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2019 Gun Deer Final Numbers

12/3/19 @ 12:08 PM
ORIGNAL POST
JC-Wisconsin
User since 4/1/05

Just released, 2019 vs. 2018: Total buck kill down 28.6%, total harvest down 24.9%.  Northern Forest region was the worst: buck kill down 39.5%, total harvest down 38.2%.

Post opening weekend quote: "In 2018, we held the earliest possible deer season followed by the latest possible season in 2019. This occurred between the 2012-13 and 2007-08 seasons as well, and we saw similar declines in opening weekend registration totals," said DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang. 

2012 antlered harvest: 119,469

2013 antlered harvest: 102,221, drop of 14.5%

2007 antlered harvest: 133,107

2008 antlered harvest: 103,845, drop of 22%

Yes, there were decreases if you only look at the variable as stated by DNR above.  Total harvest of 75,236 bucks in 2019 tells another story.  Even in the worst years, the total buck kill was down 25% on top of the decrease "due to a late start to the season."  The buck kill was down 19% from the lowest buck kill numbers in the last 13 years.  We are on a continued and readily apparent trend downward.

As I posted in another thread, pick the year and you get the same excuses from DNR: standing crops, no snow, late start date to season, and the best of all "lack of hunter effort."

Most of us had record snowfalls late in the season which has never been seen before.  The Winter Severity Index does not properly account for deep snow or extreme cold.  -1 degree counts the same as -30 degrees, and 18" of snow counts the same as 40" of snow according to their system.  I feel a lot of deer died last winter/spring, but we were told we had a record population and a moderate winter even though hundreds of barn roofs collapsed from all the snow.

Since we as hunters failed, and did not do our part to reduce this out of control population as DNR has told us about, I suspect DNR will offer more doe tags, more seasons, more weapons, and longer seasons since we all obviously are failing at hunting.  

I am guessing the number of licenses sold next year will drop even faster with the winter we are already having.  

DISPLAYING 1 TO 10 OF 354 POSTS
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TODAY @ 1:30 PM
Bucktown
User since 8/5/16

Good start to a discussion.  Couple thoughts:

1.  Seems like limiting doe harvest in a good part of WI is warranted.  Maybe we need to consider all public land state wide buck only for a period of time?  Probably a good argument for that. Might go a long ways to balancing the herd density or at least equalizing it.

2.  We need to get over the "deer hunting culture" argument.  80-90% of the population in WI does not hunt deer, nor do they care. Pretty consistently always been that way in modern history.  For example, the record license sales was about 700,000 compared to a population of 4.8 mil in 1990.  Last year 600,000ish  licenses sold compared to a population of 5.7 mil.  We are a minority population.  Doesn't mean we should lay down and shut up, quite the contrary, we need to be vocal and show up and represent our interest at every opportunity.  That said, if we want to be heard, we need to be realistic in expectations as there are A LOT of other priorities that the majority of the public will fight for.  See #3

3.  Forestry is incredibly important to WI both in terms of job creation as well as revenue to individual counties through timber sales.  That is revenue that is not tax based which benefits everyone, including the 80-90% of folks that don't care about deer hunting.  I think it will be a dead end fight to convince the vast majority of residents that the forestry industry should not be represented when they are representing their side of a natural resource that produces a lot more revenue, jobs and useful products than deer hunting ever will.  Same goes for the tourism industry....deer hunting is a small part of WI tourism.  They've got other agendas too.  

4.  Independent herd estimation is a great idea...how might it get paid for?  

TODAY @ 1:18 PM
Analog man
Analog man
User since 12/10/18

JC, wouldn't a buck only season reduce the buck numbers and reduce breeding the following spring?

TODAY @ 1:12 PM
JC-Wisconsin
User since 4/1/05

I wouldn't mind closing the season, however deer population is only influenced by the number of does and predators.  Having buck only seasons does not hurt the population.  

TODAY @ 11:46 AM
Swamp buck
User since 1/23/09

Why not just close the season for a few years if its that bad?

TODAY @ 11:05 AM
Farnorthbadger
User since 12/7/13

Buck only wherever needed , now , and implemented by our WDNR . We employ them to manage our natural resources not abuse them. 

Reorganize CDACs to better reflect hunters and the Wisconsin deer hunting culture  . Give the sitting NRB members on the boards votes and take away the foresters votes .That would reflect some honesty in how badly they were originally set up to favor ultra low deer populations throughout the state. 

