Big Game Hunting

2023 Gun Numbers Released - DNR is succeeding in reaching their goal!

11/28/23 @ 2:10 PM
User since 4/1/05


There are the numbers.  Why is southern farmland not affected as badly as the rest of the state?    

Displaying 46 to 60 of 154 posts
12/30/23 @ 7:43 AM
User since 4/2/10
You mean focus on the over hunted and under populated public land? And decimate the few animals left? Yep, good plan. 
12/29/23 @ 6:11 PM
Castle Rock Dam Bait Shop
User since 2/15/14
Trouter I totally disagree with your deer estimates in Adams County especially in the Central Forest area of the county. I keep my cell cameras out all year and in my area I am seeing the same thing I saw after the T Zone hunts of the early 2000's. Lots of bucks looking for does that are not there. it is very odd during the peak of the rut to see multiple bucks chasing the same doe. There are usually more than enough does to go around.  I hunted all but 7 hours of the 9 day gun season in a stand I have never been skunked in and went three days without seeing a deer. Seen 8 different bucks and 4 antlerless deer during this period. This is on a 140 acres of property with controlled acres and about 5 acres of food plots. If the deer are so prevalent in The Central Forest part of Adams County the antlerless kill should have outnumbered the antlered kill 2 to 1 which it did not. 1978 antlered deer and 1548 antlerless deer were harvested during the 9 day gun season. We need to go to one buck a season per hunter for a few years to bring back deer numbers. As far as CWD is concerned it's like the common cold we will learn to live with it.  The early T Zones and earn a buck regulations did nothing to curtail CWD in the southern part of the state. Colorado has been doing it since the 60's and their herds are fine. 
12/29/23 @ 3:38 PM
User since 7/3/01
Landowners do not give access and it is a problem.   Focus on public land.   

12/29/23 @ 10:05 AM
User since 2/28/13
Easier said then done.   The big question would be, does Adams county have land owners with huntable land that would give access to hunt the land.  
Hunter accessibility is one of the key elements in controlling the deer numbers. 
In my immediate hunting area, I know of one property owner that does not allow any antlerless or small buck harvest, only trophy bucks. Another property down the road about two miles allows no hunters at all, even family members. Their reasoning is the deer need a safe place during hunting season.
Guess where the deer over populate and then spread out to adjoining areas, with more risk of deer. vehicle accidents. 
12/29/23 @ 8:44 AM
User since 7/3/01
If someone wants to hunt in a county full of deer and available tags, hunt in Adams County. 

 We have too many deer and too few hunters.

Yes, we have CWD slowly spreading through the county, so have you deer tested.

