Walker and Deer: a Rebuttal

[Editor’s note: the following statement was submitted by a reader as a rebuttal to the article “Walker to Deer Hunters: Pay Up or Get Lost.“]

by Joel Anderson

The article “Walker to deer hunters: pay up or get lost” is so full of half truths that it is difficult to know where to start.

Scott Walker and Dr. James Kroll

The article treats Dr. James Kroll as if he were some kind of extremist. The fact is, Dr. Kroll is an acknowledged expert in whitetail deer management who is widely respected by hunters in Wisconsin. His appointment by Governor Walker was a breath of fresh air.

Yes. Kroll did call public game management “the last bastion of communism.” Sometimes the truth hurts. Lets take a look at the facts:

The current price of a deer hunting license in Wisconsin is $24. This license entitles a hunter to one antlered deer, along with a number of antlerless deer that varies with season and place.

Hunters on game farms pay a minimum of $750 to shoot a deer. Prices for prize bucks are much higher.

In other words, the current system of government regulated deer hunting allows people to bag a $750, $1,000 or $8,000 buck for $24. How is that fair? If this is not communism, it at least is socialism.

All Kroll and Walker are trying to do is let the market, not government, set the price of deer.

$750 or $1000 for a deer really is not very expensive. It works out to $12-15/lb for venison, which is no more than we pay for prime beef.

And remember, Kroll’s policies apply only to whitetail. For those who may not be able to afford $750 for a deer tag, there still is plenty of other game, like rabbits. Deer hunters don’t want a handout. Most of them will be happy to pay a little bit more to keep government out of the hunting business.

So enough with the scare mongering. It is obvious that the real motive of those opposing Kroll is to hurt governor Walker in whatever way they can. All he wants to do is let the market decide the price of deer. That hardly is extreme.

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53 Comments on “Walker and Deer: a Rebuttal”

  1. Hematite May 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    So let me get this straight: if I can’t afford a deer tag, it’s ok because I can still hunt rabbits? Are you serious?

  2. FarmerJo May 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Of course it would never occur to you that the game farm is ripping you off by charging you $750, $1000 or more for something you can get for $24.

  3. Asmotron May 21, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Talk about missing the point. Wow.

    • Speechless May 22, 2012 at 10:09 am #

      I am, for once, totally speechless. Walker wants to privitize everything it seems.

  4. Laura Chern May 21, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    This is hilarious. Are you sure it isn’t a joke? Anyone who knows even a little bit about deer herd management in Wisconsin knows that the purpose of hunting deer in Wisconsin is to thin the burgeoning number of deer in certain places. The only reason to charge for a hunting license is to insure that people take hunter safety so they don’t kill each other in the woods. At $750 or more per doe, Wisconsin would be overrun with deer, private parks or not. You can’t corral and control that many deer even if you round ’em up by helicopter.

  5. Armed and Decisive May 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    The Free Market should decide what price Private enterprize puts on the right to hunt deer. you liberal hippie fisters need to STFU and get a job instead of complaining about how much it should cost to hunt on public lands. Hunting without paying a private game farm is just more of your unionista gimme gimme handout BS like wanting to get handouts and paychecks for working as teachers or cops. Walker chargeing me for my deer is progress. TGFSW

    • Ryan May 22, 2012 at 10:56 am #

      Hey, this guy said the same thing as I just did about keeping hunting for rich people. Only he wasn’t being sarcastic.

    • doug May 22, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      your an idiot! what progress is happening when he would raise the price of a tag 3000%?can you seriously call this progress? YOU ARE AN IDIOT!

    • Adam May 23, 2012 at 1:09 am #

      This isn’t the free market deciding prices, it’s the government. Which is the opposite of letting the free market decided. And how come anyone who opposes a republican in office is a “jobless liberal” who needs to “get a job?”

    • ice9 May 23, 2012 at 2:12 am #

      Dumb. The free market (or as you say, the Free Market) has already put a price on deer, and you’ve paid it in the form of taxes you pay to acquire and maintain public land, salary DNR biologists and conservation officers to research and enforce the laws, pay farmers for wolf depredation, and a hundred other things. Want proof? It costs me 3 times what it costs you to hunt in Wisconsin, because I live in Minnesota. But I still pay, because that’s where I want to go, and it’s just that I pay more, because I don’t pay Wisconsin taxes and so don’t have a claim to a share of Wisconsin resources. The same goes for every other resource held in common by the citizens of the state: water, timber, ore, air.

