Madison – The controversial October antlerless gun deer season
is back on the books.
The Natural Resources Board approved a 2008 statewide framework
that offers a four-day antlerless-only gun season Oct. 16-19 this
year. The board approved the season despite objections from some
hunters and a few non-hunters who were concerned that gun hunting
in the Kettle Moraine State Forest could endanger the safety of
people enjoying the fall colors that weekend.
David Vogt, of Fitchburg, representing the Bicycle Federation of
Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Off-Road Bicycling Association, told
board members that October is one of the best months to ride
bicycles because of the weather and lack of insects.
“We are not opposed to hunting,” Vogt said. “We respect their
rights and we hope hunters respect ours. We do not expect exclusive
rights (to using public land), but we object to the October (gun
season). It would hurt off-road biking.”
NRB member Gerald O’Brien asked Vogt how many months a year he
can ride his bike.
“Twelve,” he said.
In not responding to Vogt’s answer, O’Brien made his point that
there are more days to ride bicycles on state land than there are
days to hunt deer.
The 2008 seasons should be familiar to hunters by now. Units
move in and out of herd-control status and earn-a-buck every year,
so while units might change, the classifications do not. The DNR
did move several units out of herd-control and into “buck plus
quota” status, mostly because of the extended winter in northern
Fifty-six units will be in herd control; 35 units will have
The Oct. 16-19 antlerless-only season will be offered in 87
units outside of the CWD zone.
None of the Central Forest Region units are in the October hunt
because hunters in those units met the 2:1 doe-to-buck ratio agreed
upon for a two-year trial that ran in 2006 and 2007. In his
presentation to the NRB, DNR Deer Ecologist Keith Warnke noted that
Central Forest hunters actually were at 1.95 does to one buck, but
that was close enough to bypass the October season.
During that two-year trial, the DNR moved the four-day season
from October to December, with the caveat that the October season
could return in 2008 if hunters did not reach the
two-does-for-one-buck benchmark outside of CWD units. Warnke noted
that if the Central Forest units ever fall below the 2:1 level,
they can be returned to an October season, as well.
Hunters should be aware that the December four-day antlerless
deer season remains in effect.