For the second consecutive year, the Douglas County Deer Advisory Committee has backed off a preliminary plan to nearly eliminate antlerless deer permits for the upcoming hunting season, instead opting to offer about 1,000 antlerless permits to general hunters.
The committee finalized its recommendations on May 7 to offer 400 public land permits and another 600 permits for private land hunters.
Based on Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimates of hunter success, that should mean about 400 antlerless deer taken by general hunters in 2020 seasons. Additional antlerless permits also will be offered in the city of Superior as well as to youth hunters, military hunters and tribal hunters.
The committee in April had tentatively proposed offering no general antlerless permits in order to build up the county’s deer herd that many hunters said is currently below their expectations.
The committee’s recommendations are likely to be approved by the state Natural Resources Board and made official at the board’s June 23 meeting, said Greg Kessler, DNR wildlife biologist based in Brule.
Alan Horvath, chairman of the committee, said there were 579 responses to formal survey questions asked of hunters and another 352 written comments on the committee’s plan.
“Due to the response of people who hunt in our county, we adjusted our goals in an attempt to meet their needs, while seeking to balance the deer herd, ecological and forestry concerns, and honor our goal of increasing the deer herd,” Horvath said. “Everyone won't be pleased with this decision, but I believe it was the right decision.”