Antlerless Deer Quotas and Hunting Seasons: Comments to Natural Resources Board

WI Green Fire, June 22, 2020

Deer in field
Photo: Jeff Richter

Wisconsin’s Green Fire provided comments on antlerless deer quotas and hunting seasons to the Natural Resources Board for its June 24 2020 meeting. Read the full comments.

From a historical perspective, Wisconsin’s deer herd has grown significantly over the past six years and is at record levels across the farmland deer management zones. DNR studies have shown high fawn and juvenile deer mortality in tough winters, even in farm areas, a surprising result that points to deer browse being insufficient to support the large deer herds in this area in winters with deep, prolonged snow.

A profoundly serious concern is the relationship between large deer herds and Wisconsin’s struggle with chronic wasting disease (CWD). Large deer herds make CWD management more challenging. There is no greater challenge to the health of Wisconsin’s deer herd and deer hunting heritage than Chronic Wasting Disease.  Wisconsin led the nation in CWD+ deer detections last year. Wisconsin lacks a strategy for reducing CWD prevalence. The comment letter lists best management strategies to slow the spread of CWD.

Wisconsin’s Green Fire’s specific recommendations to the Natural Resources Board for 2020 are:

  1. We support including Grant and Marquette Counties within the Holiday Hunt authorization, and
  2. We further recommend extending the Holiday Hunt and Extended Archery Seasons to all deer management units within the Farmland Zones. This will maximize hunting and harvest opportunities, as well as add consistency across large areas of the state.

WGF recommends that the Natural Resources Board and Department of Natural Resources implement changes that increase the rate of harvest of bucks in Wisconsin’s CWD infected areas.

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