The Economic Impacts of the White-tailed Deer on Wisconsin: Final

The Economic Impacts of White-Tailed Deer on Wisconsin
Wisconsin has historically been well known for its richness in beauty and natural resources. The land is full of bountiful forests made up of large growing burr oaks and white pines that have long been the subject of human desire and profit, as well as a great number of lakes and flowing streams. Among some of the most abundant and diverse resources that inhabit Wisconsin is the fauna, some of the more plentiful being coyotes, red foxes, and pine martens. However, one that has been especially influential to the people and the culture of Wisconsin is the white-tailed deer. Due to their large numbers in the state, the white-tail has served many purposes in the development of Wisconsin civilization. Deer have been an important food source since before the arrival of European settlers for both Native Americans and Europeans alike. Just as well, deer hides were tanned and used as a primary clothing source by native people. As European settlements grew, the white-tailed deer gradually became the most hunted animal in Wisconsin and even became a point of tourism for out-of-state hunters. Nearing the end of the 19th century and leading into the 20th, the hunting of this animal began to take on a significant economic impact on Wisconsin. Over the next century, these economic impacts of white-tailed deer hunting have shown to have both a positive and negative impact on Wisconsin’s economic history.
The hunting season has historically provided a multi-million dollar intake by the Wisconsin economy every year, and in recent years this number has reached into the multi-billions. These economic gains can be attributed to a multitude of reasons, including the sales of hunting licenses that occur every year, sales of firearms, hunting apparel, and hunting accessories, and jobs supported by the season. However, the white-tailed deer has also caused a great deal of damage which has also resulted in millions of dollars of damage in Wisconsin as well. A hefty portion of this damage is dealt on Wisconsin’s crops and farms, and is only increased by vehicular and personal property damage and personal injury resulting from the hunting season.
The hunting of White-tailed deer has been an integral part of Wisconsin life and culture since before settlers had even arrived in the territory. Before the evolution of what is now the modern sport hunting season existed both market and subsistence hunting. Market hunting is representative mainly of colonial America from the 17th to the early 20th Century, whereas subsistence hunting had existed as long as there have been humans in an area inhabited by deer. The historiography of the hunting of deer is widespread, discussing the phenomena of subsistence, market, and sports hunting in regards to deer population and the impact on human lifestyle and culture. Market hunting research emphasizes the rapid depletion of the deer population and the economic impacts of the meat and fur as a commodity, while subsistence research focuses on a much more stable population and the use of the resource to sustain human life.
The practice of subsistence hunting was one exclusive to native nations and a select few early settlers in colonial America. In the instance of the Choctaw nation in Southeastern United States, White-tailed deer consisted of about 1/3 of their diet and their fur and skin was used for clothing. Evidence of early forms of conservation practices are observed with the Choctaws, as deer hunting was typically a fall and winter activity. This is true for many reasons; the colder weather slowed the spoiling of the meat in killed deer, allowing it to be preserved for the winter (as venison was not part of the primary food cycle of the Choctaw but rather the secondary). The deer were also typically much fatter and winter coat almost fully developed in these seasons to prepare for the colder weather, and this was also the mating season for deer, meaning that bucks in rut will become much more reckless and willing to travel into open area, making them easier to hunt. These practices, based simply on environment and attention to their nation’s demand for those resources, proved not only to not be detrimental to the deer population, but rather even beneficial by curbing overpopulation which could lead to agricultural damage and widespread starvation by the deer. Richard White argues this type of hunting to be the most beneficial to both deer and human populations, but also recognizes that it is no longer possible in a capitalist society.
Market hunting appeared in the North American territories along with the white settlers in the 17th century as a growing demand for furs and meat forced an economic value upon the White-tailed deer. These market hunters employed every method possible for taking deer and shipped the dead game to populated areas such as Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Cincinnati for sale. Even the native people that were known to actively conserve the population and take only what was needed were quickly nurtured into the market lifestyle, being traders by nature and fueled by an insatiable desire for liquor, which was traded to them by white settlers for furs and meat. By the 1850’s, the imminent destruction of the white-tail population was noticed and prompted calls for game laws, many of which were not answered until the early 20th century. Dahlberg distributes this information not only to show the massive fluctuation in deer populations, but also to convey the dangers that coincided with placing an economic value on a natural resource and what would lead up to the creation of modern conservation laws.
Obviously the two arguments made between Dahlberg and White discuss much different time periods, but both focus greatly on the symbiotic relationship between human beings and wildlife, specifically the White-tailed deer. In reality, the two arguments are very similar; subsistence hunting was good and market hunting was bad. However, the form in which they convey this argument differs in the way that they establish importance on which form was most significant in conserving the population and forming modern hunting culture. White would argue that the development of game conservation was derived from the practices of early native nations in an attempt to counteract the damage done to the deer population, whereas Dahlberg would argue that the development of conservation laws was not an imitation of native practices (at least not intentionally) but rather were created as a means to rebuild the population for future exploitation, and slowly evolved into bag limits and limited hunting seasons that would mark the end of the deer hunting market.
In many sources regarding the evolution of deer hunting from subsistence to sport, historians tend to agree with Dahlberg’s argument either at face value or with only slight variations. However, some historians agree with White’s argument and a growing majority believe that modern gaming laws are a combination of both viewpoints, saying that the development of laws were initially made as a means of rebuilding the population for future exploitation, but many of the ideas used were imitations of early Native American practices, which is becoming more and more widely accepted. The evolution of these laws into modern conservation laws established the best possible scenario for population management and human consumption short of reverting back to subsistence hunting, allowing the deer population to once again return to a more stable state. This also allowed for the state of Wisconsin to build an economy around the growing sport in an attempt to equate the financial benefits experienced from market hunting and the environmental stability of subsistence hunting.
Hunting license sales are one of the greatest contributors to the profit experience during the gun season, and the number of licenses that have been sold have gradually risen since the purchase of hunting licenses were made required in 1897. Starting in the 1950’s up through 1959, Wisconsin experienced an overall sale of 2,366,328 licenses at an average of 236,633 per year. Throughout the 1970’s, these numbers more than doubled to 5,651,640 at an average of 565,164 licenses per year. Finally, license sales reached 6,756,408 at an average of 675,641 per year throughout the 1990’s. Since the white-tailed deer was hunted to near extirpation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, conservation and preservation laws needed to be established by the Wisconsin State Legislature. Regulations were created to construct intermittent closed seasons up until 1935 to allow some time for population restoration, and small bag limits during the open seasons. This careful conservation management allowed for a re-growth in population, but soon began to result in deer populations reaching a point of near over-abundance due to a lack of antlerless seasons. Therefore, the increase in hunting license sales witnessed over the second half of the 20th century is corresponding to the growth in the deer population in an attempt to reach a Department of Natural Resources commissioned population quota, which is a number that is typically regulated by human tolerance of a specific number in population. Much like the changing number in license sales, the cost of licenses has not remained constant either, and has affected the economy differently throughout the years.
As the number of sales has gone up, so has the price of those licenses. Market hunting for the large-scale distribution of venison and deer hide was reaching its end nearing the beginning of the 20th century, and regulations regarding hunting were just beginning to emerge, beginning with the requirement of hunting license purchase in 1897, starting at $1 for residents and $30 for non-residents, which largely came out of Illinois. These prices remained constant until the 1950’s, when in 1951 the resident price was raised to $2.50 and again in 1957 to $4.00, and through the span of the 1950’s brought in $10,766,797 to the Wisconsin economy. The price was then raised again to $5.25 and then to $7.25 in 1972, and finally to $11.00 in 1979 to bring 1970’s license sales to $39,702,771. Finally, license costs were raised to $15.35 in 1987 and then once more to $18.00 in 1991 to bring in an incredible $119,824,928. Identical to the numbers of sales, this trend of rising income can be attributed to the population regrowth due to active conservation management and an increased amount of hunters. With more deer in the population and more hunters actively searching for them, more conservation laws needed to be created and more people were needed to enforce them. These new demands account for the occasional increases in license sales to help fund the programs that would govern them, and also goes towards the purchase of hunting lands for public hunting and hunter education and safety classes. License sales are not the only contributors to Wisconsin hunting profit, however. Hunters pay significant amounts of money to prepare themselves for the hunting season as well.
