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Deer council recommendations sent to state

Following a public input survey, the Douglas County Deer Advisory Council's recommendations for splitting the current county-wide deer management unit (DMU) into three and increasing herd size over the next three years have moved on to the Natural Resources Board, which will decide whether to allow the changes.

According to CDAC chairman Al Horvath, about eight of the state's 72 counties are recommending boundary changes.

The Douglas County survey received 138 responses, the second-highest number of responses in the state, according to Horvath.

"We have always been in the top two counties in survey participation," he said.

Of those who responded, 65 percent supported splitting the county into smaller DMUs, while 18 percent opposed it. The other 17 percent had no opinion.

More than 70 percent of recipients strongly agreed with the recommendation to increase the deer population in each of the proposed units; 79 percent agreed with the recommendation to increase the deer numbers countywide, but to maintain the current population in the metro subunit that surrounds Superior.

On average, survey respondents had 32 years of experience in Douglas County. Their top concerns included having enough deer to provide hunters a reasonable chance for harvest, influence of predators on deer numbers, hunter satisfaction with the number of deer and the contribution of hunting tourism to the local economy.

The council won't meet again until spring 2018. At that time, the council will decide on antlerless quotas and permits for the 2018 deer season.