Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Sunday, January 29th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Four-day antlerless deer season Oct. 16-19

DNR Reports

Madison – Wisconsin’s October antlerless deer gun hunt will be
open in most deer units from Oct. 16-19.

DNR deer ecologist Keith Warnke said the return of the October
antlerless deer season will give hunters an opportunity to harvest
extra deer under mild conditions, donate deer to food banks, and
qualify for earn-a-buck (EAB) authorization prior to the
traditional November nine-day gun deer hunt.

During the Oct. 16-19 hunt, only antlerless deer may be
harvested. The hunt will take place in most deer units statewide.
The only exceptions are deer units with limited antlerless deer
quotas (those units without any shading or striping on the map) and
the Central Forest deer management region (white with black dots),
where hunters met a benchmark 2:1 antlerless deer to antlered deer
harvest ratio in herd control units over the 2006-07 seasons. If
the antlerless-to-buck ratio between the archery and gun seasons
does not meet 2:1 during the 2008 season in the Central Forest
Region (units 53, 54A, 55, 56, and 58), the October hunt will
return in those units in 2009, Warnke said.

October gun deer hunting had been under a two-year trial
moratorium that ended when hunters in most regions did not meet the
2:1 antlerless-to-antlered deer harvest ratio designed to pressure
deer populations down, closer to unit population goals. The October
season is very effective in moving deer populations toward goals by
targeting antlerless, or mainly female, deer, Warnke said.

“October is a great time to hunt for folks who have trouble with
cold conditions,” Warnke said. “It’s also a great way to qualify
for earn-a-buck for those hunters who hunt in EAB units and want to
have a buck sticker in their pocket on opening day during the
November nine-day hunt.”

Besides gun deer hunters, many other hunters will be in the
woods and fields during the October gun deer hunt. All hunters,
except waterfowl hunters, are reminded that blaze orange
requirements are in effect during all gun deer seasons, Warnke
said. Hunters and other outdoor recreationalists should be aware of
these other user groups and should respect others’ activities as
they wish their activity to be respected by others.

Biologists estimate the 2008 pre-hunt deer population at between
1.5 and 1.7 million animals.

Additional information on antlerless deer tags and EAB
authorizations, including a map of deer units, is in the 2008
regulations pamphlet.

Wildlife managers remind hunters of the statewide venison
donation programs available in both the CWD management units and
non-CWD units. Since 2000 hunters have donated more than 2.8
million pounds of venison to the program, which makes the meat
available to needy families.

A list of deer drop-off sites is being updated weekly as meat
processors sign-on to participate. All hunters must do to donate to
the program is harvest, tag, and register a deer as they normally
would, then transport the deer to a participating processor. There
is no charge to the hunter. It is suggested that hunters call ahead
to the processor to verify hours of operation and capacity.

EAB units

Hunters in any of the 57 units under EAB rules for 2008 must
“earn” a buck sticker authorizing them to shoot a buck by first
shooting an antlerless deer.

Hunters can meet this requirement in several ways. They can
shoot an antlerless deer during the early archery deer hunt, or
during the Oct. 16-19 antlerless-only deer gun hunt, or they can
use an unused buck sticker from the 2007 season. Hunters may also
tag an antlerless deer and then harvest a buck, which may accompany
the antlerless deer upon registration, as long as they are tagged
by the same hunter registering both deer.

Under a program started in 2006, some hunters may be
pre-qualified for a buck sticker by virtue of having killed and
registered an antlerless deer last year in a deer unit that is
under EAB rules this year. This includes more than 113,000
registered antlerless deer from 2007 EAB and CWD units, which
earned hunters “green” 2007-08 buck authorization stickers. These
stickers were awarded to hunters upon deer registration and are
still valid in 2008 if they were not used to tag a buck during the
remainder of the 2007 deer season. An EAB buck sticker is good in
any EAB or CWD unit, regardless of where the sticker was
earned.

