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Old 12-03-2013, 10:25 PM
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Default Wisconsin 2013 Preliminary Gun Harvest Results

I gun hunted in Bayfield County on public land as I have done for the last 28 seasons. Very few deer were saw. The harvest in Bayfield County was down 33%. I can honestly say that this might have been the last season for me to hunt there with family and friends in Bayfield County. This is the 5th season that the deer kill has gone down. I see little to nothing being changed to reverse the downward spiral of the deer population there. Here is the link that breaks the harvest down by county.

http://dnr.wi.gov/files/pdf/Opening_...n_2013_FIN.pdf
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:30 PM
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So, the doe harvest was exactly the same and the buck harvest was off 15%. How much of that can be attributed to more strict mgmt, apr's, leases etc?

One would think if the herd were suffering the harvest would drop across the board.
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:37 PM
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So, the doe harvest was exactly the same and the buck harvest was off 15%. How much of that can be attributed to more strict mgmt, apr's, leases etc?

One would think if the herd were suffering the harvest would drop across the board.

Did they give more doe tags? That could keep the doe harvest the same even with a dwindling population.
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:39 PM
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So, the doe harvest was exactly the same and the buck harvest was off 15%. How much of that can be attributed to more strict mgmt, apr's, leases etc?

One would think if the herd were suffering the harvest would drop across the board.

There are pockets in the state where the deer numbers are way over management goals which account for the anterless harvest for the whole state to be the same as last year. Wisconsin has no APR's. If you would take a line and draw it across the Northern 1/3 of Wisconsin you would be amazed at how much the deer numbers have dropped.
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:05 PM
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Thanks for the post. Bucks down 7%, antlerless a push. Waupaca was #1 and Marathon #2 for total harvest.

1) Brutal weather opening weekend sent must in by 10am without heaters/towers.
2) Rut was well over and the bucks were augered in
3) More hunters are passing the young bucks.
4) lots of standing corn
5) Drives are all but a memory

North of hwy 29 continues to need real help with deer #'s. South of hwy 29 continue with loads of deer. We will take 25 baldies this year down from 35 last year but my gut tells me when the corn goes down locally we should probably have taken 45 even tho the neighbors aren't seeing deer.
Considering the opening weekend weather this is a win.
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:16 PM
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Thanks for the post. Bucks down 7%, antlerless a push. Waupaca was #1 and Marathon #2 for total harvest.

1) Brutal weather opening weekend sent must in by 10am without heaters/towers.
2) Rut was well over and the bucks were augered in
3) More hunters are passing the young bucks.
4) lots of standing corn
5) Drives are all but a memory

North of hwy 29 continues to need real help with deer #'s. South of hwy 29 continue with loads of deer. We will take 25 baldies this year down from 35 last year but my gut tells me when the corn goes down locally we should probably have taken 45 even tho the neighbors aren't seeing deer.
Considering the opening weekend weather this is a win.

10 years ago Bayfield County deer harvest was number 2 and only a handful of deer behind Waupaca.
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:19 PM
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10 years ago Bayfield County deer harvest was number 2 and only a handful of deer behind Waupaca.

A lot can happen in 10 years....just ask the MN hunters who've lost over 50% of the deer killed in that time span.
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:23 PM
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10 years ago Bayfield County deer harvest was number 2 and only a handful of deer behind Waupaca.

Yep, wolves and too many antlerless tags not to mention regular brutal winters.
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:37 AM
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Watching the morning news and the Wisconsin DNR is already making excuses [Cold weather, Late Start of season] why the gun deer kill was down. This was the lowest gun deer kill in 20 years. Why can't they just say that their estimates on deer populations are off?
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:48 AM
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Why can't they just say that their estimates on deer populations are off?

That's what I don't get either. Why can't a DNR just say..."we've been trying to reduce the deer herd for years and we appear to have done so"
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:01 AM
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Don't forget they slaughtered the bucks last year, at near record levels. Many units had just as many does-bucks shot. Gun season was during prime breeding last year. This year the rutting activity was very little during the gun season. Having the buck harvest down is a good thing.
I would estimate I saw 4 yearling bucks dead, for every 2.5 or older. This year was the worst buck year we had in the last 20 years since passing young bucks. We also had, the highest population we had in the last 30 years.
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:02 AM
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That's what I don't get either. Why can't a DNR just say..."we've been trying to reduce the deer herd for years and we appear to have done so"

In certain zones they have. In fact, they want to increase the herd in multiple zones.
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:30 AM
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In certain zones they have. In fact, they want to increase the herd in multiple zones.