The sale of hunting supplies such as firearms, ammunition, apparel, and other hunting accessories are arguably the greatest contributors to the economic boost experienced during the Wisconsin hunting season. In 1991, retail sales alone reached a total of $256,473,000 from hunters preparing themselves for the upcoming season. While this number by itself is very high, it is increased even more by a phenomenon called the Total Multiplier Effect, otherwise known as the “Ripple Effect”. The Total Multiplier Effect refers to the money made when the original retail sale is passed on from the retailers to wholesalers, manufacturers, and others in the economy that in 1991 added yet another $513,307,000 to the original retail sales made. In addition to sales is the Wisconsin State sales tax, which tends to be one of the largely overlooked contributors to state profit resulting from the deer hunting season, which brought in $10,266,000 in 1991. Finally, a spectacular number of jobs are supported by the purchase of firearms and accessories, which include food, travel expenses, magazine subscription and club dues which reached 7,860 in 1991. The hunting equipment and accessories sold in 1991 alone had greatly exceeded the profit of license sales from the entire decade of the 1990’s, making this possibly the greatest contributor. Although many products such as clothing and firearms last many years and hunters don’t need to purchase new ones every hunting season, new hunters are introduced into Wisconsin every year that needs the equipment to safely and fully enjoy the hunting season, which typically consist of young teenagers just coming of age for hunter safety courses. For this reason, retail sales along with the ripple effect of wholesalers and manufacturers, and state tax income, will be a continuously profitable venture. Despite the hefty profit experienced by the Wisconsin economy from the white-tailed deer, the state must also take into consideration the amount of damage these animals cause and the amount of money they cost their government.
The extreme damage done to agricultural products by the white-tailed deer came to reach such an extent that government programs had to be created. Wisconsin has had a Wildlife Damage Program since 1931. The original program called for conservation wardens and wildlife managers to conduct appraisals, compensating farmers about 80% of their assessed damage losses, adding up to approximately $2 million paid to farmers in the 50 year duration of the program. The original Wildlife Damage Program reached its last decade in the 1970’s because the number of eligible claims began to greatly exceed available funds, requiring compensation to be prorated where all available funds were distributed equally between all claim makers. General dissatisfaction with the way the program was being handled led to legislature terminating it in 1980, and three years later, legislature proposed and established the Wildlife Damage Abatement and Claims Program (WDACP) in response to concerns from the agricultural community and upon recommendations by the Wildlife Damage Study Committee and a Hunter-Landowner Council appointed by the Natural Resources Board. This program was organized around county administration to provide local control and to minimize costs, although the Wisconsin DNR was still responsible for managing the program, reviewing county plans of administration, and providing technical assistance.
From 1990 to 1997, the number of claims filed and the appraised damage losses in the program increased, with a particularly dramatic increase from 1995 to 1997, averaging $2.5 million and 1,000 claims per year. In 1998, the legislature revised the program to strengthen hunting access requirements by landowners and to increase maximum allowable damage payments, causing a dramatic drop of program enrollment by nearly 50%. The deer herd continued to increase during this period, displaying that the drop in enrollment did not suggest decreased damage to crops, but rather was an expression of farmers’ discontent with the new hunting access requirements. Wisconsin had experienced a mix of population growth due to extensive conservation laws and poor agricultural damage abatement programs throughout the 20th century, which in turn causes the significant increase in damage done to Wisconsin crops (most specifically corn) that is shown specifically attributed to overpopulation where the deer’s natural food source had become too scarce. The drastic drop in claims shows how poorly the abatement programs and strengthened hunting access requirements were received by Wisconsin farmers despite the growing amount of damage being done to their crops and an increased maximum amount of damage payment. This damage to crops by the white-tailed deer then not only continues to cause an enormous economic strain on Wisconsin farmers, but also on the Wisconsin state government for the payment of damage claims.
Agricultural damage claims are paid directly out of the Wisconsin state government through damage abatement programs, naturally having an adverse effect on the Wisconsin economy. Deer damage represents approximately 90% of appraised agricultural losses statewide, leaving the other 10% caused by bears, geese, and turkeys. In 1981, estimated total deer damage after appraisals were $15 million, increasing to $36.7 million in 1984 and slightly decreasing to $28 million in 1997. These however are estimated totals of actual loss, compared to appraised losses which typically are much lower. Not all damage to crops are reported to the state abatement programs, therefore leaving a significant amount of damage not reimbursed. In 1998, a total of only 470 damage claims were paid after a total of appraised losses at $1,579,506, although only $1,220,166 were actually eligible for payment. This is significantly less than the year before, as there were about 600 less claims made and total appraised losses decreased by $1,559,132, which is due to the overall disapproval with WDACP regulations. Other factors affect abatement costs for the state as well other than damage reparations, including permanent barrier fences, temporary fences, and deer repellants for crops, all of which cost the Wisconsin state government an additional $456,955. Much of these claim payments come from a portion of hunting license sales as well as money coming from the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937, which placed an 11% excise tax on firearms and ammunition in the United States that would be distributed between the states by the Secretary of the Interior. By the 1970’s, amendments were made to also put a 10% tax on handguns and 11% on archery equipment for further funding. Unfortunately, this means less money in the Wisconsin state budget as well as less money out of the pockets of Wisconsinites in the form of excise taxes and increased license costs. This rapid overpopulation in white-tailed deer is not only devastating to the farmer’s fields however, but also to every Wisconsin citizen that travels across the state.
Vehicle-deer collisions is an incident that is feared by every citizen that operates a motor vehicle and is one that plagues Wisconsinites every year. The Wisconsin DNR and the Department of Transportation work incredibly hard to produce accurate data, however accurate counts of total vehicle-deer collisions are not possible because not all deer carcasses are located and removed from the roads. Some deer continue to travel after being struck and later die away from the roads, while others cause very little property damage and accident reports are not filed to the D.O.T., so records of the Wisconsin DNR regarding carcass disposal only provides estimates of the minimum number of deer hit by vehicles. From 1985 to 1995, reports showed an average of almost 36,000 collisions per year, although studies indicate the actual figures may be more than double that. Deer crashes are typically measured by collision per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), and to show the rapidly growing rate of population and collisions, in 1978 there were 24 crashes per 100 million VMT, resulting in deer crashes as 5.1% of all crashes. By 1994, this number peaked at 49 crashes per 100 million VMT, resulting in deer crashes as 16.6% of all crashes, and deer crashes resulting in the highest injury/death count in 1995 at 831. These numbers are highly dependent on both deer density and overall volume of traffic, so counties surrounding the Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay metropolitan areas have some of the highest frequencies of collisions due to the high levels of commuter traffic. The overall costs then of property damage and personal injury are estimated at approximately $92 million per year. Even though drivers are on the lookout for deer crossing the roads, it is nearly unavoidable when the situation arises. The vehicle-deer collisions continued to increase and peaked in 1994-1995 parallel to the excessively large deer population before the management reforms in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, which emphasized that the only true way to efficiently reduce collisions is to reduce deer numbers. In addition to vehicular damage and casualties by cause of the white-tailed deer, hunters experience dangerous conditions during the hunting season as well that can occasionally result in injury.
Every year, hunters have accidents caused by firearms, archery equipment, and by careless movement through the forest both self-inflicted and by other parties. Accidents began to peak in the mid-20th century at a total of 282 accidents, 61 of which being fatal. Throughout the 1960’s, accident numbers reached 492, 74 of which being fatal. Due to the increase in accidents, the option of hunter education classes were introduced in 1967, and in the 1970’s, accident numbers had slightly decreased to 371, with 60 being fatal. In an attempt to further diminish these numbers, blaze orange apparel became a required part of the gun deer hunting season starting in 1980, and hunter education classes became mandatory in 1985. Following the requirement of safety classes from 1985-1989, a total of 421 hunting accidents were reported, with 28 being fatal, and throughout the 1990’s, a total of 671 hunting accidents were reported with 38 of which being fatal. Even though blaze orange and hunter education courses had been made mandatory, hunting accidents appeared to have increased. Like many of the other economic problems associated with the white-tailed deer, incidents have increased due to growing deer populations and an increased amount of hunters, however experts believe these numbers would have been much higher, especially in fatalities, if not for these requirements. The hospital bills and funeral arrangements that result from these accidents tend to get very expensive, and is especially taxing on individual citizens as it mostly comes directly out of their own pockets.
The hunting season is an exciting and prosperous time for Wisconsin and its people. It brings hunting families together and injects a great deal of money into the Wisconsin economy through license sales, hunting accessories, and private businesses. However, history has proven white-tailed deer and the hunting season to also have a detrimental impact on the economy through agricultural damage, vehicular damage, and personal injury. Vehicular and hunting incidents are not incredibly frequent however, and do not add up financially in comparison to license and accessory sales and agricultural damage claims are compensated by profits made by those sales. This shows that the profits exceed the losses regarding deer throughout the year in Wisconsin, and most specifically during the hunting season. Although the white-tailed deer affect the Wisconsin economy in both a positive and negative way, they tend to be significantly more positive in effect to the economy. In addition to contributing to necessary population control, the hunting season is continually a profitable venture for Wisconsin and allows the white-tailed deer to continue to be an enjoyable member of the Wisconsin community and a valuable asset to the state.