12/28/23 @ 2:10 PM
User since 11/29/01
That is all true, and it is not an exact way to count deer.The car numbers are also more every year , it seems. However, I must say , I have never seen so many road kills  in the 20 yrs. I have been driving from Fond Du Lac to Germantown , and to think half fly into the ditch , or hobble off to die is amazing how many must get hit. This does not even count the back roads.  I am going hunting this weekend. I am sure the deer are around.  I have to wonder if just as many deer get hit by cars as shot by hunters. I am not trying to argue. It is a never ending debate however. In 1990 , from Stevens Point to Wausau , I counted 27 dead deer on  HWY 51  on Holloween weekend. Since then  , I have seen less every year . A few here and there when I go up  but a fraction of what it was like and that includes HWY 8 from Tomahawk to Prentice .. Very few road kills now days so it is  away to measure. I have been scouting public land all over and am surprised how much fresh sign there is . Later, ihookem
12/28/23 @ 10:31 AM
User since 2/28/13
Amount of road kills in the last three months may not be a true indicator of to many deer on the landscape.  First of  all, the last two weeks of October and the first two weeks of November is the peak rutting ( breeding season )  causing deer to be on the move 24 hours a day which includes chasing, making them oblivious of roads and traffic.
You mention roads between Germantown and fond du Lac and shawano to Wausau  Likely interstates 41 and 29.  You need to consider the amount of traffic and speeds of 75 to 85 MPH.  The deer do not stand a chance of survival.  Other major roads, two or four lane are just as congested.
Another factor of road kills is the use of road salt in the winter. That usually saturates the vegetation in the ditches which attract deer. 
If you stood along Highway 41 in Oshkosh and counted the cars either in the north or south bound lanes, even with a clicker, you wouldn't keep up. 
Amounts of road kills can and do fluctuate  with the seasons.
12/28/23 @ 7:12 AM
User since 11/29/01
I bet money that between Germantown , Wisconsin and Fond Du Lac, there were 100 deer dead on the road the last 3 months.  From Shawano to Wausau my cousin said the dead deer were all over the place. 
12/11/23 @ 9:20 PM
User since 11/29/01
 You bet the deer are there .   I hunt where hardly anyone else will and less hunters every year . I see first hand every single year how little deer move after a few  days of hunters tramping through the woods. Those public land deer know enough to not move in daylight. ( anyone with me on this ?)  They slow way down this time of year. I think I saw one of the deer stand up and I was 35 yds away from it when it did. I have seen this many times.  Sometimes when I am up in my climber ,  I even see them in their beds when the sun does down just enough to make their hide shine on a sunny day. The muzzleloader deer only walked about 20' in 30 minutes. The last 5 minutes it walked about 50 more feet. This was muzzy season. There are tracks , trails and droppings on some spots on that public that tell me they are there, and 2 weeks ago the deer were not using some of the spots . You have to know where to go and when. I do cause I am out there from September to April many  days a year and put on between 20 and 50 miles a year scouting according to my GPS and that is just scouting while not hunting.  Why do I only see 2 deer in 11 sits? The reason is cause they dont move much at all. I bet the deer I shot was likely bedding 50 yds from my stand . When they do move , it is very hard to see them. It is so thick in the areas I hunt that there are times I dont see them till they are quartering away from me, or they just stood up the last 5 minutes of daylight and were walking away,  Impossible to tell unless you see them stand up.  There are SO MANY fallen ash trees with high grass growing over them that you can hardly walk, and with all the sunlight now the grass is growing 6' high besides. To make matters worse , the dead grass falls over the trees and the deer sneak right under there . It is like a tent in there and you can walk right by them and never know they are there. This is why so few drive deer there anymore. I have seen many deer beds in these ( tents) . The only time they will blast out of their beds is if you happen to take a break real close to their beds . After a few minutes they get nervous enough to blast out and they go like heck. .  With the dead ash it will only get worse cause they are really starting to fall all over. This is why I want longer seasons. You can't just blast in there with all kinds of hunters and think they will just move like normal, dont work that way.  Now, if you think the deer aren't  there, then you tell me how there can be so many dead deer on the hwy. There were likely 100 dead deer from my house to work this fall and 4 more just this weekend. The deer are there, you just have to hunt a lot of sits and hope you get lucky enough to see them, then luckier to get a decent shot. It's very  tough hunting . I have about 25 stands on  several public lands. I hunt and scout ALL THE TIME!. This year There were more deer dead on the hwy than I have ever seen. It's like this   .  However, JC is right, they give an awful lot of doe tags for public land . I shot 2 does this year and that is rare.  I dont try to fill every tag. In 48 yrs. of gun hunting and 38 yrs. of bow I have only shot 30 deer. That's not that many. I just love to hunt . We could reduce doe tags however and add to the season. 
12/11/23 @ 4:10 PM
User since 4/1/05
"I hunted really heavily hunted public land 7 times for muzzy. I saw 1 deer. I hunted 2 times so fr for the 4 day antlerless . I saw 1 deer in 2 sits so I shot the doe. So in 9 sits I see a deer 2 times."

But, you claim the deer are there?  See 2 deer in 9 sits, but still shoot an antlerless deer on public land?  Again an example of too many public land antlerless tags.  Guys do this all over the state....DNR says there are deer everywhere (but are actually invisible), issue endless doe tags, hunter's believe the "experts" and hunter's fill as many tags as they can even it it takes a dozen sits to see a single deer.  When deer hunting was better, hunters didn't have that doe tag(s) in their pocket.  Amazing how deer hunting has gotten worse on public land.

