Thursday, January 26th, 2023
Thursday, January 26th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Zone T take is more than 67,000

Madison Hunters from the October Zone T season exceeded
biologists’ expectations by tagging 67,241 antlerless deer during
the special four-day season.

“I’m very happy with the numbers,” said Bill Mytton of Madison,
the DNR’s state deer ecologist. “My guesstimate’ heading into the
Zone T season was a little less than that.”

Mytton was a bit disappointed in the level of hunter
participation in southern Wisconsin, where the DNR has been
struggling to get deer numbers down to over-winter goals.

Of the 67,241 does registered, the Northern Forest Region
accounted for 30,067 deer, or just less than half of the statewide
total.

Wildlife manager Ron Eckstein of Rhinelander tracked the
registrations of about 5,000 does and fawns.

“Based on those 5,000 deer, 53 percent of the 30,067 registered
in the north would have been adult does,” he said. “Another 23
percent were doe fawns and 24 percent were buck fawns.

“About 1 percent of all deer registered were legal’ antlerless
bucks because they didn’t have 3-inch spikes.”

Oneida County led the state with 3,363 Zone T deer. Vilas County
was No. 2 with 2,659 and Bayfield County was third with 2,510
deer.

For comparison, in 1999, in Oneida County (all seasons and all
firearms), hunters shot 7,700 antlerless deer. This year, in just
in the October Zone T season, hunters have taken 44 percent of 1999
antlerless harvest.

“We still have to add bow, deer gun and tribal for this year. At
least for Oneida and probably Vilas counties, Zone T is making a
difference,” Eckstein said.

“Now, questions remain whether hunters, during the regular gun
season starting Nov. 18, will say, OK, I shot an antlerless deer
and now I’m hunting bucks.’ We don’t know if hunters will continue
shooting antlerless deer,” Eckstein said.

He also looked at who shot Zone T deer.

“I looked at 930 stubs of deer registered at Rhinelander. Based
on the telephone exchange, more than 64 percent were local (in
county) and 36 percent were from 920 and 414 area codes. Some of
those people from out of the area may be lake people,’ in that they
were up here closing down their cabins or second homes and they
also went deer hunting,” he said.

Mytton and Eckstein both said hunters reported enjoying the warm
weather that accompanied the special season. Mytton took part in
Gov. Tommy Thompson’s youth hunt in the Hayward area. He hunted
private land and said three of four hunters in his group shot
deer.

“All indications are that we will at least equal last year’s
record harvest and should exceed it, moving us closer to population
goals,” Mytton said.

Wisconsin has extended gun deer hunting several times over the
last decade to control high deer number in farmland units.This
year, 86 of Wisconsin’s 132 deer units were open for the early gun
hunt and for the first time some central and northern units are
included.

The highest previous Zone T harvest was about 25,000 deer in 19
units in 1996, but there was an “earn-a-buck”requirement for those
units. In 1999, 6,990 deer were taken in eight units.

Mytton heard positive comments from hunters who participated in
a Zone T season for the first time.

“My impression was that participation was outstanding. I
traveled hundreds of miles across the state those four days and I
was shocked to see how many people were out,” he said.

Darrel Schumacher of Germantown traveled to the Sayner area of
Boulder Junction for the Zone T season. He brought with him two
youngsters, Bobby Hall, 14, and Shane Hall, 8. They hunted together
in the Northern Highland State Forest, with young Shane toting a BB
gun.

“I thought this would be a good time to get Bobby out for his
first deer hunt the weather is warmer, there are fewer people
around, just a chance to get out,” Schumacher said.

Young Shane saw the first doe, but Bobby missed his first shot
at a deer.

“This is fun,” Bobby Hall said. “I have never hunted deer
before, but I’m going to go in December, too.”

Mytton acknowledged that there were problems with the Zone T
hunt.

“I’ve heard them all mostly with bucks being shot. I’ve found in
four years of Zone T that the first year is the worst year. As
people get used to it, situations improve,” Mytton said.

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