Heads up Wisconsin hunters: you may not be able to hunt antlerless deer in the state’s northern region this coming fall.
The Baraboo News Republic reports Wisconsin wildlife officials plan to cancel antlerless deer hunting in an effort to boost deer populations that were hit hard by cold winter weather.
The dramatic cold weather over the last two years has killed off scores of deer in the region, and wildlife officials are hoping that a ban on doe hunting will help their numbers recoup.
Members of the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will propose the antlerss tags ban at a meeting with the Natural Resources Board on May 28.
“It’s going to be a regrowth period,” said state DNR ecologist Kevin Wallenfang. “We’ve had two bad back-to-back winters.”
The proposed ban on antlerless tags would cover archery and firearms hunting in a 17-county region in the Northern Frost Zone.
According to Wallenfang, 2014 was the worst winter on record for northern Wisconsin wildlife, especially deer. Since the beginning of 2014, nearly 40 percent of the juvenile deer being tracked by the DNR have died. And within the last three years, deer mortality rates have held between 7 and 15 percent.
Plus, last year’s late spring took a serious toll on deer. The plant life took so long to grow back that most deer exhausted their fat reserves before edible plants grew back, which made them weak and easy prey for predators.
The DNR hopes that a ban on doe hunting this fall will boost populations in the coming years.
“People want to see more deer,” said Wallenfang. ” Seeing deer is the No. 1 measure of a quality hunt for people, and they’ve been seeing fewer and fewer.”
Deer weren’t the only animals that felt the pinch during the wintertime; Turkey populations in the northern regions of the state were also hit hard by cold weather. In March, the state decided to offer fewer permits for the 2014 turkey hunting season.
Do you agree with the DNR’s proposed ban on anterless deer hunting this coming fall? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.