Bibliography
Dahlberg, Burton L., and Ralph C. Guettinger. The White-Tailed Deer in Wisconsin. Madison: Wisconsin Conservation Department, 1956.
Deer Management for 2000 and Beyond Wisconsin Agricultural Damage Study Group, Final Report of the Agricultural Damage Study Group. Madison: Wisconsin Conservation Congress, 2000.
Department of Natural Resources, Big Game 1977-1978: Deer and Bear Harvest Summary. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 1978
Department of Natural Resources, License Chronological History. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 1993
Department of Natural Resources, Motor Vehicle-Deer Crash Facts 1998. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 1998
Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Hunting Incident Report. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 2003
Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Game and Fur Harvests: A Summary 1930-1975. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 1976
White, Richard. The Roots of Dependency : Subsistence, Environment, and Social Change Among the Choctaws, Pawnees, and Navajos. Lincoln, Neb: University of Nebraska Press, 1988
Winkler, Richelle and Warnke, Keith., The Future of Hunting: An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis of Deer Hunter Decline. Population & Environment, 2013, Vol. 34, no. 4: 460-480
Zouwen, William Vander and Warnkne, Keith, Deer Population Goals and Harvest Management Environmental Assessment. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 1995

The Economic Impacts of White-Tailed Deer on Wisconsin: Rough Draft

The Economic Impacts of White-Tailed Deer on Wisconsin
Wisconsin has historically been well known for its richness in beauty and natural resources. The land is full of bountiful forests made up of large growing burr oaks and white pines that have long been the subject of human desire and profit, as well as a great number of lakes and flowing streams. Among some of the most abundant and diverse resources that inhabit Wisconsin is the fauna, some of the more plentiful being coyotes, red foxes, and pine martens. However, one that has been especially influential to the people and the culture of Wisconsin is the white-tailed deer. Due to their large numbers in the state, the white-tail has served many purposes in the development of Wisconsin civilization. Deer have been an important food source since before the arrival of European settlers for both Native Americans and Europeans alike. Just as well, deer hides were tanned and used as a primary clothing source by native people. As European settlements grew, the white-tailed deer gradually became the most hunted animal in Wisconsin and even became a point of tourism for out-of-state hunters. Nearing the end of the 19th century and leading into the 20th, the hunting of this animal began to take on a significant economic impact on Wisconsin. Over the next century, these economic impacts of white-tailed deer hunting have shown to have both a positive and negative impact on Wisconsin’s economic history.
The hunting season has historically provided a multi-million dollar intake by the Wisconsin economy every year, and in recent years this number has reached into the multi-billions. These economic gains can be attributed to a multitude of reasons, including the sales of hunting licenses that occur every year, sales of firearms, hunting apparel, and hunting accessories, and jobs supported by the season. However, the white-tailed deer has also caused a great deal of damage which has also resulted in millions of dollars of damage in Wisconsin as well. A hefty portion of this damage is dealt on Wisconsin’s crops and farms, and is only increased by vehicular and personal property damage and personal injury resulting from the hunting season.
[Historical Context]
[Historiography]
Hunting license sales are one of the greatest contributors to the profit experience during the gun season, and the number of licenses that have been sold have gradually risen since the purchase of hunting licenses were made required in 1897. Starting in the 1950’s up through 1959, Wisconsin experienced an overall sale of 2,366,328 licenses at an average of 236,633 per year. Throughout the 1970’s, these numbers more than doubled to 5,651,640 at an average of 565,164 licenses per year. Finally, license sales reached 6,756,408 at an average of 675,641 per year throughout the 1990’s. Since the white-tailed deer was hunted to near extirpation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, conservation and preservation laws needed to be established by the Wisconsin State Legislature. Regulations were created to construct intermittent closed seasons up until 1935 to allow some time for population restoration, and small bag limits during the open seasons. This careful conservation management allowed for a re-growth in population, but soon began to result in deer populations reaching a point of near over-abundance due to a lack of antlerless seasons. Therefore, the increase in hunting license sales witnessed over the second half of the 20th century is corresponding to the growth in the deer population in an attempt to reach a Department of Natural Resources commissioned population quota, which is a number that is typically regulated by human tolerance of a specific number in population. Much like the changing number in license sales, the cost of licenses has not remained constant either, and has affected the economy differently throughout the years.
As the number of sales has gone up, so has the price of those licenses. Market hunting for the large-scale distribution of venison and deer hide was reaching its end nearing the beginning of the 20th century, and regulations regarding hunting were just beginning to emerge, beginning with the requirement of hunting license purchase in 1897, starting at $1 for residents and $30 for non-residents, which largely came out of Illinois. These prices remained constant until the 1950’s, when in 1951 the resident price was raised to $2.50 and again in 1957 to $4.00, and through the span of the 1950’s brought in $10,766,797 to the Wisconsin economy. The price was then raised again to $5.25 and then to $7.25 in 1972, and finally to $11.00 in 1979 to bring 1970’s license sales to $39,702,771. Finally, license costs were raised to $15.35 in 1987 and then once more to $18.00 in 1991 to bring in an incredible $119,824,928. Identical to the numbers of sales, this trend of rising income can be attributed to the population regrowth due to active conservation management and an increased amount of hunters. With more deer in the population and more hunters actively searching for them, more conservation laws needed to be created and more people were needed to enforce them. These new demands account for the occasional increases in license sales to help fund the programs that would govern them, and also goes towards the purchase of hunting lands for public hunting and hunter education and safety classes. License sales are not the only contributors to Wisconsin hunting profit, however. Hunters pay significant amounts of money to prepare themselves for the hunting season as well.
The sale of hunting supplies such as firearms, ammunition, apparel, and other hunting accessories are arguably the greatest contributors to the economic boost experienced during the Wisconsin hunting season. In 1991, retail sales alone reached a total of $256,473,000 from hunters preparing themselves for the upcoming season. While this number by itself is very high, it is increased even more by a phenomenon called the Total Multiplier Effect, otherwise known as the “Ripple Effect”. The Total Multiplier Effect refers to the money made when the original retail sale is passed on from the retailers to wholesalers, manufacturers, and others in the economy that in 1991 added yet another $513,307,000 to the original retail sales made. In addition to sales is the Wisconsin State sales tax, which tends to be one of the largely overlooked contributors to state profit resulting from the deer hunting season, which brought in $10,266,000 in 1991. Finally, a spectacular number of jobs are supported by the purchase of firearms and accessories, which include food, travel expenses, magazine subscription and club dues which reached 7,860 in 1991. The hunting equipment and accessories sold in 1991 alone had greatly exceeded the profit of license sales from the entire decade of the 1990’s, making this possibly the greatest contributor. Although many products such as clothing and firearms last many years and hunters don’t need to purchase new ones every hunting season, new hunters are introduced into Wisconsin every year that needs the equipment to safely and fully enjoy the hunting season, which typically consist of young teenagers just coming of age for hunter safety courses. For this reason, retail sales along with the ripple effect of wholesalers and manufacturers, and state tax income, will be a continuously profitable venture. Despite the hefty profit experienced by the Wisconsin economy from the white-tailed deer, the state must also take into consideration the amount of damage these animals cause and the amount of money they cost their government.
