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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.  

1/16/20 @ 7:10 AM
User since 4/1/05

Would like to pass along this NRB meeting agenda about deer season 2019.  Makes me sick (hope the link works above).  Nothing but excuses as predicted.  My 'favorite' blurb is below.  Guess it makes sense.  Very few deer sightings north of HWY 8 for years, and just a few miles away in Buffalo County it is different.  Just a few miles away makes a HUGE difference!    

12/27/19 @ 8:26 AM
User since 12/24/10

I gun hunt in what is considered the northern forest area. I hunt in Rusk County. During our scouting trips we saw less sign than in the previous 2 years and actual sightings were about 1/2. I hunted the opening weekend and Monday of gun season. During our scouting and during the hunt no one in our group saw even one fawn. I think that the winter kill and dropped fawns was much worse than the DNR is saying. I hunt public land in the Rusk County forest. There was very deep snow and many predators in that area. We had a successful season but many hunting near us left with little or nothing. Hopefully this winter will be milder and there will be better fawn production. 

12/27/19 @ 7:39 AM
User since 1/5/05

I looked up Douglas County's kill count on the DNR website. As of about 1 week ago we were down 75% from 2007. I didnt start hunting here till 2011 so I don't have a ton of years worth of memory of populations. I can use common sense and say you cant kill whats not there. Running 30 cameras mostly on public and knowing several people that run just as many I can tell you the deer just are not there. We all manage to find decent bucks every year, but it gets harder ever year to find them.

12/26/19 @ 10:01 AM
MEMBER since 1/14/13

That’s probably the exact reason they did away with registration stations. Now the only entity with the actual numbers is the wdnr. I think the harvest numbers they come up with are a crock. 

One year I called all the registration stations in my county to verify harvest numbers because I believed we as hunters were being lied to. Unfortunately I had a couple of the stations that wouldn’t cooperate and thought it was none of my business. The numbers I did come up with though were far short of the Dnr’s total for the county so unless those stations that withheld numbers had way higher harvest numbers or I was in fact onto something. I believe we need to get Registration stations back in place. 

12/26/19 @ 8:59 AM
User since 12/7/13

That’s only a smidge over 11 40s per buck harvested in the 2019 rifle season statewide.

12/26/19 @ 6:28 AM
User since 12/7/13
2 million deer divided by the 54,314 square miles of land in WI comes to rounded up 38 deer per square mile in Wisconsin . During Wisconsin’s 2019 gun season there were preliminary buck harvest numbers of 76,770. Divide the buck kill number into that same 54314 sq miles of land in Wi comes up to 1.4 bucks killed per square mile . Now isn’t it a bit odd that with 550,000 Wisconsin hunters and a deer population of close to 40 per sq mile  how WI hunters are able to kill only 76,700 bucks with guns?

12/26/19 @ 5:05 AM
User since 6/15/01

Thats how the CDAC's work now. In our county, there is no discussion on population estimate numbers. The discussion is: What are the current effects of the deer population (no numbers, just as a whole) we currently have, using all the data points available (crop damage, car/deer accidents, harvest rates, browse, etc)... are we happy with that... if not which way are we looking to go, increase, maintain, or decrease... what was done in the past, what effect has that had, and how do we change it to achieve the desired outcome.... increase, maintain, or decrease antlerless harvest compared to years past.

If you look online, each counties metrics used by the CDAC's is available. Population estimates are not the focal point. Regardless of the population number, its about the health of the herd, what effects are we seeing through various areas/groups, and how do we want to change/maintain those effects?

No single data point, including population estimates, is used solely as a determining factor to set harvest rates.

12/25/19 @ 11:57 AM
User since 2/28/13

I believe the forestry people have a lot to do with attempting to lower the deer population.  In 2016, when Waupaca county was thinking of going  to a antlerless only hunt, the member on the cdac committee representing forestry  was about the only one that was really pushing the idea.  Also heard from other sources that forestry people whine more the farmers.  Just my two cents.

12/25/19 @ 11:37 AM
User since 5/7/03

I think the WDNR is afraid of a real CWD outbreak and then they wouldn’t have their #1 tool to control the deer population. Most hunters would quit hunting. 

12/25/19 @ 10:52 AM
MEMBER since 1/14/13

For the life of me I cannot figure out the driving force behind lowering the deer population. I know some people claim insurance companies and I get that theory. Not sure I believe it but that would be the only ones to benefit besides farmers. Anyone want to chime in?

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