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2019 Gun Deer Final Numbers

12/3/19 @ 12:08 PM
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.  

TODAY @ 11:05 AM
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
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
User since 6/20/01

Little luck, 100% correct.

TODAY @ 9:08 AM
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
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
User since 8/5/16

Yahay is exactly 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 ??

2/17/20 @ 4:42 PM
User since 2/6/06

I don't think it's a coincidence that hunter recruitment started going down in line with deer population going down.  Recruitment is a function of an exciting hunt and seeing deer.  If you get one great, but seeing them is the key.  Being able to shoot 8 deer a year has nothing to do with hunter recruitment.  Exciting hunting has everything to do with it.  If buck only gets the population in areas to exciting levels, it needs to be done.  

2/17/20 @ 4:32 PM
User since 11/28/07

The DNR is in a chitty spot.  I gotta believe "they" no full well how badly they are perceived by a majority of hunter's.  They dropped the ball a # of years ago when they admitted they missed the bear population estimates by 1/3.  They took a hit by issuing unlimited $2.00 doe tags a # of years, although quit frankly, that's on us in my opinion, what were we thinking shootin all those Goldn Geese.  Oh well water over the damm.  But perhaps the biggest kick in the Kanicki is they continue to insult the general public's intelligence, case in point, deer population numbers.

Anyways, wouldn't it be a step forward for them to say, "OK, we will listen to you guy's & gal's, (PC).  

Now, pretend your Mr. Big Shot DNR Deer Guru holding a golden wand, list your idea's or management tactics/changes that would make hunting in this state a better experience for us all.  


2/17/20 @ 4:13 PM
User since 12/7/13

I think some would be , but for the majority of hunters up here it would be very refreshing to see some honesty from an out of touch WDNR. It would in fact go a long way to restoring the zero confidence hunters have of them in anything deer management related . It might also help stem the tide of hunters quitting , my decisions ( and many other hunters ) on buying any more licenses in Wisconsin is totally in our WDNRs court .I’ve had enough of their shady deer management games to be honest . 

2/17/20 @ 3:46 PM
User since 11/28/07

If the DNR did in fact hold a buck only hunt for the 2020 season, say north of HWY 64, how many hunters would be pizzed?  Or would hunters unanimously support this?

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