CWD zones to offer either-sex bowhunt

Staff Report

Madison — Archers hunting deer in CWD zones this fall will not
be restricted by earn-a-buck requirements early in the 2005 bow
season.

Earn-a-buck rules have been relaxed this year, and bowhunters in
CWD units will be able to shoot a deer of either sex when the bow
season opens statewide on Saturday, Sept. 17 for the early archery
season

When DNR officials first began talking about the 2005 CWD deer
season framework, the idea was to allow either-sex deer hunting as
the rifle season continued in late November. Conservation Congress
officials suggested that similar considerations be offered to
bowhunters. The DNR and Conservation Congress agreed on a
compromise that will allow some either-sex deer hunting in CWD
units while still requiring earn-a-buck hunting during certain
times of the season.

“Compromise modification” to the CWD rule “provides for both bow
and gun hunters alike and gives both an either-sex option equally,”
said Conservation Congress chairman Steve Oestreicher, of
Harshaw.

Under the DNR’s initial proposal, bowhunters in CWD zones would
have opened the season with earn-a-buck requirements. The season
framework would have switched to either-sex hunting beginning the
Saturday before Thanksgiving, during the latter part of the gun
season.

Bill VanderZouwen, DNR chief of the Wildlife and Landscape
Ecology Section, also described the agency’s proposals as a
compromise in light of the agency’s philosophy that “CWD control is
more important than short-term recreational issues.”

VanderZouwen said the DNR was not opposed to the Congress’
bowhunting season alternative. Going into the fall deer seasons,
hunters in the CWD zones will have either-sex bowhunting from Sept.
17 through Oct. 26; either-sex hunting for both gun and bow from
Nov. 19 through Jan. 3; and a short five-day season split of the
gun season in the two disease eradication zones (DEZ) prior to the
Nov. 19 traditional gun deer season opening day.

“Statewide surveys continue to show that 70 to 80 percent of
Wisconsin hunters think CWD should be eliminated from the wild deer
herd, but that doesn’t mean that 70 to 80 percent are in lock-step
with how we are going about it. We have to continue to learn and
adapt,” said DNR CWD project leader Alan Crossley.

He added that it’s important to stay the course toward
eradicating CWD from Wisconsin’s wild deer herd because:

  • There is no scientific evidence that CWD will “burn itself out”
    if left alone.
  • Virtually all white-tailed deer in Wisconsin are genetically
    susceptible to CWD.
  • A simulation model suggests that if left unmanaged during the
    next 10 to 30 years, CWD will spread throughout the state and
    disease prevalence will increase to more than 40 percent of adult
    deer.
  • Hunter surveys suggest nearly half would stop hunting if
    prevalence increases to 50 percent.

Hunting regulation changes in CWD units from 2004 to the 2005
season include:

  • Expanding the two DEZs in southwest and southeast Wisconsin
    around newly identified CWD-positive deer.
  • Removing most of the Richland County portion from the western
    DEZ.
  • Expanding the CWD Herd Reduction Zone (HRZ) to include all of
    Unit 76A.
  • Creating a five-day split in both DEZ gun seasons so that there
    is no gun deer hunting five days prior to the Saturday before
    Thanksgiving, the “traditional” deer season opener.
  • Allowing an antlerless deer shot in any earn-a-buck unit to be
    used to earn an antlered buck tag in any EAB unit.
  • Establishing a deer season for Belmont Mound State Park, which
    is located in the HRZ.

The bow and gun seasons for the DEZs and HRZ this fall are:

  • Gun Disease Eradication Zone, Oct. 27 through Nov. 13
    earn-a-buck; Nov. 19 through Jan. 3, either sex.
  • Gun Herd Reduction Zone, Oct. 27-30, earn-a-buck; Nov. 19
    through Jan. 3, either sex.
  • Archery Disease Eradication Zone and Herd Reduction Zone, Sept.
    17 through Oct. 26, either sex, Oct. 27 through Nov. 18,
    earn-a-buck, Nov. 19 through Jan. 3, either sex.

2005 CWD testing

The DNR again plans to test hunter-shot deer for CWD, with most
of the effort focused in the CWD zones and in areas where
CWD-positive deer have been found on game farms. The DNR also will
rotate testing through other regions of the state each year,
beginning with the Northeast Region this fall. The goal in the
Northeast Region is to gather 500 samples per unit, the same as in
2002, to achieve a 95 percent confidence of detecting the disease
at a 1-percent prevalence rate.

Other testing objectives include:

  • Portage County within a 10-mile radius of the Hall farm and
    Crawford County within a 10-mile radius of the Christenson
    farm.
  • With focus on the HRZ, also collect samples from adjacent
    Waukesha, Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha counties.
  • Continue liaison efforts with tribal leaders to add samples
    collected in their jurisdictions to the DNR CWD database
  • In the Herd Reduction Zone, the DNR has a goal of 99 percent
    confidence of detecting CWD if 20 to 50 deer were infected. The DNR
    almost reached that goal in all sampling units (70B, 70E, 75A, 75C,
    76M marginally below this target) during the previous three
    seasons.
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