      When Kohl calls public land ‘communism’ he’s exactly right–Wisconsin is a community that agreed to acquire and maintain public land a long time ago, when it was relatively inexpensive. That land was placed in trust for the use of all citizens in the state under certain rules, one of which was that the privilege of hunting it would be regulated by the state; another was that it would be open to all. A deer that is born and grows on Wisconsin public property is part of the commonly held property of the state, just like a road or bridge or anything else paid for by public funds for public use. If a private citizen realizes a greater value for the use of his land, including deer that he has fostered and fed and fenced, more power to him, but that fact does not change the financial facts of commonly held resources. Deer are tough to contain and tricky to train, so they tend to stray across fences and boundaries without regard to taxes or political philosophies, so it’s considered fair that some public deer might occupy private land, and vice versa; it is not considered fair that humans do the same thing. State land is not unoccupied or unutilized or unfairly used or whatever hack grifters like Kohl are saying these days. On the contrary: it’s being used far better than any game farm, because the greatest good for the greatest number is achieved through this style of ownership and use.

      This is the legacy of a generation’s worth of propaganda arguing that government is the problem and that only business or industry can do (insert any function) best. This argument seems sensible until you try it. In fact most (not all, I agree, but most) functions of government can’t be accomplished by private organizations. They simply can’t, and when you get to cases you can see why. Businesses are in the world to maximize profit for their shareholders. They can’t deliver mail to everybody everywhere at one very reasonable price; a dime for suburbs, but if you live in a rural area you’ll pay $3 per first-class letter. They can’t build roads that create a stable business climate–sure, they can run a popular toll highway from homes to town, though even those easy pickings tend to fail too because Americans hate learning exactly how much it costs to have a nice smooth road with lights and bridges and stuff. They can’t operate schools unless they ditch the stupid and the crippled and the angry and the poor kids, who just don’t pay. They can’t run prisons or churches, because they fail to prevent buggery in both institutions.

      And look how badly they fail at running deer hunting. The game farm doesn’t even command the supply; that results not from invention, or superior husbandry, or even discipline, but from the willingness to front the steep cost of purchasing land, high fencing, and legislators, bureaucrats, and executives bold enough to seize the property of their constituents and then accuse those constituents of failing to understand economics. All that’s left is to build a high fence to trap in and cash in on the animal that was there already, a direct product of the richness of the biome and the scarcity of predators.

      That’s not a free market. You wouldn’t last eight minutes in a true free market before you would be squawking about all the comforts of citizenship you no longer seem to enjoy, but that you can see right over there, behind that big fence posted with ‘keep out’ signs.


    • Isaac Carmichael May 27, 2012 at 10:30 am #

      Can’t tell if trolling or just stupid…

    • Friend of Hunter May 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

      Hey armed and idiotic, this may be the one time that liberals and hunters (many liberals hunts BTW) are going to come together. TGFSW!

  6. Matt May 21, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    This is stupid. A private game preserve can charge whatever usage fee they want because they are providing a service. You need a hunting license to hunt on your own land with your own equipment. They are issued in order to control overhunting, but the state is not “selling” deer to hunters. This is clearly an aspect of Wisconsin that Walker doesn’t really understand, but I find this one in particular surprising.

  7. Quackerz May 21, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

    I’m sure the only reason Walker brought in Kroll is because there was no one in Wis. qualified for the job. Right?

    About Kroll in the Texas Monthly:

    “GAME MANAGEMENT,” SAYS JAMES Kroll, driving to his high-fenced, two-hundred-acre spread near Nacogdoches, “is the last bastion of communism.” Kroll, also known as Dr. Deer, is the director of the Forestry Resources Institute of Texas at Stephen F. Austin State University, and the “management” he is referring to is the sort practiced by the State of Texas. The 55-year-old Kroll is the leading light in the field of private deer management as a means to add value to the land. His belief is so absolute that some detractors refer to him as Dr. Dough, implying that his eye is on the bottom line more than on the natural world.

