WISCONSINREPORT.COM (11/28/07) - Hunters registered a preliminary total of 343,644 deer during Wisconsin’s regular nine-day gun deer season. Wildlife officials stress that this is a preliminary figure that will change somewhat. The 2007 harvest showed 125,060 bucks and 218,584 antlerless deer registered. This computes to a 6 percent increase in antlerless deer harvest and a 3.5 percent decline in buck harvest over 2006. Officials also reported a total of 641,432 gun deer licenses were purchased by resident and nonresident hunters.
“All in all, things came together nicely for this year’s hunt,” said Keith Warnke, DNR deer ecologist. “It’s too early to evaluate how the kill will impact individual deer management units, until we have final harvest figures for all seasons, but it looks like deer hunters are enjoying this year’s hunting and filling their freezers.”
It’s not too late for hunters to get out and enjoy the hunt, according to Warnke. The muzzleloader season which opened Nov. 26 continues through Dec. 5 and there is a statewide antlerless gun deer hunt Dec. 6 - 9. The late archery season also opened on Nov. 26 and runs through Jan 6. Unlimited Earn-a-Buck hunting continues in chronic wasting disease (CWD) management zones through Dec. 9.
Landowners in the CWD zones may continue to hunt through March 31 with a CWD landowner’s permit. With landowner permission, other hunters also may hunt through March 31 on the landowner’s property.
Hunter participation in the Dec 6 -9 antlerless hunt can have an impact on the number of future Earn-a-Buck (EAB) units in 2008 say wildlife officials. A heavy antlerless kill in EAB “watch units” which include all current EAB units plus the following units 1, 1M, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12,13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 30, 36, 51A, 51B, 52, 53, 54A, 55, 57, 57A, 57C, 58, 59A, 59D, 60B, 72, 73B, 73D, 74B, and 77M. will be one factor in determining the hunting rules in these units in 2008.
“We won’t know the full effect of the seasons until after the unit specific harvest is all tallied for all deer management units,” said Warnke. “However, I strongly encourage hunters to participate in the December antlerless gun hunt.”
"Not only can hunters add meat to the freezer or donate it to the food pantry program, the December gun hunt is a great opportunity to prequalify for a buck harvest authorization for the 2008 season," says Warnke, who reminds hunters to hang on to the green buck sticker they’ll get for bringing in an antlerless deer from any earn-a-buck unit. The sticker will also be valid in any 2008 earn-a-buck unit during any deer hunting season. If lost, the stickers will not be replaced.
Hunters registering antlerless deer from units that are not in earn-a-buck this year but are next year will receive a buck sticker in the mail over the summer.
The venison donation program runs through Jan. 6 statewide outside of CWD units. Hunters in CWD units are advised to call ahead to meat processors to learn if they can still accept deer.