Implement Lucks idea of counts in random counties using infrared cams and drones running a grid . Have it done privately by another source not involved with our WDNR as an independent check on WDNR deer and wolf estimates . If huge differences are  found make the necessary changes in WDNR employees and management until it improves . Knowing your population estimates accuracy was going to be checked would probably move any and all politics out of it . We obviously need checks and balances in our wildlife population counts and that would be a really good way to double check those.


TODAY @ 9:52 AM
JC-Wisconsin
User since 4/1/05

I'll bite, and Buck...good points.

1) You can't have a "doe only" above a "line" anywhere in the state.  As mentioned, there are large areas of public land south of HWY29 devoid of deer. However, the simple fix is to work on limiting doe harvest in areas where there are few deer.  The other part of this is DNR issuing believable harvest estimates, and/or CDACs not offering antlerless tags.

2) Get rid of free antlerless public land tags in Farmland Units for a period of several years.  Do not issue free antlerless private tags and make them $12 each.  

2) As soon as possible (if?) after wolves are off the Endangered Species list, make strong efforts to return populations to the goal of 350 statewide that was part of the wolf management plan.  Again, this means more accurate population estimates.

3) 1 buck per hunter per year...pick your weapon.  Charge a higher amount for a license to offset the loss of revenue from those who buy both archery/crossbow and gun deer tags.  If 2 bucks would be allowed - shorten seasons (archery the week before rifle season and after gun season, crossbow in November, etc.), eliminate seasons (youth hunt, muzzleloader) /weapons (muzzleloader, crossbow), or implement antler restrictions on the second buck at 4 points on a side.  I would greatly rather see 1 buck per hunter than eliminating seasons and/or weapons.  Shortening seasons should still be discussed even with 1 buck per year. 

4) I agree on the baiting permit idea.  I have brought this up before.  Purchase a $50 baiting license for any county in the state, and peg all funds towards sound CWD vaccine research and/or development of field test kits.  Even if only 100,000 permits were sold, that would generate $5,000,000 towards CWD research annually.  Baiting permits would be good from the day before opening day of bow/crossbow through the last weekend of early archery/crossbow season only.  



TODAY @ 9:41 AM
walleyeralph
User since 6/20/01

Little luck, 100% correct.

TODAY @ 9:08 AM
LittleLuck
User since 2/16/17

Comments here are saying people want buck only north of hwy 8 or hwy 64. I think you really have to go further south than that for buck only.  I hunt the central forest north of hwy 10 and south of hwy 29 for over 35 years. Eau Claire and Clark county both have very low deer populations and have for years since massive doe kills for years. It is pathetic hunting here. Had the most snowfall in history for February March last year. The buck only line needs to include the central forest . One year buck only isnt enough.  Need 5 years for sure. Difficult for the deer herd to recover when at a 30 year low and lots of predators and bad winters.  A real predator control plan is needed to get things more in balance.

2/17/20 @ 7:15 PM
samfox
User since 3/17/09

Buck only for 2020, I’m in, it’ll save me money. I won’t have to buy doe tags to save a doe’s life.

2/17/20 @ 6:54 PM
Bucktown
User since 8/5/16

Yahay is exactly right...how about a few proposed solutions?  I’ll bite...

1.  Moratorium on doe harvest “up north”, on all land open to public hunting.  Pick your “up north line“ Hwy 8?  Hwy 64?  Either would be fine.  Doe harvest quotas still available on Private land “up north”


2.  Where public doe tags are available in the rest of the state.... if you want a doe tag for public land, your buck tag follows to only public land.  Stops private land owners “saving” does on their land and “meat hunting” public land.

3.  1 buck per season regardless of weapon.  

4.  If you want a second buck, maybe reinstate earn a buck where deer populations are high?  That’d be fun, eh ??

5.  How’s this for controversy ??Issue baiting licenses.  Hunter may bait for a two week period only during hunting season.  Hunters chooses two week periods and they can’t be back to back.  $10 per baiting permit.  Maybe use September, 2 periods in Oct, Nov and December?  Maybe some people feel it will help them see deer?  Who knows?

Ok that’s enough....if nothing else should be a fun conversation ??

DISPLAYING 1 TO 10 OF 354 POSTS
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