12/11/23 @ 10:54 AM
User since 8/3/12
Master Piker, no offense taken. And you make a very good point about the northern part of WI and the percentage of cover that area of the state accounts for. Iowa and WI are definitely apples to oranges in that regard. It all comes back to the terrible management practices the DNR has implemented in WI, and hunters willingness to go along with it. As far as the north being a "wasteland" I completely agree with that, but it wasn't always the case, right? "Up North" used to have excellent deer hunting until something happened that caused it to decline the way it has. IF the state was managed in a way that benefits deer, the north could and should still be an excellent area for hunting. (Canada has plenty of wolves too, but yet people spend significant amounts of money every year to hunt there, both public and private. Same can be said for out west). The very second wolves, and any of the other changes were brought up by the DNR, all 500,000 WI deer hunters should have raised holy hell to stop it, but WI hunters, by and large are very "fuddy" by nature and will trust what the "experts" tell them, and be excited about the unlimited doe kill possibility. Now since not enough people got loud enough then, we are left fighting this battle from behind. I do believe it will change in time, one positive about the younger generation is they seem much more in tune with the importance of buck/doe ratio and age structure. Also, as much as I hate the instagram age, the one nice thing is, this new generation doesn't want to post young deer to the gram. 

Doe kill, I have zero issue with it in areas that can sustain in. Goes back to my previous post about not being just a killer, but be a conservationist first. We as hunters have more power than anyone else when it comes to hands on management and conservation. Know your area and what it can sustain. If it can sustain it, or needs the doe kill, knock yourself out and have at it. Don't just be the guy that thinks there is a magic deer fairy that comes around every year and drops deer off before the season.

Non-Resident Antlerless tags. I agree with everything you said there. Unfortunately, there are 2 reasons why that is a difficult fight. For 1, the tavern league in WI is one of our most powerful lobbying bodies. They HATE the idea of raising NR prices, they want as many non resident hunters here as possible. This comes directly from the people in Madison who are directly involved with any regulation changes. Second reason, plain and simple, the DNR does not want to miss out on the revenue generated by NR tags. The product WI has to offer is not on par with the states charging 500 dollars plus for NR tags. I'll ask this, if WI cost the same as IA or IL, and you were an out of state hunter, where would you go? WI DNR does not want to keep people out. Again, this is directly from the policy makers. I do believe this is a fight worth having though, even though it will be very difficult, I would like to see it happen. I do think limiting HOW MANY doe tags NR hunters get is something that could be possible though, or, increasing the bonus tag prices. For reference, the REQUIRED antlerless tag that you must buy to hunt bucks in IA is about 150 dollars. (Illinois you get one doe tag with your 476 dollar buck license). WI could make the extra NR doe tags significantly more expensive than they are, and the Tavern League should be able to keep the sand outta their, well, you know.

I think I covered everything from you post.
12/9/23 @ 12:37 PM
User since 11/29/01
Master Piker is right. If we stopped shooting does, especially in the southern half of the sate, the deer would eat the woods out of house and home.  I also am with him 100% on late deer seasons , 4 day antelress, Holiday hunt, and muzzzy.  I hunted really heavily hunted public land 7 times for muzzy. I saw 1 deer. I hunted 2 times so fr for the 4 day antlerless . I saw 1 deer in 2 sits so I shot the doe. So in 9 sits I see a deer 2 times. Sounds like I need a new place to hunt , right... Truth is  I hunted my old favorite S.E wind stand and was amazed at the trails . They were down to the mud in those cat tails. There were literally tracks, trails and droppings all over the place. Much more sign that just 2 weeks ago . Only thing I can think of is they cut the corn across the road and now it's an empty field. I could not believe the deer sign.. However, it is very tough hunting there. You can hardly walk. In gun season I went a$$ over tea kettle in that marsh , tripping over a dead ash branch  and landed in 6" of water, the gun went into the mud of course and stuck in the barrel. So, here I was trying to suck start a .243 WIn. to get the muck out of the barrel.  It is a terrible mess out there and less people hunting it every year. Sure, there are mobs of orange from what i hear the first day but by noon they are half gone cause they are not going back out there. Most days, even in 9 day gun, I dont hear a single shot. Never during muzzy hunting . Tells me there are deer, but getting them is tough , and will get even tougher cause the ash trees are really starting to come down now making it almost impossible to walk... Does Wis. deer hunting suck?? Seems like it does if ya hunt 9 sits ad see deer twice, but the deer are there and I almost didnt see one of the two . I need time to hunt them and that's why I am in favor of longer seasons. No?
12/8/23 @ 12:44 PM
User since 4/1/05
"It is also no secret that that same 1/3 of Wisconsin is also a nuclear wasteland for deer (or at least that is how many here are describing it) with exceptions of a few areas. So, you figure that 18-25% of that 35% wooded cover in Wisconsin falls in the northern part of the state and it is really more like Iowa has 7% and Wisconsin has 10-15% of suitable deer habitat comprised of woods."