The extreme damage done to agricultural products by the white-tailed deer came to reach such an extent that government programs had to be created. Wisconsin has had a Wildlife Damage Program since 1931. The original program called for conservation wardens and wildlife managers to conduct appraisals, compensating farmers about 80% of their assessed damage losses, adding up to approximately $2 million paid to farmers in the 50 year duration of the program. The original Wildlife Damage Program reached its last decade in the 1970’s because the number of eligible claims began to greatly exceed available funds, requiring compensation to be prorated where all available funds were distributed equally between all claim makers. General dissatisfaction with the way the program was being handled led to legislature terminating it in 1980, and three years later, legislature proposed and established the Wildlife Damage Abatement and Claims Program (WDACP) in response to concerns from the agricultural community and upon recommendations by the Wildlife Damage Study Committee and a Hunter-Landowner Council appointed by the Natural Resources Board. This program was organized around county administration to provide local control and to minimize costs, although the Wisconsin DNR was still responsible for managing the program, reviewing county plans of administration, and providing technical assistance.
From 1990 to 1997, the number of claims filed and the appraised damage losses in the program increased, with a particularly dramatic increase from 1995 to 1997, averaging $2.5 million and 1,000 claims per year. In 1998, the legislature revised the program to strengthen hunting access requirements by landowners and to increase maximum allowable damage payments, causing a dramatic drop of program enrollment by nearly 50%. The deer herd continued to increase during this period, displaying that the drop in enrollment did not suggest decreased damage to crops, but rather was an expression of farmers’ discontent with the new hunting access requirements. Wisconsin had experienced a mix of population growth due to extensive conservation laws and poor agricultural damage abatement programs throughout the 20th century, which in turn causes the significant increase in damage done to Wisconsin crops (most specifically corn) that is shown specifically attributed to overpopulation where the deer’s natural food source had become too scarce. The drastic drop in claims shows how poorly the abatement programs and strengthened hunting access requirements were received by Wisconsin farmers despite the growing amount of damage being done to their crops and an increased maximum amount of damage payment. This damage to crops by the white-tailed deer then not only continues to cause an enormous economic strain on Wisconsin farmers, but also on the Wisconsin state government for the payment of damage claims.
Agricultural damage claims are paid directly out of the Wisconsin state government through damage abatement programs, naturally having an adverse effect on the Wisconsin economy. Deer damage represents approximately 90% of appraised agricultural losses statewide, leaving the other 10% caused by bears, geese, and turkeys. In 1981, estimated total deer damage after appraisals were $15 million, increasing to $36.7 million in 1984 and slightly decreasing to $28 million in 1997. These however are estimated totals of actual loss, compared to appraised losses which typically are much lower. Not all damage to crops are reported to the state abatement programs, therefore leaving a significant amount of damage not reimbursed. In 1998, a total of only 470 damage claims were paid after a total of appraised losses at $1,579,506, although only $1,220,166 were actually eligible for payment. This is significantly less than the year before, as there were about 600 less claims made and total appraised losses decreased by $1,559,132, which is due to the overall disapproval with WDACP regulations. Other factors affect abatement costs for the state as well other than damage reparations, including permanent barrier fences, temporary fences, and deer repellants for crops, all of which cost the Wisconsin state government an additional $456,955. Much of these claim payments come from a portion of hunting license sales as well as money coming from the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937, which placed an 11% excise tax on firearms and ammunition in the United States that would be distributed between the states by the Secretary of the Interior. By the 1970’s, amendments were made to also put a 10% tax on handguns and 11% on archery equipment for further funding. Unfortunately, this means less money in the Wisconsin state budget as well as less money out of the pockets of Wisconsinites in the form of excise taxes and increased license costs. This rapid overpopulation in white-tailed deer is not only devastating to the farmer’s fields however, but also to every Wisconsin citizen that travels across the state.
Vehicle-deer collisions is an incident that is feared by every citizen that operates a motor vehicle and is one that plagues Wisconsinites every year. The Wisconsin DNR and the Department of Transportation work incredibly hard to produce accurate data, however accurate counts of total vehicle-deer collisions are not possible because not all deer carcasses are located and removed from the roads. Some deer continue to travel after being struck and later die away from the roads, while others cause very little property damage and accident reports are not filed to the D.O.T., so records of the Wisconsin DNR regarding carcass disposal only provides estimates of the minimum number of deer hit by vehicles. From 1985 to 1995, reports showed an average of almost 36,000 collisions per year, although studies indicate the actual figures may be more than double that. Deer crashes are typically measured by collision per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), and to show the rapidly growing rate of population and collisions, in 1978 there were 24 crashes per 100 million VMT, resulting in deer crashes as 5.1% of all crashes. By 1994, this number peaked at 49 crashes per 100 million VMT, resulting in deer crashes as 16.6% of all crashes, and deer crashes resulting in the highest injury/death count in 1995 at 831. These numbers are highly dependent on both deer density and overall volume of traffic, so counties surrounding the Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay metropolitan areas have some of the highest frequencies of collisions due to the high levels of commuter traffic. The overall costs then of property damage and personal injury are estimated at approximately $92 million per year. Even though drivers are on the lookout for deer crossing the roads, it is nearly unavoidable when the situation arises. The vehicle-deer collisions continued to increase and peaked in 1994-1995 parallel to the excessively large deer population before the management reforms in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, which emphasized that the only true way to efficiently reduce collisions is to reduce deer numbers. In addition to vehicular damage and casualties by cause of the white-tailed deer, hunters experience dangerous conditions during the hunting season as well that can occasionally result in injury.
Every year, hunters have accidents caused by firearms, archery equipment, and by careless movement through the forest both self-inflicted and by other parties. Accidents began to peak in the mid-20th century at a total of 282 accidents, 61 of which being fatal. Throughout the 1960’s, accident numbers reached 492, 74 of which being fatal. Due to the increase in accidents, the option of hunter education classes were introduced in 1967, and in the 1970’s, accident numbers had slightly decreased to 371, with 60 being fatal. In an attempt to further diminish these numbers, blaze orange apparel became a required part of the gun deer hunting season starting in 1980, and hunter education classes became mandatory in 1985. Following the requirement of safety classes from 1985-1989, a total of 421 hunting accidents were reported, with 28 being fatal, and throughout the 1990’s, a total of 671 hunting accidents were reported with 38 of which being fatal. Even though blaze orange and hunter education courses had been made mandatory, hunting accidents appeared to have increased. Like many of the other economic problems associated with the white-tailed deer, incidents have increased due to growing deer populations and an increased amount of hunters, however experts believe these numbers would have been much higher, especially in fatalities, if not for these requirements. The hospital bills and funeral arrangements that result from these accidents tend to get very expensive, and is especially taxing on individual citizens as it mostly comes directly out of their own pockets.
The hunting season is an exciting and prosperous time for Wisconsin and its people. It brings hunting families together and injects a great deal of money into the Wisconsin economy through license sales, hunting accessories, and private businesses. However, history has proven white-tailed deer and the hunting season to also have a detrimental impact on the economy through agricultural damage, vehicular damage, and personal injury. Vehicular and hunting incidents are not incredibly frequent however, and do not add up financially in comparison to license and accessory sales and agricultural damage claims are compensated by profits made by those sales. This shows that the profits exceed the losses regarding deer throughout the year in Wisconsin, and most specifically during the hunting season. Although the white-tailed deer affect the Wisconsin economy in both a positive and negative way, they tend to be significantly more positive in effect to the economy. In addition to contributing to necessary population control, the hunting season is continually a profitable venture for Wisconsin and allows the white-tailed deer to continue to be an enjoyable member of the Wisconsin community and a valuable asset to the state.

