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 76 to 90 of 154 posts
12/1/23 @ 1:11 PM
User since 8/3/12

Here ya go, it's down towards the bottom. Yes, Vertical bow has decreased while xbow has increased. You will also notice that xbow has increased by more, than what vertical bow has decreased by. Haven't done the real deep dive on what that means yet, but its interesting anyway.
12/1/23 @ 1:09 PM
User since 8/3/12
Direwolf, gimme just a minute, i'll post links to the graphs.
12/1/23 @ 1:07 PM
PRO MEMBER User since 2/21/20
I haven't researched it but has the bow kill went down as the Xbow went up?
12/1/23 @ 12:45 PM
User since 8/3/12
Also, I agree, half the gun hunters in this state shouldn't be hunting because like you said, they are FAR from proficient with a rifle, but that is an entire different conversation LOL
12/1/23 @ 12:44 PM
User since 8/3/12
brews, good question on why I care. There is one main reason and it has nothing to do with my hunting at all. 

The main reason I care is the kill count. Every year except for one since xbows have been allowed has shown an increase in xbow kills. If this trend continues, which I believe it will, it will be unsustainable. When it was first introduced, there was to be a review period to study the effects of adding it in, unfortunately, due to the DNR goal of reducing deer numbers across the state, they disregarded the fact that xbows have been the ONLY weapon type since they have been introduced to have a year over year kill increase.

As far as legality, you are right it is legal to use. That doesn't mean it is what's right from a conservation standpoint. Just because its legal for me to go and shoot 8 does on public ground this year, doesn't mean its right, right?

As far as assuming why people are using xbows, I am not assuming at all. I was an archery tech by trade for years during the introduction of xbows, I sold and setup 1000's. I was also a competition shooter for years before 2 blown up shoulders, wife, and "real job" got in the way. I stopped because I wasn't able to practice as much as I felt I needed to in order to be competitive. While working as an archery tech during the beginning of xbows (I was full time for the first 3 years of it, part time for 1 after, and have since changed careers) I noticed the vast majority ( i forget the exact number, but I do recall it was about 70%) of people switching to xbows from compounds were doing it because "a xbow is easier". I actually kept a running tally of reasons for the changes, unfortunately i no longer have that. I didn't just ask people who wanted xbows why they wanted a change, i asked guys going from xbow to vertical bow, vertical bow to vertical bow, xbow to xbow, everyone, because that gave me a starting point on recommendations to make. So in this ase there is zero assumptions on my part as far as reasoning behind people making the change over. 

I get that it is legal, and anything that gets people hunting is a good thing. But we need to make sure we are doing the things that will keep people hunting for the next generations, the road we are on right now, if we continue down it spells dark days ahead for hunting and hunters. We have had 20 years of endless slaughter here, and every move the DNR makes only increases the chances of that slaughter continuing. One day those chickens are gonna come home. With the average age of hunters ever increasing, and everything else pulling at the younger generations attention these days, we need to be making changes that will increase the chances of setting the hook in younger people. The state of deer hunting in WI today is not one that will hook the younger generations. Kids would much rather play video games, or watch YouTube videos than sit for hours in the cold on public land and not see deer, and I can't really blame them for that.
12/1/23 @ 12:19 PM
User since 4/2/10
"My issue is 26 year olds who are fully healthy using an xbow because they are too LAZY to become proficient with a vertical bow. "
CM, appreciate you replying to everyone about their comments and I agree with you on most parts, but, this statement perfectly describes snobby behavior towards people who choose to use a legal weapon of their choice. What does it matter to you. It's legal, laws were passed to make it legal so leave it be. Also,  you do not know reasons someone chooses to use a crossbow, so you just assume they are lazy? Same could be said about gun hunters then. And not being proficient enough to use a compound bow? In that case half of the gun hunters wouldn't be hunting either because they sure aren't proficient with a rifle.
12/1/23 @ 12:15 PM
User since 4/1/05
Both Wisconsin and Iowa DNR big game "specialists" manage deer herds in their respective states.  Wisconsin has a single goal that they are spectacularly achieving for much of the state: control the deer population...that's it.  In addition to managing the population, Iowa manages for better deer hunting as evidenced by limiting non-resident licenses to 6,000 annually and charging >$650 a license to hunt, maintaining a trophy buck registration program within DNR and publishing this directly on its website to encourage growing trophies, and promotes QDM (shoot does and large bucks).  Our DNR, for the last couple of decades, only tells hunters there are too many deer and they need to be killed through whatever means necessary.....youth hunts, muzzleloader, Zone T, Holiday Hunt, earn-a-buck, free bonus tags, $2 tags, etc....and since private landowners don't tend to follow this thinking, most of the damage occurs on public land.
12/1/23 @ 11:42 AM
User since 8/3/12
JC-J-Bird-Sniper, great conversation, i appreciate the feedback on hunting up north since I am unfamiliar with that area of the state.

