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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.  

12/12/19 @ 4:55 PM
User since 4/1/05


What is of concern in Taylor County is there is a push for those in the forestry department to manage the Taylor County Forest separately and to issue MORE bonus doe tags.  I also read they are trying to implement a DMAP in the County Forest - on PUBLIC LAND.  The DNR is involved with this!  Even though Taylor County CDAC has been great limiting doe tags (especially on public land) over quite some time, there is now a push by the County Forestry Department to kill more deer - you guessed it - some fawns ate a shrub.  Anyone who has hunted the Taylor County Forest knows there are very few deer per square mile.  Another example of the CDAC gets pressure from DNR, County Foresters, and NRB to change there plans.  Ridiculous. 

12/12/19 @ 4:32 PM
User since 12/14/14

What is disappointing is the NRB approved population objective for 2018 through 2020 has the majority of the counties at maintain or decrease. Wow. How does Bayfield county have too many deer (decrease)? Maybe, I don't hunt there.

At this point the CDAC's are the only way to get your voice heard. You are correct by saying the forester and area biologist is always for getting more doe permits (probably agriculture in some areas of the state) issued but the rest of the committee that I have seen is more about harvest numbers and trying to find the middle ground (at least in the county I attend). I would like to see them get more aggressive at meeting objectives. Zero doe permits issued for counties that are trying to increase the herd. First you have to have the correct objective for each county. Looking at the numbers that needs to be revisted

I do some hunting in Taylor county public land and they have a goal to increase the herd (which it needs) but they give way to many doe permits. My comment is always "How long is this going to take to get the herd back", probably won't be in my life time.

12/12/19 @ 4:15 PM
User since 6/20/13

JC-  I agree with many of your points on this thread but have to weigh in on the CDAC/Agriculture comments made.. For full disclosure I grew up in a rural area on a dairy farm and our family loves to hunt and wants to see a healthy deer population. The same can be said for several of the neighbors who are still farming and farmers I now know in Grant and Vernon Cty where I turkey/deer hunt. I do not ever recall the AG Rep at CDAC meetings I attend ever bring up decreasing the herd (my home county continues to be in the "maintain" status)  

While I agree that some farmers and maybe some CDAC/reps want to reduce the herd in certain area's it certainly is not accurate to lump all the folks associated in the AG industry as people who uniformly despise deer.. That simply is not true..

12/12/19 @ 3:37 PM
User since 4/1/05

"Cdacs get overruled by the NRB, not the dnr. Dnr gets overruled by the NRB all the time. Again, dnr has been stripped of much of its power. This is how u fellow citizens wanted it. U guys voted, u got what u it isn’t good enough? I’ve been on earth long enough to know that there are many out there that aren’t happy unless they have something to complain about. Like the 98% on here "

People complain when things suck.  Things suck.  

I am more than happy to have CDACs take over after DNR's mismanagement for 2-3 decades.  At least most CDAC's have a couple people on the council who have not been brainwashed into thinking successful deer management equates to killing as many deer as possible.  CDACs as currently set up are made to fail since a third of the voting group is made up of those who despise deer.  The CDACs are also forced to listen to DNR's advice from metrics that are obviously flawed - overestimating deer populations, and underestimating bear, bobcat, and wolf populations.  Yes, we asked for something better and got it, and it is at minimum no worse than the mess that DNR created for decades, and at most somewhat better - give it a few years.  DNR still has a substantial hand in this result though, and feeding all of us "record levels of deer" lines just proves the ineptitude (at least in the northern half of the state).

But yes, many of us do take our complaints to the CDACs.  They even have an online comment period, and I do believe they read these comments.  DNR has historically proven they are too smart to listen to simpletons like us who spend a considerable amount of time in the woods.  I work with folks in the DNR very often and most times it is a pleasant experience, but something is obviously wrong with their big game management team of experts.

12/12/19 @ 3:28 PM
User since 8/31/11

It's not all bad news scrub.  Your co-workers were able to predict more deer will be on the landscape in 2020 as a result of last night's holiday party.

12/12/19 @ 3:16 PM
Swamp buck
User since 1/23/09

Lots of guys need to "CERTIFY" their manhood with that 3' spike they shot. WOO-HOO -they're a man for another year cause they "got their buck"

12/12/19 @ 3:14 PM
User since 8/15/06

Cdacs get overruled by the NRB, not the dnr. Dnr gets overruled by the NRB all the time. Again, dnr has been stripped of much of its power. This is how u fellow citizens wanted it. U guys voted, u got what u it isn’t good enough? I’ve been on earth long enough to know that there are many out there that aren’t happy unless they have something to complain about. Like the 98% on here 

12/12/19 @ 3:11 PM
User since 2/6/06

I agree Swamp.  When someone says they "hunt to feed their family" I roll my eyes.  I hunt because I like hunting.  If I needed to feed my family, there are far cheaper ways to do that.  Don't get me wrong I love venison, and love having meat in the freezer, but most who say they hunt "to feed their family" either do it to sound morally superior, or to justify them whacking and stacking 10 deer a year.  This is why I'm for managing for a quality hunt.  For me that isn't necessarily a mounter buck, even though i do enjoy harvesting them.  That quality is the excitement and entertainment value a healthy deer herd brings to the hunt itself.  

12/12/19 @ 3:10 PM
User since 8/31/11

"With the manner in which the good majority of the 150" class bucks are harvested in this state, you might as well throw the horns in a box. Most have little to do with actual hunting."

12/12/19 @ 2:53 PM
Swamp buck
User since 1/23/09

We live in the richest country in the world and I doubt 99% of hunters don't NEED to hunt for sustenance. With the cost of hunting the way it is you would be better off to buy your meat. Send all those 150" deer my way I'll take'em!

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