GOP legislators introduce bill to suspend northern Wisconsin doe hunt in attempt to regrow herd
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A group of Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill that would prohibit hunters from killing antlerless deer in northern Wisconsin for several years in an attempt to preserve does and regrow the region’s herd.
Hunters in the state's Northern Forest Hunting Zone have complained for years that the number of deer roaming the landscape has been dwindling. The zone includes roughly the northern third of the state.
Hunters killed 14.7% fewer bucks in the zone during November’s nine-day gun season compared to the five-year average, according to state Department of Natural Resources harvest totals. The doe harvest in the zone was down 27.2% from the five-year-average.
DNR wildlife officials have blamed a harsh 2022-23 winter for reduced deer numbers. Hunters maintain that wolves are decimating the region's deer herd.
Under the bill Reps. Chanz Green, Angie Sapik, Rob Swearingen and Calvin Callahan and Sen. Romaine Quinn introduced Wednesday, hunters would be prohibited from killing an antlerless deer in the northern zone for four years. The idea is to preserve as many does as possible in hopes they'll reproduce, bolster the region's population and give hunters more targets in the future.
“We want future generations to enjoy the tradition of hunting in Northern Wisconsin, and this bill is a good start to making that happen,” the legislators said in a memo to their colleagues seeking co-sponsors.