    Kroll, who has been the foremost proponent of deer ranching in Texas for more than thirty years, doesn’t mind the controversy and certainly doesn’t fade in the heat. People who call for more public lands are “cocktail conservationists,” he says, who are really pining for socialism. He calls national parks “wildlife ghettos” and flatly accuses the government of gross mismanagement. He argues that his relatively tiny acreage, marked by eight-foot fences and posted signs warning off would-be poachers, is a better model for keeping what’s natural natural while making money off the land.


  8. jonathan swiller May 22, 2012 at 2:19 am #

    And Scott Walker might win in the recall election? What am I missing?

  9. Scott May 22, 2012 at 5:56 am #

    If you are not a deer hunter and don’t understand what it means to carry on such a time honored tradition, you should not even speak on the subject. Everything in Wisconsin under Walker is commoditized beyond belief. For gods sake governor, let it be. You don’t want to piss off these folks. I’m so sick of his act.

  10. Jones May 22, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    Wow, so all of us that can’t afford a $700 overpriced deer tag for a buck are simply just not getting the point, eh? My god I can’t believe how stupid I was to miss the point that we are the problem, and our time honored tradition of cheap dear for people FROM Wisconsin. To think that me and my socialist scum extended family ( that also cannot afford such a price ) are so heavily sucking off the public dear teat that we are straight sucking the state dry from lost revenue… Couldn’t be that we are creating a wealthy friendly state, by virtue of tax cut’s for those who can afford. What the heck were you trying to say?

  11. Bill Dunn May 22, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Kroll looks like a refugee from the Branch Davidian compound or Ruby Ridge. A fringe appointee by “privatize everything” Walker. Wisconsinites will rue the day someday that he was able to fool so many people.

  12. Adam May 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Public land, does not have a sole purpose, the common land held by the government is so that everyone has access to land for many things, wether its bird watching to canoing, to hiking. Deer hunting is not the sole goal of public policy on public lands. Sure deer ranches are great for pulling in big bucks, that’s do to food plots, and herd management, that cost significant amounts of money, to keep healthy deer populations at un natural levels. Our common lands are not designed for that, deer hunting then is a management tool to keep populations at stable safe levels within the limits that the land can sustain.

  13. biologist and hunter May 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    People: Read up on the “North American Model of Wildlife Management”. Modern game management follows the principles set forth by this model, which can very well be said to have originated in Wisconsin (Aldo Leopold).

    Game licenses cost money so that money can be put back in to habitat conservation and research into those very species that people value as a huntable (and watchable) species. As you will see in many countries that do not have an effective mode of wildlife management, wildlife disappears. People will not pay $750 for a deer tag. Poaching will simply increase and money for habitat conservation will decrease.

    State management of wildlife is not a socialist/communist action or idea. Let’s stop being emotional and polarizing and get real. Wildlife is managed (not owned or profited on) by government because it is considered a “public trust resource”. Just like water. Nobody owns it, therefore nobody should profit from it (and nobody should be restricted from it due to lack of money), but somebody must be responsible for managing it. Yes, you pay a monthly water bill, but that’s because you are paying for the purification of the water as well as the infrastructure that pumps it to your home faucets. But nobody would charge you if you decided to drink out of a river. Water is a public resource and, just like wildlife, NEEDS to be properly protected and managed as such. But I don’t see anyone calling city utility departments communist factions (yet).

    In fact, let’s use that analogy. You pay a game tag fee to support the “infrastructure (i.e. biologists, conservation officers, etc.)” that ensures adequate resources (wildlife) into the future. I know many “barstool biologists” exist out there, but hired wildlife biologists are oftentimes not only well educated in their field, but (contrary to popular belief) are also hunters themselves and spend hundreds of hours in the field every year (I myself just got done pulling sticks out of my hair from being in a spruce swamp all morning). We cannot depend on untrained individuals to “manage” wildlife on private land, even if they grew up in the woods. I grew up with a heart and limbs, but if any of them needed worked on, I would surely call a trained surgeon and not try to do it myself.

    I also encourage you, if you so choose to educate and inform yourselves on the issue, look up the definition of “The tragedy of the commons”. Simply read the first paragraph of the Wiki definition, and you will (hopefully) understand why game management is important.

    **stepping down from my soapbox now.** Good day.

    • Chris May 22, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

      Bravo, well said. I applaud you!

  14. ottod May 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    When I lived in Texas years ago, there was little public land and hunting was limited or restricted on that. It has not gotten better. Judging from the sources of everything else going on in the state right now, I’d guess that the Koch brothers already have deposits (or are those contributions – I’m always confused) down on a few thousand acres of prime, income-producing game habitat.

