Wednesday, August 02, 2006

WISCONSIN NEWS: Deer population at 1.7 million

By Jim Mense, Outdoor Columnist, Dunn County News

Wisconsin’s white-tailed deer population is projected to be 1.5 to 1.7 million this fall, which figures to be 12 percent higher than last fall. According to Keith Warnke, big game ecologist for the DNR, that projection is well above established population goals, but better than biologists expected or ever hoped for. Given the limited herd control seasons last year and the extremely mild winter in northern Wisconsin, hunters did a fine job limiting projected herd growth to 12 percent. But, he continued, you can see by the amount of herd control and earn-a-buck units this fall, of which 59B is a part, that hunters really need to step up to the plate this fall and harvest antlerless deer to keep the deep population within the carrying capacity of the land and reducing crop and garden depredation. And last but not least, vehicular collisions.

No four-Day October Hunt

Hunters are reminded there is a not 4-day October antlerless gun hunt. A moratorium on October gun hunting of deer will be implemented on a two-year trial basis with an option to reinstate the October antlerless hunt after one year if deer harvests in herd control units such as 59B, drops below a 1.4 to 1 antlerless to buck ratio. The October herd control hunt, we know as the Zone T hunt was effective at reducing deer populations. But, according to Warnke, it was unpopular with hunters who felt that it interfered with the very best time for archery deer hunting. Not only bow hunting but pheasant, grouse, turkey and even waterfowl hunting.

Warnke is asking hunters to harvest two anterlerless deer for every antlered buck. If that is accomplished, it has the potential to resolve some of the conflict in deer management. What to do with multiple deer carcasses? Can you think of an easier way to help feed the hungry among us? The Dunn County Fish & Game Club will again be coordinating the program along with area food pantries, meat processors and the DNR that will be happy to accept every deer you harvest if you want it that way. You shoot it, and hungry folks will be happy to eat it.

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