Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board counters DNR on several 2020 antlerless deer options
The fact that deer and deer management remain a controversial topic in Wisconsin was on full display at the June 24 Natural Resources Board (NRB) meeting when the NRB adopted most antlerless deer quotas recommended by the DNR, but with several important changes.
The NRB reversed the DNR recommendation that would have allowed a holiday hunt from Dec. 4 through Jan. 1, 2021, in Grant and Marquette counties.
County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) members in both of those counties opposed holding a holiday hunt.
The DNR recommended holding the late hunt to reduce deer populations, but the board sided with CDACs.
Now the 2020 holiday hunts will be held in 32 other counties.
In an unexpected move, NRB member Greg Kazmierski offered an amendment that would reduce antlerless deer quotas and permits in 11 northern counties.
He said CDACs were in the middle between forestry interests (who want fewer deer) and the public (who want to see more deer), especially on public land.
He said now that the DNR can issue separate antlerless permits for public land and private land, the DNR has the ability to reduce frustration of hunters when they hunt public land and see few deer, while encouraging landowners to increase antlerless harvest on private land.
Kazmierski’s change, which was opposed by NRB members Bill Smith and Marcy West who had not had the chance to discuss this with CDACs, reduced antlerless deer permits on public land by 50% in Langlade, Oneida, Lincoln, Sawyer, Florence and Burnett counties.
It also gave a zero antlerless quota to the northern forest portions of Marinette and Oconto counties.
Finally, it includes a 50% reduction of the quota in Douglas and Vilas counties, with 60% private and 40% public permits.
In Bayfield County antlerless permits will be distributed for 80% private and 20% public land to minimize overharvest on public land.
The change in northern quotas generated the most controversy between NRB Chair Dr. Frederick Prehn and DNR Secretary Preston Cole, something not before seen at a meeting.
At one point the possibility of delaying a vote on the quotas until July, when the board does not usually meet, was discussed but was never proposed for action.