To start, I have ZERO ISSUES with people who physically can not use a vertical bow, using an xbow, NONE. My issue is 26 year olds who are fully healthy using an xbow because they are too LAZY to become proficient with a vertical bow. 

Robertwhite- Yes, shooting does when you know what your area can sustain is certainly ok. Shooting a pile of does on public land when you don't know if the herd can sustain it, how could that be OK? Maybe there are enough deer there to sustain it, maybe not. Just killing because the DNR says you can is NOT ok, and is a big part of the reason we are in this mess. We as hunters need to take responsibility for what we shoot, and understand the state of the herd in the areas we hunt, I don't see why this is a controversial thought to have.

Coach- Deer are definitely a different animal than they were in the past, and mature deer are an entirely different animal that young deer. All but one of my big bucks was the only deer seen in the area I killed them. They function entirely differently than deer 3.5 years old or younger. As far as in person registration, does some violating take place, I am sure it does. However, other states aren't garnering national attention over the decline of their deer herd/hunting. Wisconsin was the last state in the midwest to go to online registration, yet no other states are having this conversation. So, I ask, are Wisconsin hunters this bad(don't get me wrong, some days I think they are), or is something bigger at play here?

Drewster- Iowa uses lesser weapons because they have less pressure? How in the world does that make sense? You would think that would mean they could get away with using all rifles? Why are certain areas of Wisconsin shotgun only? Usually near towns with higher populations for safety reasons right? If anything, with the difference in population and pressure, Iowa should be the state using all rifles and Wisconsin should be using shotgun or straight wall only, but it's not that way because Iowa actually give a rats a$$ about the deer. As far as getting back to you when Iowa has the hunters that WI does, get back to me when Iowa has the habitat WI does. To put this in perspective, Iowa is 7% timbered ground or ground that could be considered "Covered habitiat" for deer. The state of Wisconsin is over 35% timber or "Covered habitat" I don't think WI has 5x the hunters, but is sure does have 5x the habitat.
As far as not having respect for the deer, yea, that's pretty obvious. I do find it funny how you say its easy to shoot an old buck. Spoken like someone with a garage full of dinks. Sorry, this will be my last response to you. I have no interest in having a conversation with someone who admits they have zero respect for the animal they hunt. 
12/1/23 @ 10:12 AM
User since 6/20/13
Bow hunting is no more noble or better than any other form of hunting.  Yet, it's snobby faithful sneer at the rest of us, just like fly anglers looking down their noses at worm-dunkers or spin anglers.  When I started deer hunting 46 years ago, we were fine (maybe better off) that bow hunting was just a few folks quietly going about their business, and gun season was special.  Now, bow hunters stink up the woods for 5 months and complain the rest of us are in their way.  Bow hunting should be open only during October and December for pre-rut and post rut hunts.  I believe that this would have little overall effect on hunter numbers -they might even increase again.