Project Map for the Economic Effects of the White-tailed Deer

Historian’s Blog #6: Project Map
Thesis Question: Has white-tailed deer hunting had a historically positive or negative impact on Wisconsin’s economic stability?
1. Introduction
a. Wisconsin well known for its richness in natural resources
i. Flora=White pine, burr oak
ii. Fauna=Coyotes, red foxes, pine martens
iii. Lakes and rivers
b. One that has been especially influential to Wisconsin culture is the white-tailed deer.
i. Have been important food source and clothing (deer hide) source since before arrival of European settlers for Native Americans.
ii. Gradually became most hunted animal in WI and has even become a point of tourism for out-of-state hunters
1. Began to have a significant economic impact on WI
c. Thesis: White-tailed deer hunting has had both a positive and negative impact on WI’s economic history
2. Introduction Part II
a. The hunting season has historically provided a multi-million dollar intake by WI economy every year
i. In recent years, this number has reached multi-billion
1. Hunting license sales
2. Gun/apparel/accessories sales
3. Meat processing/taxidermy services
b. However, white-tailed deer have historically caused millions of dollars of damage in Wisconsin as well
i. Agricultural damage
ii. Vehicular/personal property damage
iii. Personal injury
3. Historical Context
a. SEE BLOG ASSIGNMENT
4. Historiography
a. SEE BLOG ASSIGNMENT
5. Body
a. Body ₱ 1
i. Mini-Thesis: Hunting license sales are one of the greatest contributors to the profit experienced during gun season
1. Number of licenses sold gradually risen since license purchase made required in 1897
ii. Evidence
1. Starting in 1950’s (1950-1959)
a. 2,366,329 overall license sales
i. Avg. – 236,633/yr.
2. To 1970’s (1970-1979)
a. 5,651,640 overall license sales
i. Avg. – 565,164/yr.
3. To 1990’s (1990-1999)
a. 6,756,408 overall license sales
i. Avg.-675,641/yr.
iii. Insight
1. Since white-tailed deer was hunted to near extirpation in late 19th -early 20th centuries, conservation and preservation laws were established by state legislature.
a. Intermittent closed seasons until 1935 to allow for population restoration
b. Small bag limits during open seasons
2. Conservation management allowed for a re-growth in population
a. Lack of antlerless seasons throughout century resulting in deer populations reaching a point of near over-abundance
3. Increase in hunting license sales corresponding to growth in deer population in attempt to reach a DNR commissioned population quota
a. A number typically regulated by human tolerance of a specific number in pop.
iv. Transition
1. Cost of licenses has not remained constant however
a. Has affected economy differently throughout the years
b. Body ₱ 2
i. Mini-Thesis: As the number of sales have gone up, so has the price of those licenses.
ii. Evidence
1. In 1897 when licenses became required of all hunters
a. $1 for residents
b. $30 for non-res.
2. In 1950’s, license sales alone brought in $10,766,797
a. 1951 cost of license @ $2.50
b. 1957 cost @ $4.00
3. In 1970’s license sales bring in $39,702,771
a. License cost $5.25 thru 1972
b. License cost @ $7.25
c. License cost @ $11.00
4. In 1990’s license sales bring in $119,824,928
a. License cost @ $15.35
b. License cost @ $18.00
iii. Insight
1. Also following population regrowth due to conservation management, more hunters can be attributed to the growth in income due to license sales
2. With more deer in the population and more hunters after them, more conservation laws needed and more people to enforce them
a. Accounts for the occasional increases in license sales to help fund those programs
i. Also goes to purchase of hunting lands for public hunting and hunter education and safety classes
iv. Transition
1. License sales are not the only contributors to Wisconsin hunting profit, however. Hunters pay significant amounts of money to prepare themselves for the hunting season as well.
c. Body ₱ 3
i. Mini-Thesis: The sale of hunting supplies such as firearms, ammunition, apparel, and other hunting accessories are arguably the greatest contributors to the economic boost experienced during the Wisconsin hunting season
ii. Evidence
1. 1991
a. Retail sales alone
i. $256,473,000
b. Total Multiplier Effect
i. Also known as “Ripple Effect”
ii. Generated when original retail sale is passed on from retailers to wholesalers, manufacturers, service industries, and others in the economy
1. $513,307,000
c. State Sales Tax
i. One of the largely overlooked contributors to state profit resulting from the deer hunting season
ii. $10,266,000
d. Jobs
i. Supported by purchase of firearms and accessories (including food, travel expenses, magazine subscriptions, and club dues)
ii. 7,860 jobs supported
iii. Insight
1. The hunting equipment and accessories sold in 1991 alone has greatly exceeded the profit of license sales from the entire decade of 1990’s
2. Although many products such as clothing and firearms last many years, new hunters are introduced into Wisconsin every year
a. Mostly young teenagers just coming of age for hunter safety courses
b. Makes retail sales (along with the ripple effect of wholesalers, manufacturers, service industries, and state tax income) a continuously profitable venture.
iv. Transition
1. Businesses that benefit from the deer hunting season extend further than manufacturers, retailers, and the Wisconsin state government however.
d. Body ₱ 4-Still Need Information for Taxidermy/meat processing services
i. Mini-Thesis:
ii. Evidence
iii. Insight
iv. Transition
e. Body ₱ 5
i. Mini-Thesis: The extreme damage done to agricultural products reached such an extent that government programs had to be created.
ii. Evidence
1. Wisconsin has had a Wildlife Damage Program since 1931
a. Conservation wardens and wildlife managers conducted appraisals
i. Compensated farmers 80% of assessed damage losses
ii. ~$2 million paid in 50 year duration of the program
b. 1970’s last decade of original program
i. Eligible claims greatly exceeded available funds
ii. Required compensation to be prorated where all available funds were distributed equally between all claim makers.
c. General dissatisfaction with program led to legislature terminating program in 1980
2. Wildlife Damage Abatement and Claims Program (WDACP) established by legislature in 1983
a. Response to concerns from agricultural community and upon recommendations by Wildlife Damage Study Committee and a Hunter-Landowner Council appointed by the Natural Resources Board
b. Organized around county administration to provide local control and minimize costs.
i. WDNR responsible for managing the program, reviewing county plans of administration, and providing technical assistance.
c. From 1990-1997
i. Number of claims filed and appraised damage losses in program increased
1. Particularly dramatic increase from 1995-1997
a. Averaged $2.5 million per year
b. Nearly 1,000 claims per year
d. 1998
i. Legislature revised program to strengthen hunting access requirement and increase maximum allowable damage payments
ii. Program enrollment dropped dramatically by ~50%
iii. Deer herd continued to increase during this period
