Deer Management Unit Population

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The public can talk with wildlife professionals about the 2005 deer hunt and the deer population in deer management units (DMUs) at Department of Natural Resources public information meetings across the state. Locations and times are listed below and posted on the DNR Web site and at DNR Service Centers.

DNR wildlife managers will discuss deer harvest results by DMU, population estimates, proposed antlerless quotas for the units, and the likelihood of reaching those quotas with the regular nine-day hunting season framework. Meetings may have an initial informational presentation followed by questions and answers or may be open house style, depending on location.

“We won’t have final harvest quota recommendations by the time of these meetings, but the information the field biologists have will be pretty close,” said Brad Koele, assistant DNR deer ecologist. “From that, we’ll have a pretty good picture as to whether or not a management unit could be recommended for a herd control season structure in 2006.”

The season structure recommendations will be presented to the state Natural Resources Board for review at its March meeting.

New database tracks registrations

Hunters can check deer harvest by unit on a new DNR Web page that provides a unit-by-unit summary of deer registrations by season (gun/archery) by deer (antlered/antlerless/unknown) and in all seasons combined. Wildlife officials point out that this is a running count of the registration stubs that have been entered into the system and isn’t a final season total.

“The new harvest reporting system can give hunters a rough idea of harvest numbers,” said Koele. “We’ve also added a column in the harvest tables that gives the antlerless to antlered ratio for each unit. That figure is an important gauge of herd control success. It’s an indicator of whether or not biologists can expect a unit’s population to increase, decrease or stay about the same. The rule of thumb is that it takes about a 2 to 1 (antlerless to antlered) ratio to reduce populations in a unit.”

Units located in a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) management zone will not be included in the herd status meetings. Herd status information for these units will be presented in March along with information on proposed CWD zone hunting rules.

Wisconsin is divided into approximately 135 deer management units that allow DNR wildlife biologists to better manage the state’s deer population. Population goals for each unit are based on the amount and types of habitat and the positive and negative impacts of deer in that geographic area.

Separate meetings are held to address specific DMUs. The 2006 Deer Herd Status Meetings (PDF, 18KB) and the DMUs and counties in which they are located that will be discussed at each meeting is available on the deer hunting and in the Public Hearings & Meetings pages of the DNR Web site. Contact the DNR wildlife manager listed for more information specific to the DMU.