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Vilas County final antlerless quota recommendation increased

Deer captured on a trail camera near Rhinelander
John Burton
Deer captured on a trail camera near Rhinelander

The Vilas County Deer Advisory Council made its final recommendation last week on antlerless harvest for the 2022 deer season at their meeting in Boulder Junction.

It’s an increase from their preliminary recommendation and also adjusted the distribution for private and public lands.

After discussion of over two hours looking at 232 written comments and receiving a number of verbal comments from those attending the meeting, the advisory council approved increasing the proposed antlerless quota harvest from 550 to 750. The also adjusted the distribution from 70% for public lands and 30% to private lands to 50% for each. The stated deer goal of the council is to maintain the deer herd in Vilas County.

Area DNR wildlife biologist Michele Woodford indicated with an anticipated 30% success rate there would be 1,250 tags available for each land type depending on what the Natural Resources Board approves at their June meeting.

Junior antlerless permits were narrowly supported 26-24 but allowing antlerless harvest only was rejected 9-43.

Of the written comments, 99 were residents of Vilas County, 118 were residents of Wisconsin, and eight were non-residents. Of the preliminary recommendation of 550, 99 supported it and 127 opposed.

The popularity of having antlerless permits available is evident in the very short time they are become sold out. Last August the 2021 permits for private land sold out in 12 minutes and for public land in nine minutes.

Woodford indicated when we had deer management units the deer population was around 15-17 deer per square mile. She said the present population is estimated at 18,785 or around 21 per square mile of deer range. But again, deer are not uniformly distributed.

Public comments at the meeting had to do with overpopulation of deer in the residential areas of Arbor Vitae and the need to have successful hunters indicate the municipality they harvested a deer.

The recommendation will be forwarded to DNR staff who will forward it to the Natural Resources

Board who will make the final determination of antlerless quota for Vilas and other counties at their June board meeting.

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