Drewster- I have been a gun and bow hunter for my whole life (over 40-50 years now). In fact every family member/hunting buddy I have participate in both. Don't know a single archery person who "sneers" at gun hunters but assume you have encountered them . There are a lot of things that have changed to impact the gun season and of course fewer deer in some parts of the state is one of them. Key factors impacting deer harvest numbers are predators up North (we all agree)..access to good hunting land for many (assume we agree).. public lands get over-hunted in the middle/southern parts of the state (assume we all agree). private land owners mainly sit (that is their right by the way) and deer are not pressured to move from private to public lands (assume most agree)..I am not a fan of all the extra seasons and hunting up to Jan31st in some areas( I think most agree). Too many extra free tags that some guys do use in certain parts of the state (assume most agree). Certainly the introduction of X-bows has increased deer taken during the archery season. ( Disclosure-I had to give up my regular bow 3 years ago due to stenosis in my neck and I appreciate I can use a cross-bow in the field)  

You keep mentioning we should not be hunting the rut. I had three different bucks (SE Wisc) chasing does during my sits last week. My brother in the Minocqua area shot a buck that was chasing a doe. Other guys on LL mentioned seeing rut activity last week. Yes the main rut is over by the gun season but some rutting still goes on (especially up North).. Should we not start the gun season until December??  

I love the solitude of the bow season (and hunting the rut). Like most hunters I know I am also pheasant/waterfowl/grouse hunting. Love watching hunting dogs as much as deer hunting so I am "stinking up the woods"  for months but it is not always in a deer stand. Quite frankly I mainly gun hunt for the tradition of being with family/friends but I still look forward to the gun season.. I do agree with some of your points and we all want the same thing on this thread.. A better overall gun season and experience.
12/1/23 @ 9:18 AM
User since 3/18/08
“…..what is their goal in you opinion….?"

Here’s the link to their goals:  Deer management | | Wisconsin DNR

Goals vary by which county you hunt in.

Copied from the link (under-lining is my own): "The DNR manages deer in consultation with each County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC), considering the hunting and recreational opportunities deer provide as well as their ecological and economic impacts".

My last sentence in my previous post was answering the original post from JC, where he stated that the DNR is succeeding at reaching their goals.  I’ll assume that he’s referring to the DNR’s objective to reduce deer numbers since the over-population hay days of the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  I agree that there are fewer deer now than compared to then....at least in my areas ;). 
11/30/23 @ 11:13 PM
User since 7/6/09

"Oh boy, first off, Bowhunting will never be closed in November. Think hunter numbers and kill numbers are bad now?"
Bow hunting is no more noble or better than any other form of hunting.  Yet, it's snobby faithful sneer at the rest of us, just like fly anglers looking down their noses at worm-dunkers or spin anglers.  When I started deer hunting 46 years ago, we were fine (maybe better off) that bow hunting was just a few folks quietly going about their business, and gun season was special.  Now, bow hunters stink up the woods for 5 months and complain the rest of us are in their way.  Bow hunting should be open only during October and December for pre-rut and post rut hunts.  I believe that this would have little overall effect on hunter numbers -they might even increase again.

"How about having some respect for the animal you are trying to take the life of?"
I reserve respect for people.  When I first meet someone, I extend respect to them out of courtesy.  If interactions with them erode that respect, I hit the ignore button.  If they earn more respect by being considerate, insightful, kind, or some other positive attribute, I continue the relationship and thank them.  Taking the life of a deer happens in a split second, and, for most hunters, involves the pull of a trigger.  Whether that trigger is on a bow release, a crossbow, or a gun is really immaterial.  I VALUE the privilege to hunt, I APPRECIATE the wonderful creatures that were created for us to live alongside, and I am GRATEFUL for the food our family gets from hunting and fishing, but those animals did nothing to merit respect.

Oh, and I forgot - it's real "respectful" to shoot a buck that's wandering around in a drunken love-lust stupor.

"If practicing and being proficient with a vertical bow is too hard or someone is too lazy to do it, they clearly don't put enough weight on taking something's life. And if vertical bows are so easy, then put the xgun down and use an easy vertical bow, but we both know that won't happen."