1. Drop in enrollment does not suggest decreased damage, but rather an expression of farmers’ discontent with new hunting access requirements
iii. Insight
1. Wisconsin has experienced a mix of population growth due to extensive conservation laws and poor agricultural damage abatement programs in the 20th Century
a. Caused a significant increase in damage done to Wisconsin crops (most specifically corn)
i. Specifically attributed to overpopulation, where their natural food source had become too scarce
2. Shows how poor programs were received by Wisconsin farmers due to the significant drop in claims despite the rapidly growing amount of damage done to their crops
a. Farmers angered by increased requirements to allow hunter access to their lands, despite an increased maximum amount of damage payment to them
iv. Transition
1. This damage done to crops by the white-tailed deer has caused an enormous economic strain not only on Wisconsin farmers, but also on the Wisconsin state government for the payment of damage claims
f. Body ₱ 6
i. Mini-Thesis: Agricultural damage claims are paid directly out of the Wisconsin state government through damage abatement programs, having an adverse effect on the Wisconsin economy.
ii. Evidence
1. Deer damage represents approximately 90% of appraised losses statewide
a. Other 10%
i. Bear=5%
ii. Goose=3%
iii. Turkey=2%
2. Total deer damage in Wisconsin to crops (estimated)
a. Estimated total damage done after appraisals
i. 1981-$15 million
ii. 1984-$36.7 million
iii. 1997-$28 million
3. 1998
a. 470 available damage claims paid
b. $1,579,506 in appraised losses
i. Only $1,220,166 eligible for payment
c. Total claims dropped by 56% (600 claims) from 1997
d. Total appraised losses decreased 50% ($1,559,132) from 1997
i. This due to overall disapproval with WDACP regulations
e. State abatement costs other than damage reparations in 1998 total $456,955
i. Permanent barrier fences
1. $326,797
ii. Temporary fences
1. $46,784
iii. Repellants
1. $9,168
iii. Insight
1. Much of these claim payments come from a portion of hunting license sales and money coming from the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937
a. 11% excise tax on firearms and ammunition in the United States
i. Distributed between the states by Secretary of the Interior
b. By 1970’s, amendments made for 10% tax on handguns and 11% on archery equipment
2. This is less money in the Wisconsin state budget as well as less money out of the pockets of Wisconsinites in the form of excise taxes and increased license costs
iv. Transition
1. Rapid overpopulation in white-tail deer is not only devastating to the farmer’s fields, but also to every Wisconsin citizen that travels across the state.
g. Body ₱ 7
i. Mini-Thesis: Vehicle-deer collisions is an incident that is feared by every citizen that operates a motor vehicle and is one that plagues Wisconsinites every year.
ii. Evidence
1. WDNR and D.O.T. work incredibly hard to produce accurate data, however…
a. Accurate counts of total vehicle-deer collisions not possible because not all deer carcasses are located and removed from the roads
i. Some deer continue to travel after being struck and later die away from the roads
ii. Others cause very little property damage and accident reports are not filed to the D.O.T.
iii. Records of the WDNR regarding carcass disposal only provides estimates of minimum number of deer hit by vehicles.
2. From 1985-1995, reports of an average of almost 36,000 collisions per year
a. Studies indicate actual figures may be more than double that
3. 1978
a. Deer crashes measured by collision per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
b. 24/ 100 million VMT
c. Deer crashes as 5.1% of all crashes
4. Peaked in 1994
a. 49/100 million VMT
b. 16.6% of all crashes
5. 1995
a. Highest injury/death count at 831
6. Collisions are dependent on both deer density and overall volume of traffic
a. Counties surrounding Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay metropolitan areas have some of the highest frequency of collisions
i. High levels of commuter traffic
7. Costs of property damage and personal injury estimated at ~$92 million per year
iii. Insight
1. Even though drivers are on the lookout for deer crossing the roads, it is nearly unavoidable when the situation arises
2. Vehicle-deer collisions kept increasing and peaked in 1994-95 parallel to the excessively large deer population before management reforms in the late 1990’s-early 2000’s.
3. The only way to efficiently reduce collisions is to reduce deer numbers
iv. Transition
1. In addition to vehicular casualties by cause of the white-tail deer, hunters experience dangerous conditions during the hunting season that can occasionally result in injury.
h. Body ₱ 8
i. Mini-Thesis: Every year, hunters have accidents by firearms, archery equipment, and by careless movement through the forest both self-inflicted and by other parties.
ii. Evidence
1. Accidents peaked in the mid-20th Century
a. 1953-1959
i. Total-282
1. Fatal-61
2. Non-Fatal-221
b. 1960-1969
i. Total-492
1. Fatal-74
2. Non-Fatal-418
2. Hunter Education introduced in 1967
a. 1970-1978
i. Total-371
1. Fatal-60
2. Non-Fatal-311
3. Blaze orange apparel required for gun deer season starting in 1980
4. Hunter Education becomes mandatory in 1985
a. 1985-1989
i. Total-421
1. Fatal-28
2. Non-Fatal-393
b. 1990-1999
i. Total-671
1. Fatal-38
2. Non-Fatal-633
iii. Insight
1. Even though blaze orange and hunter education courses had been made mandatory, it appears as though hunting incidents have increased.
a. Like many other economic problems associated with the white-tailed deer, incidents have increased due to growing populations and an increased amount of hunters
b. Though its only speculation, experts believe these numbers would have been much higher if not for these requirements.
2. Hospital bills and funeral arrangements can get quite expensive
a. Especially taxing on individual citizens as it mostly comes out of their own pockets
6. Conclusion
a. The hunting season is an exciting and prosperous time for Wisconsin and its people.
b. Brings hunting families together and injects a great deal of money into the Wisconsin economy
i. License sales
ii. Hunting accessories
iii. Private businesses
c. However, history has proven white-tail deer and the hunting season to also have a detrimental impact on the economy.
i. Agricultural damage
ii. Vehicular damage
iii. Personal injury
d. Vehicular and hunting incidents are not incredibly frequent and do not add up financially in comparison to license and accessory sales and agricultural damage claims are compensated by profits made by those sales
i. Shows profits exceed losses regarding deer throughout the year in Wisconsin, and most specifically during the hunting season
e. Although white-tailed deer affect the Wisconsin economy in both a positive and negative way, they are significantly more positive in effect to the economy
i. In addition to necessary population control, makes the hunting season a profitable venture for Wisconsin
ii. Allows the white-tailed deer to continue to be an enjoyable member of the Wisconsin community and a valuable asset to the state.