Awesome point!  Really, if one would ​use the wolf density map from DNR and remove that portion from suitable deer habitat, it would be a much more accurate portrayal of the deer population.
12/8/23 @ 6:16 AM
User since 12/7/05

You mentioned that 7% of Iowa is wooded or listed as 'deer covered' while 35% of Wisconsin's landscape is wooded. Although these numbers SEEM (at face value) to be completely different, I don't think the gap between the two states is as big as you think. Most of Wisconsin north of Hwy 29 is woods with very little agriculture. I understand most lakes and surface water is also located up there, but my point is there aren't thousands of acres of farm fields up there. It is also no secret that that same 1/3 of Wisconsin is also a nuclear wasteland for deer (or at least that is how many here are describing it) with exceptions of a few areas. So, you figure that 18-25% of that 35% wooded cover in Wisconsin falls in the northern part of the state and it is really more like Iowa has 7% and Wisconsin has 10-15% of suitable deer habitat comprised of woods.

Iowa also does not have nearly the pressure Wisconsin has. Iowa has ~90,000 bowhunters annually and 225,000 - 250,000 gun hunters for a total of 330,000 - 350,000 combined annual license sales. Wisconsin's combined deer license sales are 770,000 - 780,000, not sure how many of those are archery hunters, but I would guess 200,000 +/-. So, although Wisconsin has slightly more wooded habitat, we also have over twice the hunting pressure that Iowa has. Kudos to them for having higher nonresident license fees and a draw to protect their resource. I have long said that our nonresident deer licenses should be either buck only or either-or and if NR hunters want to shoot antlerless deer, they can pay $12.00 or $15.00 for the antlerless tags to do so and/or limiting the 'free' public land tags to one per license. I also wouldn't be opposed to additional antlerless tags being $15.00 or $20.00 each. Not the ones that come with your license, only additional tags purchased (maybe only for public land tags?). That would have to be discussed, studied and figured out, but it would also be somewhat of a deterrent for those killing 5, 6 or 7 antlerless deer on public land. The extra license fees could be used for habitat improvement and improving food sources on public land.

I do not mean for anything I said to be offensive, but as stated in my previous post, Iowa and Wisconsin are apples and oranges when it comes to deer hunting. Pressure, habitat, agriculture/food sources and many other factors that work for management in one state cannot be applied in the other. I know on our land, I could shoot almost as many antlerless deer as I want in any given year because right across the road from our land are 2500 acres of land that is closed to hunting. Every night I watch HERDS of deer cross the road to feed in our ag fields. Crop damage permits and antlerless tags for everyone hunting in the area are usually filled and yet we don't seem to make a dent in the population. So when guys say that everyone needs to stop shooting antlerless deer, I kind of laugh because if we didn't shoot a LOT of does, they would eat us out of house and home! I also like to let my deer hang for a couple days before processing them. In southern WI, the temps in December are more conducive to allowing that than in October and November, so I prefer to use the December antlerless hunt and Holiday Hunt to harvest does. It goes back to what you mentioned earlier about knowing what works for you in your area.
12/7/23 @ 8:49 AM
User since 4/17/07
I am in the boat that registration rates are higher now than before. I love the new system, its so quick and easy. If anyone shot a deer early bow season in the heat and had to blood trail or let it sit of a while they know what I'm talking about. Sometimes by the time you get it out of the woods its 10 pm or midnight. Most places are closed and its hot out. I know people that never registered because of this. Cut it up and get it in the fridge. 

Like someone else said, sometimes the closest registration station was 30 or 45 minutes one way. Then you get there and it takes another 30 minutes to get the deer registered. So you are out 2 hours for something that takes 2 minutes plus all of the gas in the truck. What a pain in the a$$. 

Regarding the physical tag issue, I use to believe this was an issue as well. I was concerned guys would be shooting multiple bucks but now I don't think its any worse than before. Most guys when they shoot a buck they send out pictures/ texts of the deer. If they did this multiple times their friends would catch on. So the ones who would shoot more than one buck and not tell anyone are likely the same guys who were poaching years ago when we had tags and never told anyone. 
Displaying 46 to 60 of 154 posts

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