Why the hurt feelings?  I never said bow hunting was easy, just that it's ridiculous for some hunters to spend thousands of dollars on hunting equipment for themselves that make it really easy to shoot accurately, and then run someone down who chooses to use another method. There are many very good reasons people of all ages and abilities choose to hunt with the weapons they do, that are completely unrelated to ease, laziness, or lack of respect. Bow hunters do not have any higher ethics, skill, or fitness than any other hunters.  The only thing they may have more of is EGO.  Oh, and using derogatory language like "crossgun" - ouch, that's a real zinger!  Congratulations.

"The huge kill increase since xguns came on the scene should also be addressed, just because it's legal does not mean it is good for the deer,"
The deer don't care how they are killed, and neither should we.  Plain and simple - there has not been any overall increase in harvest, bucks, does, or total.  It has just shifted a bit to other weapons.

A few years ago Iowa opened their state to all rifles, before this it was shotgun and straight wall cartridges only. They ran it for one year and saw the kill count spike to unsustainable levels, the very next year, rifles were gone again and it was back to shotgun and straight walls only. But hey, what does Iowa know, it's only the best deer hunting on the planet.
When the number of hunters in our state falls to as few hunters as Iowa has, get back to me on that. The level of competition and hunting pressure is not comparable. It has little or nothing to do with the management policies.

Tender meat? HAHAHA!!! How are you cooking your venison if it is not tender? I ate the backstrap of a buck that was estimated at 6 years old, over 300 pounds live weight last night, i cut it with a spoon.
I'm not going to debate what age or size of deer is more tender.  If you like the meat you cook up, great.  I know I relish every morsel of the deer I cut up, even the ones I shoot that weigh nearly 500 lbs and were estimated at 17 years old.  Whatever.   My point, again, is don't tell the rest of us what to shoot. 
11/30/23 @ 9:18 PM
PRO MEMBER User since 7/8/11
It has to occur to folks that with "call or text in" registration, some "sportsman," are likely not registering their kills. Or.... Registering some but not all.... multiple bucks? I has walking on a road near my hunting property yesterday, orange hat only since I don't muzzle hunt, and swore there were multiple  rifle shots. We have made it very easy to poach.  Process your deer and do most processors know the difference between .50 caliber wound and shot slug or rifle?  Hard to know what the deer kill is anymore. Finally, doe are as or more elusive than bucks these days being hunted basically from September through January. The quarry we hunt is a different animal than 20 years ago. That said. Hope everyone enjoyed the hunt!
11/30/23 @ 6:14 PM
PRO MEMBER User since 1/18/07
Took this pic of a Northwoods trophy on what normally would be a well traveled gravel rd...
2023 Gun Numbers Released - DNR is succeeding in reaching their goal! photo by setterjack
11/30/23 @ 5:52 PM
User since 7/22/12
Robert, what is their goal in you opinion.  Serious question.
11/30/23 @ 5:40 PM
User since 3/18/08
Ok.  I’ll play devil’s advocate…..
“….but I would think that up there the bait that used to be placed was actually a form of sustenance for the deer that helped them get through winter. Bait sites are mostly hit at night anyway, but in an area with food scarcity, those bait sites were a consistent source of food that deer could use to fend off winter kill and starvation."
What just amazes me, is how in the world did the white-tailed deer manage to survive for 1,000’s of years without bait piles and food plots?  I wonder if deer today understand how lucky they are (as a species) that Europeans arrived on this continent and saved it with such great products as “Double Duty Deer Corn”? 
“My issue with the extra season isn't with the guy who understands the herd on his land and knows that there needs to be does shot to balance the buck/doe ratio, or to make sure there is enough food for winter. My issue is the guy who gest 10 buddies together and drives the hell out of every piece of public land they can get to, with ZERO regard or respect for the deer he hunts.”
Wait a minute….so reducing the deer herd to “make sure there is enough food for winter” is allowed?  But only on properties owned by the "guy who understands"?
And yes….I agree that the DNR is succeeding at reaching their goal.  
Displaying 76 to 90 of 154 posts

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