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Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

A Tradition Good for Wisconsin

It is a Wisconsin tradition as important for family and friends as it is for our state’s wildlife and economy. Wisconsin’s annual nine-day gun deer season begins Saturday November 20, 2010. 

Deer archery season began during September. There were the special hunt for disabled hunters October 2-10, the annual youth hunt October 9-10, and the early antlerless season October 14-17.   Deer hunting will continue with more archery, muzzleloader season, and another antlerless season throughout December.

It is the nine-day November gun deer hunt that sends hundreds of thousands of hunters into Wisconsin’s woods. Well over 600,000 hunters purchase gun deer licenses each year.  I remember the dark early mornings waking up to get the hunters off into the woods with a hot breakfast and packed lunch.  The night before was early to bed, preceded by heated group discussions of the hunting plan.  I remember the Thanksgiving celebrations that were more about celebrating the prize deer capture than the turkey. 

This is the second year Wisconsin families may include their children, age 10 and older, while hunting. Thanks to the hunter mentoring program approved by the Legislature last year, families are passing hunting tradition to the next generation.

To all our hunters: good luck, and stay safe! As a group, hunters are among our most responsible citizens. Still, it is always good to look over the rules, regulations, and tips for a safe and successful deer hunt. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has information about hunting regulations and safety, along with many other topics, available online at http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/wildlife/hunt/deer/. The information is also available at locations that sell hunting license.

As more hunters move away from drives and into tree stands, accidents involving tree stands are becoming more common than firearms accidents. Tree stands are not the only reason. Firearms accidents have become less and less common over the years due to heightened awareness of safety and greater involvement of the hunting community securing opportunity for everyone to learn to hunt safe. Last year, Wisconsin experienced seven firearms accidents during gun deer season, and none were fatal. Quite an improvement from just a decade ago, with dozens of accidents a year the norm. 

Drivers on Wisconsin’s roads and highways can be grateful for the hundreds of thousands of hunters keeping the deer herd under control, and reducing the number of car/deer accidents. The number of Wisconsin motorists hurt or killed in car-deer accidents peaked at 847 during 1999, and has declined steadily over the past several years.  The reduction in car/deer accidents is evidence perhaps, that the herd is not nearly as big as the DNR estimates in recent years. 

In addition, hunting plugs hundreds of millions of dollars into Wisconsin’s economy. Last year, hunters spent over $200 million on equipment, food, transportation, lodging, etc. Much of that money comes via neighboring states, because hunters know Wisconsin is a prime destination. Especially during difficult economic times, hunters’ cash is something our Wisconsin economy can appreciate!

Family bonding, keeping the herd healthy, protecting farmers from crop damage, minimizing car-deer collisions, feeding the hungry, and helping the economy. Thank you hunters! 

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