DNR announces deer harvest figuresMADISON — The Department of Natural Resources recently announced the most up to date 2008 deer harvest numbers as well as preliminary proposed changes to the season structure.
By: Wisconsin DNR, Superior Telegram
MADISON — The Department of Natural Resources recently announced the most up to date 2008 deer harvest numbers as well as preliminary proposed changes to the season structure. The preliminary numbers show a total statewide harvest of 451,885 deer in 2008, a decline of 13 percent from 2007. The preliminary numbers also show a significant decrease in the north where 25 percent fewer deer were harvested in 2008.
“The deer harvest in Wisconsin was down in 2008, as it was in neighboring states,” said Keith Warnke, DNR big game specialist. “The 2008 fawn production numbers are now final and give us a better understanding of the harsh winter weather and cool late spring’s impact on last year’s season.
“Based on the data now available, there will be limited if any herd control in northern Wisconsin,” said Warnke. “We are proposing earn-a-buck in some southern units where it is needed to achieve a healthy population goal. During our deer management meetings we will ask hunters in some northeast areas about eliminating the antlerless hunt for units where we are significantly below a healthy population goal.”
While Wisconsin saw a 13 percent total harvest decrease in 2008, Minnesota saw a 19 percent total harvest decrease and Michigan saw around a 20 percent harvest decrease in the Upper Peninsula. Even with the total harvest decrease, Wisconsin still likely had the largest harvest in the region and one of the largest in the nation.
The harvest results vary regionally around the state with the deer population in northeastern Wisconsin generally below goal, near goal in northwestern and central Wisconsin and remaining well above goal in the farmland areas of the state, although populations there are moving downward.
“We have come much closer to a healthy population goal in many units,” said Warnke. “For the long term health of the deer population and to preserve hunting opportunities for future generations we will manage these units and work to get more units to goals in the future.”
“The next step is to collect information from hunters at the upcoming deer management meetings, through our statistically significant mail survey and our new online survey,” Warnke continued. “The information will be pulled together and used to make final recommendations to the Natural Resources Board in late April.”
Local herd status meetings
• March 25 — Douglas County (DMUs 1, 1M, 2, 4, 8, 9) at Superior Public Library, 1530 Tower Ave., Superior from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wildlife biologist Greg Kessler will be present and can be contacted at (715) 372-8539, ext. 115.
• March 19 — Bayfield and Douglas counties (DMUs 2, 3, 6, 9) at the Iron River Community Center, U.S. Highway 2, Iron River beginning at 6 p.m. with Greg Kessler.