Newspaper: Deer hunts in past decade were success
By: By Doug Schneider, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Superior Telegram
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The past decade produced some of the most-successful deer hunts in Wisconsin history, despite low deer-harvest numbers from 2009 and complaints from some critics who argue that the state's management of its deer herd needs to be overhauled.
An analysis published Sunday in Gannett Wisconsin Media newspapers determined hunters enjoyed some of their most-successful campaigns, even as the growth of suburbs consumed acres of traditional deer habitat and Chronic Wasting Disease gained a foothold in rural southern Wisconsin.
The newspaper group analysis, which used figures from the state Department of Natural Resources to compare the number of deer taken against the number of licenses issued, shows that six times during the decade, hunters bagged 60 or more deer per 100 licenses issued during Wisconsin's gun-deer season.
Such success rates had rarely been seen before 2000.
The DNR, which is tasked with managing Wisconsin's deer herd, has often been the target of criticism from hunters who believe that the number of deer is shrinking, and that DNR has been over-aggressive in responding to Chronic Wasting Disease. That criticism swelled again in the past year, when the take during the 2009 gun-deer season fell more than 30 percent, to its lowest level since 1993, and 82 percent of hunters in a DNR survey reported "low" or "very low" satisfaction.
The gun-deer harvest rebounded somewhat during 2010 according to figures DNR released this past week, but not all hunters are happy. Lloyd Voss of Fond du Lac said it used to be common to see 10 to 15 deer a day during the state's nine-day gun hunt in late November.
"Now, you're lucky if you see a total of six or eight the whole time," said Voss, 62, who has hunted for his entire adult life.
The prevalence of Chronic Wasting Disease, meanwhile, hit a new high for the state in 2010 and prompted renewed concerns from DNR. CWD, first seen in Wisconsin deer in 2002, was recorded in 218 deer last year.
"Ultimately it could reduce deer numbers to a level that would significantly reduce hunting permanently," said Davin Lopez, a DNR biologist who heads the agency's Chronic Wasting Disease team.
The Gannett Wisconsin Media newspapers' report can be found at: http://bit.ly/gicdPn
Information from: Green Bay Press-Gazette, http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com