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home : outdoors : fishing & hunting August 1, 2014


6/4/2014 3:22:00 PM
Bucks-only hunt set for North
Dave Greschner
Sports editor

Burnett, Washburn, Sawyer and Rusk counties are among the 19 counties where deer hunting this fall will be for bucks only.
The bucks-only hunting applies to both gun and archery seasons, said Mike Zeckmeister, Department of Natural Resources Northern Region manager.
Barron and Polk counties are not among the bucks-only counties.
The Natural Resources Board approved the DNR's recommendations for the 2014 deer hunting season last Wednesday.
The bucks-only season for much of northern Wisconsin comes after a second severe winter, which has taken a toll on deer and fawn production.
"With the severity of this past winter, recommending a buck-only hunting season for much of northern Wisconsin is a first step in allowing the deer population to recover," said DNR secretary Cathy Stepp. "We have received a great deal of public input (and support) on these recommendations."
Zeckmeister said that the weather problems began a year ago, when winter hung on well into May.
"We knew that does carrying fawns would be impacted (by the late winter of 2013). There was an impact on the fawn production," said Zeckmeister.
Zeckmeister said hunters did not see as many deer during the gun season in late November, but he also contributed part of that to the cold hunting conditions. Then, another tough winter of sustained cold and snow followed.
"This winter was one of the most severe on record. We did lose deer. That happens," said Zeckmeister.
The first deer to die in a severe winter are fawns, those deer born the previous spring. However, older deer were also lost, said Zeckmeister.
The impact of this severe winter will continue beyond fawn birthing, which is occurring now. Because of the winter stress on does, fawns will likely be underweight at birth, said Zeckmeister, and will need additional milk to regain that weight. At the same time, the mother is stressed from winter and has trouble producing enough milk, especially if she drops twins.
Zeckmeister has some reservations about the bucks-only, no-antlerless quota season in northern Wisconsin. He said if the herd builds back up too quickly another severe winter can have a bigger impact on a bigger herd competing for food.
"It's a balancing act. But the general public, as a whole, supports these no antlerless quotas (at this time)," said Zeckmeister.
In the bucks-only counties, only a limited number of antlerless deer will be allowed to be taken by youth hunters, disabled hunters and qualified military personnel.
The bucks-only restriction also applies to bow hunters, making this the first archery season ever in those areas in which antlerless deer cannot be taken.
Barron and Polk counties, both in the DNR's Central Farmland Zone for deer management, will have antlerless quotas. Zeckmeister said there should be enough deer in those counties of farmland habitat to replenish the herd without going to the bucks-only format.
The DNR is using counties this season as deer management units. That change came out of the Deer Trustee Report last summer and is being implemented in 2014.
In addition to county designations, the DNR is also using large zones-four in the state-for issuing antlerless permits, where available. Those zones are Northern Forest, Central Forest, Central Farmland and Southern Farmland.
In the Farmland zones, each hunter receives one free antlerless permit, according to the DNR. Then, approximately 175,000 antlerless deer permits will become available for purchase in mid-August.
When purchasing a bonus permit, hunters will designate the zone, county and land type where they will use the permit. Public versus private land designation will allow the DNR to limit antlerless harvest on heavily hunted lands.
In Barron County, there are 1,625 antlerless permits available for private land and 170 for public land.
Antlerless permits go on sale in the Northern and Central Forest zones Monday, Aug. 18; in the Central Farmland Zone on Tuesday, Aug. 19; and in the Southern Farmland Zone on Wednesday, Aug. 20.

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