Deer

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The DNR is hosting a deer management assistance program Saturday at the Conover town hall.

Big Game Section Chief Bob Nack says the meeting is for individuals who are already managing private land for wildlife or those who might be interested...

"...landowners participating in the Deer Management Assistance Program, or DMAP. It's a benefit to them and attend and get some information on managing their property for deer and other wildlife from a variety of professionals giving presentations...."

Michele Woodford / Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

County deer advisory councils will have more flexibility this year, if a permanent rule for changes to the state’s deer management plan goes forward.

Changes thanks to the Deer Trustee Report took effect last season temporarily, and the state Natural Resources Board must act to make them permanent.  

DNR Wildlife Regulation Policy specialist Scott Loomans says continuation of the plan will expand options for County Deer Advisory Councils. 

Michele Woodford / Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Harvest totals from the gun-deer season in northern Wisconsin were down even more than the state average.

Statewide, hunters shot 9 percent fewer bucks than last year, but up north the harvest was 21 percent lower. 

Though there were some challenging weather conditions during this year’s nine-day gun season, DNR Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Holtz says the major factor has been last winter’s extreme cold and snow. 

Michele Woodford / Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Hunters registered more than ten thousand bucks in the northern district during opening weekend.  That’s down by about 12 percent compared to last year according to the DNR’s preliminary figures.

DNR Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Holtz says part of the decline is likely due to last winter’s taking a toll on the herd. 

Oregon Department of Transportation

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. 

Rennett Stowe

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.

Derek Bakken

In his continuing series, "Wildlife Matters", DNR biologist Jeremy Holtz says sometimes good intentions don't always end up with the best results.

Next time, Jeremy will be talking about turkeys surviving our long, cold winter.

Rennett Stowe

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.” 

As the nights grow longer, greater numbers of drivers may be hitting deer.

JP Wieske  is spokesman for the Offices of the Insurance Commissioner.  He says drivers need to pay attention, because this time of year is especially risky. 

“I think the main reason is the activity of the deer.  There’s a lot of travel, it’s getting darker, but also there’s a lot more deer activity at this time of year.”

Wieske says animal collisions are a significant expense for insurance companies.  He says deer hits were up last year.

Ken Thomas

The DNR is gathering public input on proposed changes to deer management.  

It’s holding an online chat today  at noon on implementing the Deer Trustee Report.  Spokesperson Jennifer Pelej says this is the next step in the process of collecting feedback that began in March. 

“And we want to continue to keep the doors open with the public.  So this is just a tool for us to connect with people who might have questions about the process or the rules package.”

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