  15. CV May 22, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    So you’d rather pay MORE to “hunt” an animal that’s essentially caged? I don’t care how many acres you’re on, there’s NO sport in that! If you truly feel that hunting on public lands is socialism, and that socialism is bad…well move to another state for your hunting and use NO resources because everything streets to schools are “socialism”!

  16. Joe Rogo May 22, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    Really, Joel, it gets so depressing to continuously deal with the willful ignorance of those who don’t care to discern the differences between things like communism and socialism, marketing and governing, or between the masturbatory entertainment of shooting park animals and the tradition of hunting for self-sufficiency. I’d love to see the likes of you up to your elbows in entrails, but with a free market in butchering, I doubt that’s gonna happen.

    If you have no intention of participating in our socialism, fine. Just stay off public land and keep off public roads on your way to the $1k game farm. Maybe an ultralight or air balloon would suffice to maintain the purity of your independence.

  17. AF iceman May 22, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    I’m a 19 year old kid who is enrolled in college and have been around deer hunting my entire life, but I know that I cannot afford to pay that much to go hunting nor my friends can. They will eventually kill off deer hunting because the youth in Wisconsin will not be able to afford it. It’s my parents land I can shoot what ever I want!

    • Aaron Paul May 24, 2012 at 11:38 am #

      Your getting worked up over nothing. The authors of these articles are just making up lies. Read Krolls real standpoint.

      • Laura May 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

        I am not a hunter, nor is my husband. I grew up in a family of hunters however and have friends that do also. I have read the articles and read the Drs. letter too. I don’t think he is saying anything other than, yes, people who want a deer are going to have to pay highly for it. I feel that is what it comes down too. And many people can’t afford the prices they are talking about. Many people hunt to put food on their tables for the family. Sport? Yes. But also a means to provide some meat to those who can’t afford other cuts. Am I not understanding this correctly?

  18. Neil Demant May 22, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    Who ever said that a tag would cost 750? A stupid liberal written arrival out of Madison knows they’re wrong so they “rebut” by a sarcastic article telling ppl a tag will cast 750. Wake the fu@# up ppl. Id actually be for it if it got some of the idiots out of the woods. The inbred drunken curs that fill the public woods is disgusting anyway.

    • Hematite May 22, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

      If you want to know what Kroll’s policies do, look at Texas. $750 would be cheap. And I’m not sure that many hunters like being called “inbred drunken curs.” I don’t. But thanks for illustrating the attitude out of state game farm hunters have toward Wisconsin.

  19. Ron Kulas May 22, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    Wow, this is incredible.

  20. Retch Sweeney May 22, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    I agree with Ron. Walker must be stopped!

  21. Barbara With May 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm #


  22. Bart May 24, 2012 at 12:01 am #

    I have family that still deer hunts to make ends meet. I guess the market simply weeds out those commies with genuine need, and they (used to) consistently vote conservative.

  23. Roger May 25, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Wow, I hear you Bart. I was a Walker supporter until I heard this! I have read this article over and over Aaron Paul, it is clear. I will not vote for Walker now, he is not looking out for me or my family!

  24. Corey Englesby May 26, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    You only vote Republican if you are rich or stupid, I believe that no matter what a vote for Walker is something the retarded kid would know is the wrong thing to do.

  25. tomtom May 26, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    it looks like Wisconsin is being colonized by Texan nutjobs

    My opinion is there should be an open season on deer year round just to get rid of the tick carrying vermin

  26. Patrick May 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    Early on in this article we get this, “Yes. Kroll did call public game management “the last bastion of communism.” Sometimes the truth hurts. Lets take a look at the facts:”

    Isn’t this the whole problem with our political discourse?The last bastion of communism?Follow that statement to its logical conclusion,that we are finally ridding ourselves of the communist menace.I don’t know about any one else but I want serious people running for,or in office and that comment is not serious or from someone I would consider credible.

    I have also seen the term ‘free market’ thrown around like crazy in regards to this issue and many others.Lets be honest,this is not a true free market system remotely resembling anything Adam Smith talked about.