Historiography of Deer Hunting

Historiography of White-Tailed Deer Hunting
The hunting of White-tailed deer has been an integral part of Wisconsin life and culture since before settlers had even arrived in the territory. Before the evolution of what is now the modern sport hunting season existed both market and subsistence hunting. Market hunting is representative mainly of colonial America from the 17th to the early 20th Century, whereas subsistence hunting had existed as long as there have been humans in an area inhabited by deer. The historiography of the hunting of deer is widespread, discussing the phenomena of subsistence, market, and sports hunting in regards to deer population and the impact on human lifestyle and culture. Market hunting research emphasizes the rapid depletion of the deer population and the economic impacts of the meat and fur as a commodity, while subsistence research focuses on a much more stable population and the use of the resource to sustain human life.
The practice of subsistence hunting was one exclusive to native nations and a select few early settlers in colonial America. In the instance of the Choctaw nation in Southeastern United States, White-tailed deer consisted of about 1/3 of their diet and their fur and skin was used for clothing. Evidence of early forms of conservation practices are observed with the Choctaws, as deer hunting was typically a fall and winter activity. This is true for many reasons; the colder weather slowed the spoiling of the meat in killed deer, allowing it to be preserved for the winter (as venison was not part of the primary food cycle of the Choctaw but rather the secondary). The deer were also typically much fatter and winter coat almost fully developed in these seasons to prepare for the colder weather, and this was also the mating season for deer, meaning that bucks in rut will become much more reckless and willing to travel into open area, making them easier to hunt. These practices, based simply on environment and attention to their nation’s demand for those resources, proved not only to not be detrimental to the deer population, but rather even beneficial by curbing overpopulation which could lead to agricultural damage and widespread starvation by the deer. Richard White argues this type of hunting to be the most beneficial to both deer and human populations, but also recognizes that it is no longer possible in a capitalist society.
Market hunting appeared in the North American territories along with the white settlers in the 17th century as a growing demand for furs and meat forced an economic value upon the White-tailed deer. These market hunters employed every method possible for taking deer and shipped the dead game to populated areas such as Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Cincinnati for sale. Even the native people that were known to actively conserve the population and take only what was needed were quickly nurtured into the market lifestyle, being traders by nature and fueled by an insatiable desire for liquor, which was traded to them by white settlers for furs and meat. By the 1850’s, the imminent destruction of the white-tail population was noticed and prompted calls for game laws, many of which were not answered until the early 20th century. Dahlberg distributes this information not only to show the massive fluctuation in deer populations, but also to convey the dangers that coincided with placing an economic value on a natural resource and what would lead up to the creation of modern conservation laws.
Obviously the two arguments made between Dahlberg and White discuss much different time periods, but both focus greatly on the symbiotic relationship between human beings and wildlife, specifically the White-tailed deer. In reality, the two arguments are very similar; subsistence hunting was good and market hunting was bad. However, the form in which they convey this argument differs in the way that they establish importance on which form was most significant in conserving the population and forming modern hunting culture. White would argue that the development of game conservation was derived from the practices of early native nations in an attempt to counteract the damage done to the deer population, whereas Dahlberg would argue that the development of conservation laws was not an imitation of native practices (at least not intentionally) but rather were created as a means to rebuild the population for future exploitation, and slowly evolved into bag limits and limited hunting seasons that would mark the end of the deer hunting market.
In many sources regarding the evolution of deer hunting from subsistence to sport, historians tend to agree with Dahlberg’s argument either at face value or with only slight variations. However, some historians agree with White’s argument and a growing majority believe that modern gaming laws are a combination of both viewpoints, saying that the development of laws were initially made as a means of rebuilding the population for future exploitation, but many of the ideas used were imitations of early Native American practices, which is becoming more and more widely accepted. The evolution of these laws into modern conservation laws established the best possible scenario for population management and human consumption short of reverting back to subsistence hunting, allowing the deer population to once again return to a more stable state.

The Pincherry Journals: Tales and Tallies of a Wisconsin Hunting Family

The primary source I’ve decided to analyze is entitled “The Pincherry Journals: Tales and Tallies of a Wisconsin Hunting Family”, which is a collection of journal entries and photographs compiled by author Tom Stecker. The journal entries were written by a group of friends and family started by Edmund F. “Pappy” Stecker (of which author Tom Stecker is one of the many grandchildren), his two eldest sons, and some other friends and relatives. This group, which called themselves the “Pincherry Group”, wrote these journals to catalogue their experiences during the hunting season which would eventually be located on a property on Pincherry Lake in the town of Cloverland, Vilas County, Wisconsin, for which the group was so aptly named. It seems that these entries were not written for the purpose of any other audience but themselves, and that it was not written for the purpose of being informative, but rather to preserve the tradition of “Pappy’s Guys”, as it was originally called. Pappy and the rest of the group that inscribed their experiences for their own enjoyment and for the enjoyment of future group members, indicating that the deer hunting season was an incredibly special and enjoyable time of year that was enough to dictate a certain portion of their attitudes and behavior.
Each journal entry held a specific purpose, including attendance, menus for the outing, treasury and money notes, meeting notes, and even alcohol preferences of the members, making this source mainly qualitative. The notes from previous outings were used as reference for future hunting seasons in order to build more enjoyable and efficient outings. The form of these journals is a combination of prose and “minutes” of their meetings, meaning that these documents allow the authors to not restrain on the truth (or with falsehoods for that matter) for their casual writings, and allows the reader to perceive the experience as the authors did, while also containing important information about group motions and activities. This being said, this source will contain a considerable amount of bias since not all hunting families will have experienced deer hunting season the same way not only because of location but also because of differences in attitudes. This is an expected factor in studying the social aspect of an object or phenomenon however because perception and personal experience varies vastly throughout the population.
The members of the Group, as authors and audience, relate to the white-tailed deer by the simple fact that the animal is the sole reason the Pincherry Group exists. An extensive amount of money and time is apparently invested into bringing the group members together to participate in the hunt that would not otherwise be invested into anything else (or anything else of such sentimental value). The way the authors write about themselves, other group members, the hunt, and the animal itself is also incredibly nonchalant, indicating that this gathering and deer hunting was as much a part of their lives as any other time of year, and the only rigid speech used is the minutes from meetings, which was used for upkeep of the group, its members, and the property. As far as any inaccuracies in the writings, nothing is apparent besides the natural occurrence of “hunting stories”, much like “fishing stories” in which the size or quantity of the animal in question is altered for the greater by the story teller, which would be the only reason for any of the group members to stray from the truth. Most of these stories told by group members are identified and debunked by the other members however. The author’s and form used in the journals permit reliable information and accurate reporting better than most any other source could in regards to societal impacts of the white-tailed deer on hunters and family life, while not making up the entirety of social impacts the deer on Wisconsin, is an extremely important factor.
As far as primary sources are concerned, I believe “The Pincherry Journals” are reliable as a beginning look into a much broader spectrum of family experiences. The Stecker family and friends are a good example of a group that live a life surrounding the white-tailed deer incredibly passionately, and many other sources I could collect would emulate that passion, but other sources could exist that concern Wisconsinites that treated the deer hunting season as a much more casual endeavor which are equally important to the study of social effects in Wisconsin of the white-tailed deer. Two recognized collections of old-time deer hunting diaries are expressly named in the preface that could in fact offer different perspectives if not any contrasting viewpoints, called The Stump Sitter’s Journals and The Buck’s Camp Log. Other sources that could be used to either complement or contrast the claims and information from these journals are not documents, but rather oral interviews of hunting families of their recent experiences and those of their past as well. The more complete collection of different experiences will create a better understanding of impacts on family life and how a single animal can effect Wisconsin in such great ways.

