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

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Expect deer season similar to last year

Madison – Once the final bell sounds on this season’s gun and
archery deer hunts, the combined harvest total should fall
somewhere between 475,00 and 515,000 deer.

Maybe even as high as 520,000 deer, according to Keith Warnke,
DNR deer ecologist.

“Everything is ready to go,” he said. “It should be a good deer
hunt. There are lots of deer out there.”

Once again, the DNR has estimated the statewide deer population
at 1.5 to 1.7 million animals statewide.

Gun deer hunting began in early October with the two-day youth
hunt, Oct. 11-12. Gun hunting continued with a four-day antlerless
deer season in many units, Oct. 16-19.

The real show, though, gets rolling on Saturday, Nov. 22 when
the nine-day gun deer season opens.

That will be followed by the 10-day blackpowder deer season, and
then another four-day antlerless deer season – this one a statewide
hunt – that runs Dec. 11-14.

There will be a new firearms season in the CWD Management Zone
this year – the holiday firearms season. It includes an earn-a-buck
rule, and runs from Dec. 24 through Jan. 4, 2009.

The archery season opened Sept. 13, and will also close Jan. 4,
2009.

Once all of those seasons finish up, the deer are registered,
and the stubs counted, Warnke expects the total kill to come in
very close to last year’s total archery and gun kill of 518,573
(116,010 archery, 402,563 gun).

The six Chippewa tribes claimed 1,843 deer (828 bucks and 1,015
antlerless).

In 2007, gun deer hunters registered 133,131 bucks, 267,939
antlerless deer, and 1,493 deer of unknown sex (402,563 total).

Last year the archers registered 38,011 bucks, 77,204 antlerless
deer, and 795 deer of unknown sex.

So far, Warnke did not have a lot of registration information on
hand to gauge how well the bow or early gun seasons went. As of
last week, a few more than 14,000 early season archery registration
stubs had been entered into the DNR database. No stubs had been
turned in as of last week for the youth gun deer hunt or the
four-day October antlerless deer hunt.

He said there are plenty of antlerless deer tags available again
this year, including in the “regular” units that are not in
earn-a-buck or herd-control status.

Antlerless deer bonus carcass tags may be bought at any license
sales location, or online. Sales began on Aug. 23. Regular unit
tags are $12 for residents, $20 for nonresidents; EAB and
herd-control tags are $2 each; and park access permits are $3.

2009 EAB watch list

Hunters looking ahead to the 2009 seasons can get an idea of
which units might be in EAB by looking at the EAB watch list
below.

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

Because harvest information is taken directly off the deer
registration stub, hunters are reminded to completely fill out the
registration stub if they want to receive their buck authorization
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.

CWD zone

There are several changes in place for the CWD Management Zone
this fall, and the DNR is also planning to collect at least 500
adult deer heads in the Northern Region for testing.

Starting this year, the CWD zones have been merged into one zone
– the CWD Management Zone. This was done to help reduce confusion
over hunting season dates and simplify communication with the
public.

Hunters may now use rifles throughout the entire CWD Management
Zone, with the exception of Unit 76M, which is a metro unit in Dane
County.

The season structure for the CWD Management Zone is similar to
the season structure used elsewhere in the state for units that are
over-goal. The one season that is unique to the CWD Management Zone
is the holiday firearms season from Dec. 24 through Jan. 4.

The discounted permits no longer are being offered to
landowners. It is no longer fiscally feasible to offer the $2 DEZ
landowner and hunter permits, Warnke said. With the combined CWD
zones, the estimated loss in license revenue would be more than
$850,000.

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