Wisconsin DNR names new big-game ecologist

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — State wildlife officials have selected a new big-game ecologist.

Forty-four-year-old Kevin Wallenfang, a regional biologist for Pheasants Forever, will begin his new position at the Department of Natural Resources on Dec. 19. Wallenfang has a degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has worked as a biologist for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and as assistant big-game ecologist at the DNR.

The DNR’s big-game ecologist is responsible for managing the state’s deer, bear and elk herds. The position has become a lightning rod for controversy as hunter gripes about the DNR’s deer management strategies have intensified.

Former big-game ecologist Keith Warnke transferred out of the position last year to become a hunter retention specialist. Dan Hirchert has served as acting ecologist since then.