Bibliography
Stecker, Tom. 2014. The Pincherry Journals : Tales and Tallies of a Wisconsin Hunting Family. Wisconsin: Tom Stecker; Eagle River, Wisconsin.

Annotated Bibliography for Wisconsin White-tailed Deer

Historian’s Blog Week #2
Thesis Question:
-What social effects has the White-tailed deer had on Wisconsin?
Thesis Statement:
-The White-tailed deer has been ingrained in Wisconsin culture since the era of its settlement. For hunting and non-hunting Wisconsinites alike, this animal creates a significant societal impact from the family to the state-wide level.

Annotated Bibliography:
-Monographs
Dahlberg, Burton L., and Ralph C. Guettinger. The White-Tailed Deer in Wisconsin. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Conservation Department Game Management Division, 1956.
– Discusses the original environment before the logging and settlement era, and the development of conservation laws. Also discusses the problems associated with the deer range and deer management. This will be useful in understanding the creation of hunting seasons and laws, as well as what deer management is trying to accomplish.

Heasley, Lynne. A Thousand Pieces of Paradise : Landscape and Property in the Kickapoo Valley / Lynne Heasley. Madison, Wis: University of Wisconsin Press, 2005.
-Discusses the view of deer hunting season and the hunters as from the view of private landowners, specifically in the Kickapoo Valley, including the tensions and disagreements held between the two communities. This source could be useful in determining how the deer hunting season may change the behaviors of those participating in the hunt, and how the season and the behaviors of the hunters may be negatively viewed or negatively impact the assets of the private landowner.

Wisconsin. Bureau of Wildlife Management, and Wisconsin. Bureau of Integrated Science Services. Wisconsin’s Deer Management Program : The Issues Involved in Decision-Making. 2nd ed. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, Bureau of Wildlife Management and Bureau of Integrated Science Services, 1998.
-Discusses the basic considerations that go into determining the management of the deer population, such as destruction to crops, vehicular damage, damage to forestry, effects on other plants and animals, and predictions of fall population. This could be useful in getting a general sense of the negative societal effects deer may have, and how the management programs are used to correct these problems and possibly even create positive outcomes from them.

-Historiographical Sources:
Donald M Waller, and Thomas P Rooney. The Vanishing Present : Wisconsin’s Changing Lands, Waters, and Wildlife / Edited by Donald M. Waller and Thomas P. Rooney. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
-Discusses the evolution of conservation laws due to ecological change that was caused and reflected by white-tailed deer in Wisconsin, and also how human intervention in the environment caused deer to react in such a way. This source could be useful in understanding that deer effect humans in a social aspect due to the effect that humans have on the deer population, indicating a reciprocal relationship.

Willging, Robert C. On the Hunt : The History of Deer Hunting in Wisconsin. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society, 2008.
-Establishes a context of the first hunters, as well as the difference between those that hunted for subsistence and those that hunted for market. Also discusses the growth of hunting as a sport. This will be useful in determining the many different roles deer hunting takes in individual and commercial life.

Swift, Ernest. A History of Wisconsin Deer. Madison, Wis, Wisconsin Conservation Department, 1946.
-Looks at how several game and conservation laws were viewed by hunters when they were first introduced and when they were re-implemented (or discussed to be implemented) only a few years later. Also discusses what experts in 1946 believed to be practical management programs and laws as opposed to program plans in the earlier 20th century. This could be helpful in determining how hunters and conservationists have changed their attitudes and behaviors according to the fluctuating deer population and ecological effects.

-Primary Sources
Stecker, Tom. The Pincherry Journals : Tales and Tallies of a Wisconsin Hunting Family. Wisconsin: Tom Stecker; Eagle River, Wisconsin, 2014.
-Compilation of journal entries by a group of family and friends, known as the Pincherry Group, that met on Pincherry Lake in Cloverland, Wisconsin to hunt and enjoy each other’s company. This will be helpful at getting a firsthand look at how the deer hunting season affected and influenced the daily life of a normal group of people.

-Scholarly Articles
Petchenik, Jordan Bruce. Chronic Wasting Disease in Wisconsin and the 2002 Hunting Season : Deer Hunters’ First Response. Madison, WI: Bureau of Integrated Science Services, Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, 2003.
-Observes the occurrence of CWD in Wisconsin, which first appeared in the region in 2002, and how it affected hunting patterns, behavior/attitudes, awareness, and game management laws. This source could be useful in assessing how hunters react to the appearance of a potential risk, and how these reactions could possibly alter future hunting patterns.

Jordan Bruce Petchenik, Landowner Response to Chronic Wasting Disease and Its Management in Wisconsin’s Southwest Disease Eradication Zone (Madison, WI: Bureau of Integrated Science Services, Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, 2006).
-Offers insight into the views of the average landowner in accordance to CWD, and how it will affect the management of their land and willingness to allow hunters to hunt on their land. Also includes threats to the future of deer hunting as well as changing game laws that may positively affect future hunting (if hunters are willing to abide)

What Is History?

Most students that decide to pursue an education in history do so because they excelled at it in previous years, find great interest in the subject matter, and simply believe they possess a respectable knowledge of what history is all about. It is for these reasons that these same students are appalled that when they are asked “What is history?”, that they can only offer a limited “dictionary” response, or are even at a loss for words. Yes, history is a record of past events but in essence it is much more, and it is this realization that is necessary for an individual to evolve past simply having a knowledge of history to having the ability to understand and study it. History is understanding past events, cultures, and attitudes, and how and why they have developed the present into its current state. By using these understandings we cannot necessarily predict the future, but rather use them as learning tools with which to avoid repeating mistakes and continue that which has been successful and productive.
A great degree of studying history is understanding the past, regarding particular events, cultural norms, and individual attitudes, and this means that the historian must approach historical study with the knowledge that the period they are studying is unique, which is otherwise known as ”historicism” (Galgano, 7). This concept allows the historian to not only know what happened during their studied period, but also to understand why and how that period’s culture may have influenced the events or actions. The historical context created by a historian’s altered state of mind helps to understand the significance of studying history and how it can be used to explain the shaping of our present state (Galgano, 4).
Understanding better the events and attitudes that formed our world today is imperative not only in our daily lives but also in our approach of studying history. Seasoned historians begin to better scrutinize and discriminate information placed before them as to differentiate between heavily researched subjects with hard evidence and those subjects that are considered “popular memory”, which is selective use of evidence and myth to support a historical argument that is highly questionable or to serve certain ends (Galgano, 2). While this may initially seem like an easy task, many struggle to differentiate between the two, as history that is relayed to the public in mass forums, such as the television and internet, is comprised of both forms in the rising field of public history (Galgano, 15). A society with the ability to discriminate historical information can understand mistakes made and productive choices made, and better prepare themselves for the future.
History serves as a learning experience for future generations, which is why the common saying “Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it” exists. Every generation that was, is, and ever will be fosters the future leaders, decision-makers, and grand societies of the world. A population like this without a rudimentary knowledge of trends both good and bad cannot accurately gauge the reactions of society or culture to future events (Galgano, 2), leaving the future blind and unnervingly uncertain.
History is complex, and sometimes frustratingly so, but simultaneously it is one of the most significant factors of a growing world. We can understand why the past took place as it did, and how and why it has shaped the way we think and act in the modern world. Only then can we establish guidelines in which to shape the future. To gain understanding rather than simply knowledge can help diminish popular memory, and establish that each and every generation is unique. Finally, we can come to the realization that the world that we witness today will become the history that we will study tomorrow.