifications of such a bill – a bill that could possibly defund KDWP. Furthermore, why would our state create a department with the sole purpose to manage the wildlife, and then pass laws that supersedes that department. Here lies the problem with this bill. It’s nothing more than a few legislators’ opinions. I assure you that managing wildlife based on opinions is not found in the seven principles of our wildlife conservation model.
This new bill has been discussed extensively on social media and I’m sure the news has made it to your local coffee shop. Ask a hundred hunters and I’m sure you’ll find a hundred opinions. Many would like these changes and many would not. The one thing that us sportsmen and women should be united on is that our wildlife should be managed by our state biologists and not our state legislators. For that reason alone, this bill should be struck down.
Mike Miller
Hutchinson

Trail Camera[MP:06]

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