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DNR Says No Does For Hunters Up North

Michele Woodford
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The DNR is proposing a buck-only hunt for most northern counties.  That’s in response to a harsh winter and high deer mortality.

DNR Big Game Ecologist Kevin Wallenfang says not hunting does will give the deer herd a chance to rebound.

“This year the real obvious reason behind it is because we’ve had a very severe winter. We do several methods of measuring winter and the impacts it has on deer…you don’t need to be a scientist to know that we’ve had a tough winter in the north this year, and it’s going to impact deer hunters.”

Buck-only hunts would take place in 19 counties and four tribal reservations.  That includes the entire Northern Forest Zone except for Marinette County and the Superior metropolitan subunit. 

Wallenfang says he expects hunters to be supportive of the plan.  A DNR survey found that 39 percent of respondents within the Northern Forest Zone supported a buck-only hunt for this year. 

“Wisconsin deer hunters are very passionate about their deer hunting. For many people, they gauge the quality of their hunting experience on the deer that they see, not necessarily shooting a deer. They like to see deer, and so this is an effort to try to boost those population levels back up.”

Disabled, youth, military personnel and tribal members could still shoot does. 

The Natural Resources Board will take up the proposal later this month.

In Oneida County last fall, more than 1800 anterless deer were taken in gun and bow seasons.  In Vilas county, that total was more than 1200.  

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