Friday, January 27th, 2023
Friday, January 27th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

‘Pre-qualify’ for EAB likely on the way

By Dean
Bortz
Editor

Madison — Bowhunters and Conservation Congress Big Game
Committee members have been asking for some way to “pre-qualify”
for an earn-a-buck (EAB) sticker for about three years. With any
support at 10 October deer hearings, those hunters will see that
process begin in 2005.

DNR deer ecologist Keith Warnke has been working on developing
some kind of EAB pre-qualification system for a year or so. Earlier
this year, Warnke discovered the DNR can hire a subcontractor for
$50,000 to $60,000 per year to accept mailed-in registration stubs
from registration stations. That contractor will then enter the
information from those stubs to create a database.

“It will cost us a little money,” Warnke said, “but we can weigh
that against the miles saved by driving to the stations to pick up
the stubs.

“This year we decided to – instead of having wildlife biologists
driving out to pick up stubs and sorting through them by hand – pay
a contractor to enter the stubs into a database. Then by March or
so, if we end up recommending EAB units for 2006 and the board
approves those EAB units, we can go to the database and issue
anyone who shot an antlerless deer in 2005 a validation for
2006.

“There is no reason we shouldn’t be able to do something like
that,” he said.

Warnke said the new system also will offer an advantage to
hunters and the media, because harvest totals can be updated by
county and unit periodically throughout the season to provide a
summary of what deer were killed where and on what day.

That will be available because registration stations will be
asked to make regular mailings of harvest stubs to the
contractor.

Conservation Congress chairman Steve Oestreicher, of Harshaw,
expects the EAB validation system to fall into place, but he said
hunters should be aware that this new idea will be up for public
comment at 10 deer hearings in October.

Those hearings also will cover the proposed 2006 deer season
framework that could place a moratorium on the October Zone T
season by replacing it with a December Zone T season.

Although the DNR is willing to forego the October Zone T season
in 2006 as part of an experiment to see if hunters can kill enough
antlerless deer in November and December, Warnke and Oestreicher
said EAB is still possible in 2006.

“We are faced with the potential of having some EAB in 2006 –
units that have been in Zone T two or more consecutive years – so
hunters will want to attend the October hearings,” Oestreicher
said.

He said hunters also will want to attend the October hearings to
comment on a proposal from Natural Resources Board member Herb
Behnke for a 19-day deer baiting and feeding ban starting in
November of 2006. Behnke said if the board and DNR agree to the
October Zone T moratorium for 2006, hunters must have every
opportunity to kill deer during the gun season. He said that means
taking the extra feed away from deer so they have to get up and
move around to find their own groceries.

“Hunters also are going to want to weigh in on Herb’s proposal
for 19-day suspension on baiting and feeding. We want to hear what
people have to say about it,” Oestreicher said. “We do have to try
to get deer moving on private property so there is a more even
distribution.”

Warnke said the October hearings have yet to be set, but he
knows that all 10 will take place between Oct. 11 and Oct. 20. He
also knows the Green Bay hearing will be Oct. 11, but a location
and time have not yet been selected.

There will be no EAB outside the CWD zones in 2005, but Warnke
said there’s a watch list of 39 units for 2006 because this is the
second consecutive year these units have been designated as Zone
T.

In 2005, the second-year Zone T units are: 22A, 23, 24, 25, 27,
46, 47, 51A, 51B, 54B, 54C, 57, 57B, 59B, 59C, 59M, 60B, 60M, 61,
62A, 62B, 63A, 63B, 64, 64M, 65A, 65B, 66, 67A, 67B, 68A, 68B, 74A,
77C, 77M, 78, 80A, 80B, 81.

A hunter who kills an antlerless deer in any of these units will
earn a 2006 buck sticker for the unit should EAB be put in place in
that unit next year. If a hunter registers an antlerless deer at
any time during any season from a second-year Zone T unit in 2005,
that hunter will be mailed a buck kill sticker valid in any non-CWD
EAB unit the following year, Warnke said.

Wildlife officials have designated a total of 44 deer management
units as Zone T in 2005. These units will have an additional
four-day antlerless only gun hunt Oct. 27-30 and those units south
of Hwy. 8 will also have a Dec. 8-11 four-day antlerless only gun
hunt.

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