Wisconsin’s Chippewa say they’re confident that an appeals court ruling last week will open the door to safe and responsible night hunting in ceded territory.
The Wisconsin DNR hasn’t allowed deer hunting at night outside of reservation boundaries, and a federal judge has twice upheld the restriction out of concern for public safety. But last week an appeals court in Chicago ruled the opposite and sent the case back to U.S. District Court, saying the state hasn’t provided proof that night hunting is dangerous.
DNR officials are planning a long term study to look at how deer density and forest composition affect each other.
The study would divide 900 acres in Vilas County into several fenced areas, containing different numbers of deer and amounts of available forage.
Some areas will contain no deer at all. Low density enclosures will contain 3 deer over 120 acres. Moderate densities will be 90 acres and contain four deer. High density ones will include 5 deer in an 80 acre parcel.
The harsh winter we’re experiencing could affect this year’s deer hunting season. Biologists are predicting low numbers of antlerless permits to give the deer population a chance to rebound.
DNR Big Game Specialist Kevin Wallenfang says deer are well adapted for cold, but it still takes a toll.
“A year like this, where we started in November – their fat reserves were being taxed very early in the year. We’ve had very cold temperatures, very deep snow – all of the things that can hurt them kind of are going on right now.”
Operation Deer Watch is beginning and for the next 60 days, the DNR would like citizens to send them information on the deer they see.
DNR surveys coordinator Brian Dhuey says the count helps the DNR determine herd size...
"...is for the public to tell us the types of deer they are seeing and where they are seeing the deer....does, bucks and fawns. The reason we are looking for this type of information is it helps us to monitor the reproductive status of the deer herd...."