Dipper they say that they want to increase the herd in the Northern DMU's but when it comes time to issue anterless tags they look at how many tags they sold in the previous year and that is what they issue. This tells me that it is not about managing the deer herd but maximizing the amount of money that they can take in. With the late winter that was experienced this past spring in Northern Wisconsin there was little to no fawn recruitment but the DNR chose to keep the anterless tags at the same level as the year before in many of the Northern units. Many hunters believe the DNR that there are plenty of deer and keep on harvesting anterless deer. They say that a wolf kills 18 deer per year, that number is probably higher. When the deer per square mile drops under 13 dpsm the wolves can totally wipe out the remaining deer. I never thought that this would happen to the deer herd where I gun hunt in Northwest Wisconsin but it did and will more than likely start to spread towards the central part of the state in future years.
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:17 AM
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243k ranks outside the top 20 harvest totals. Waupaca was #1 over marathon #2 with less then 1/2 the land mass which tells me Waupaca has an exploding deer herd again.

More guys are giving up on the public land which is mainly north of hwy 29. They will either find a private piece to access in the lower 2/3 of the state or simply quit hunting.
This also tells me that private land owners have and will manage the herd as they see fit. Most guys want to see deer opening weekend and have a fair chance at harvesting a deer. We lose johnny"brown and down" and we will lose the sport. How long is a kid hunting public land in the north going to hang with the sport when they sat in 12 below windchill on public land and never saw a deer?

The bars and gas stations next year will feel the telecheck registration drop in revenue big time next year as well.
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:41 AM
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You are correct wolves are the X factor. I believe the DNR bases their antlerless tag numbers on the zone estimates. I haven't looked at it in a year, but my zone estimate is around 40/ square mile of habitat. On my farm it was easily 100 plus going into the season. I bet it is still around 100. You can go a mile down the road, and it is 15. That's just the way it works. Isn't there zones up north that have 0 antlerless tags. They have very few in others, which can be done and still grow the heard, but......you have the wolf factor.
The wolves are hear to stay, I don't like it either. Bears take out a ton of fawns, as well. They are at record levels, don't forget them.

I shot a buck "up north". I haven't hunted up there for about 8 years, there was never deer like I have. Not even close. I shot a 2.5 year old 10pter that is about 130"s. My family and neighbors were shooting 110" 4.5s this year. They refuse to shoot a doe. Those deer aren't 110" because of genetics. When EAB was around we were shooting 140-160" deer. Please tell me why, I have a pretty good idea?
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Old 12-04-2013, 12:12 PM
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I know this is a rhetoical question and not heard by the right people. I, as a non "professional" deer manager, anticipated a reduced deer herd as a result of the prolonged winter, late spring green up. Why can't our professionals error on the side of less deer vs more deer when they set anterless permits? Units of nw WI had many with harvest goals near 1,000. How can they justify these numbers?
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Old 12-04-2013, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by strawhead View Post
I know this is a rhetoical question and not heard by the right people. I, as a non "professional" deer manager, anticipated a reduced deer herd as a result of the prolonged winter, late spring green up. Why can't our professionals error on the side of less deer vs more deer when they set anterless permits? Units of nw WI had many with harvest goals near 1,000. How can they justify these numbers?
This is a great question. I don't know about WI, but here in MN, the DNR will always err on the side of more harvest than less. In other words, it is always better to harvest too many than not enough.
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Old 12-04-2013, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by strawhead View Post
I know this is a rhetoical question and not heard by the right people. I, as a non "professional" deer manager, anticipated a reduced deer herd as a result of the prolonged winter, late spring green up. Why can't our professionals error on the side of less deer vs more deer when they set anterless permits? Units of nw WI had many with harvest goals near 1,000. How can they justify these numbers?

Good news, starting in 2014 per the DTR process the DNR will set goals 5 years at a time regardless what the actual "telecheck" numbers show. Awesome hands on management.
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Old 12-04-2013, 12:59 PM
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Good news, starting in 2014 per the DTR process the DNR will set goals 5 years at a time regardless what the actual "telecheck" numbers show. Awesome hands on management.

Hey, the MN DNR is using 10+ year old date to manage the herd in most of the state.....I am afraid that the hunting in WI is going to start resembling the hunting in MN
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Old 12-04-2013, 01:02 PM
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Good news, starting in 2014 per the DTR process the DNR will set goals 5 years at a time regardless what the actual "telecheck" numbers show. Awesome hands on management.

Yup and they won't have to worry about adjusting kill rates due to super hard winters uping the mortality rate, insane numbers of wolf kills in the areas with large packs, or disease outbreaks like EHD, that could decimate populations in short order, for 5 years at a time. That should really help lighten their workload and take some of the heat off of them having to "listen" to the hunters complain, after all "it's what the public wanted!"
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