If the unit where the antlerless deer was killed was not EAB in
2007 but is under EAB in 2008, the hunter should be in the EAB
prequalification database. Hunters in this category will be mailed
a buck sticker. Mailing began in August, and more than 16,000
stickers were mailed to hunters who harvested deer from at least
one of eight deer units during the 2007 season that are under EAB
rules in 2008.

Hunters who believe they have pre-qualified for a buck sticker
in one of these units can check their status over the Internet.

Hunters need their DNR customer number when they go online to
the deer hunting page of the DNR web site and click on the link for
“EAB Pre-qualification Status” and follow the instructions to check
on your authorization.

The on-line check allows hunters to determine if their
information is in the database to receive a buck sticker for the
2008 EAB season.

Hunters should be in this database if they registered an
antlerless deer in 2007 in any unit that was not EAB 2007 and is
EAB in 2008.

“Hunters should not wait until the last minute to check their
status,” Warnke said. “No one wants to be scrambling for a sticker
the week before the opener.”

Repeat EAB units

Units that had EAB last year and again this fall include: 22A,
54B, 54C, 59B, 59C, 59M, 60M, 61, 61A, 62B, 63A, 64, 64A, 64M, 65B,
66, 67A, 67B, 68A, 68B, 74A, 77C, 77D, 80A, 80B, 80C, 81 and all
CWD units.

The sticker a hunter received last fall is the sticker needed
for this hunting season. Hunters who used all of their buck
stickers last fall or did not kill any antlerless deer in these
units last fall will need to register an antlerless deer in an EAB
or CWD unit this year to get a buck sticker.

EAB ‘watch list’

Hunters looking ahead to the 2009 seasons can get an idea of
which units might be in EAB next year by checking out the EAB watch
list.

Based on population trends, deer unit history and harvest
history, deer managers have created an EAB watch list. These are
deer units that potentially could be designated as EAB in 2009.
Hunters harvesting and registering an antlerless deer in these
units in 2008 will pre-qualify for a buck authorization sticker if
the unit is designated as EAB in 2009.

Because harvest information is taken directly off deer
registration stubs, hunters are reminded to completely fill out the
registration stub if they want to receive a buck sticker in
2009.

The following is the watch list for 2009: all 2008 EAB and CWD
units, plus units 1, 1M, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16,
17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 42, 46, 47, 51A,
51B, 53, 54A, 55, 56, 57, 57A, 57B, 57C, 57D, 58, 59A, 60A, 62A,
63B, 65A, 69, 69C, 77E, 77M and 78.

Herd health

Hunters in northern Wisconsin planning to hunt the October
antlerless only deer hunt from Oct. 16-19 are being asked to assist
state wildlife officials in a deer herd health check. Hunters
willing to help with this important project should drop off adult
deer heads (no fawns) at a DNR collection point.

DNR wildlife biologists say that assisting in this effort will
help the agency ensure the quality of deer hunting in the
north.

“Our primary heath monitoring is for CWD and bovine TB,” said
Mike Zeckmeister, DNR Northern Region wildlife expert, “but we will
be looking for any health concerns and issues in our deer
herd.”

The goal is to sample 500 adult deer per sampling unit with most
sampling units equaling one county. Zeckmeister says wildlife
health specialists especially want heads during the early bow,
youth deer hunt, and October antlerless season in herd control
units.

Zeckmeister said the DNR needs bow and antlerless-only deer from
units in Polk, Barron, Washburn, Burnett, Douglas, Bayfield,
Ashland, Iron, Rusk, Taylor, Sawyer, Price, Lincoln, Langlade,
Oneida, Vilas, Forest, and Florence counties.

Hunters can find the nearest collection point by calling any of
these DNR offices: Antigo, (715) 627-4317; Ashland, (715) 685-2900;
Cumberland, (715) 822-3590; Florence, (715) 528-4400; Hayward,
(715) 634-2688; Ladysmith, (715) 532-3911; Park Falls, (715)
762-3204; Rhinelander, (715) 365-8900; Spooner, (715) 635-2101;
Superior, (715) 392-7988; or Woodruff, (715) 356-5211.

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