    I never thought I would live to see the day when a Gov. would make Thompson look reasonable.Walker is a really bad guy who has divided WI in a way I did not think was possible.Hopefully that will all change in a few days.Even if he hangs on we can knock the pins out from under his supporting cast.

  27. Shelley May 29, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    So what this person is basically saying is that deer hunting should be for the wealthy. And he doesn’t see any harm in this.


  28. Rosie Gildenstern May 29, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    Today the public parks, tomorrow the public libraries!
    Heil Walker!

  29. Jim May 30, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    A lot of people hunt the deer as food not trophy animals. I take large Does and then her offspring so they are not separated. As for the rest, I did not defend this country only to come home and have to defend my self from the Government. who I gave a Blank Check to for an amount up to and including my life! Stop giving your rights away out of fear and laziness!

  30. Merle Lowe May 31, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    Well, at least I will give some credit to the far right for showing a bit of consistency in their ideological crusade against “socialism”. For years, I’ve challenged the far right as they lambasted public schools, transportation, broadcasting, etc, only to troop off to publicly-funded hunting land every November. Hey, if you’re going to battle socialism, you have to battle ALL of it, not just those institutions that you don’t personally benefit from.

    Now that I think of it, this might be a windfall for me, as I own several hundred acres of prime hunting land in Ashland County that will probably see a 10x increase in value if all hunting land is privatized. I have visions of setting up a toll booth at the entrance and charging a few thousand dollars per hunter. Or perhaps I’ll sell the whole parcel for a few million dollars and move to a state that hasn’t been overrun with Mad Conservative Disease.

  31. me May 31, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    i have hunted in buffalo county all my life and to see how the “corporate deer camps” have taken hold sickens me, i remember when you could walk up to most any farm in the county and get permission to hunt, now because of the hype to shoot the biggest buck ever and make the record book and several hundred “out of towners” who f@$#ed it up for the rest of us, if you don’t own land or pay big bucks to lease, you have to hunt public land. i don’t know if this is all bullshit or real but if any oerson trys to make deer hunting an exclusive sport they will most likely see a revolution on their hands. also there would most likely be an increase in poaching ( i’m just saying ). in the last 20 years i have seen land prices falsely inflated and property taxes going up every year to a point that farmers have to sell out because they can not pay them. sick sick sick. WALKER, don’t pull a DOYLE and get in office on the backs of hunters and then turn yours on them!!!!

  32. kevin June 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    Who can afford $750 nowadays. I’d rather sit on my same hilltop spot on my in-law’s land and freeze my ass off and see nothing worth shootin before I pay $750 and pick out a doe to shoot. Guys I hunt with would take my rRemington away for even mentioning that.

  33. Kim June 3, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    This article shows that only the rich will be able to hunt and again the middle class suffers.. Yet another reason why he needs to be RECALLED!

  34. Dale June 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    I don’t think your cost per pound of venison includes time and expenses.

  35. John June 9, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

    The mere fact that this is out here suggests it’s been discussed by those in charge. Our neighbor is doing it right now. http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10368_27230—,00.html
    Will it happen here? I can’t honestly say. But who would have thought public employee’s would lose their negotiated benefits? These times are unlike any other. Keep your eyes and ears open.

  36. bowhunter September 18, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    The problem with this country at every level is that people cannot have a conversation/dialogue about any subject w/o posturing or name calling. I read the article, and its a very good representation on one mans stance. Now whether you agree with that stance or not, you should be able to state that w/o making disparaging remarks about another persons stance. Now I don’t know what the cost of a license “should” be, but I do know it should cost as much as it takes to manage a quality deer (or any other game) heard. I don’t know who Joel Anderson is, but I disagree with the price comparison to a “game farm”. A game farm is a business (for profit), so the free market will dictate the cost. Public land is managed by the government, and the government is not a for profit entity therefore it wasn’t the best comparison. Anyhow, just my opinion.

  37. Don September 21, 2012 at 5:54 am #

    Whoever wrote this rebuttal is full of it. Just because some ripoff game farm sets the price on a deer at $750.00 doesn’t make it right. And where does this person get off saying that people pay up to $15.00 a pound for beef. Are they out of their mind? If the state started charging fees like that one of two things would happen, poaching would become the new state sport because the average hunter couldn’t afford to pay those kind of fees, or the deer herd would become so large the environment couldn’t handle it. I’ve lived in Wisconsin for 73+ years and the present system has worked fine.

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