Archery deer hunters would be restricted to using the antlerless deer carcass tag that is issued with each archery hunting license to only those deer management units with an established antlerless deer harvest quota, under a proposal that is the topic of upcoming public hearings around the state.
"Under current rules, the antlerless tag that comes with every archery deer license can be used in any deer management unit in the state, including regular units where gun harvest of antlerless deer is carefully controlled through a separate permit system," said Scott Loomans, wildlife rules coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources.
Gun deer hunters can shoot an antlerless deer in regular units only if they have purchased a unit-specific antlerless deer carcass tag, if they are available for the unit. Gun hunters may use the antlerless permit that comes with their license only in units that are designated as either herd control or chronic wasting disease management.
Each of the state's 134 deer management units (DMU) has an established deer population goal. Wildlife biologists set antlerless deer harvest quotas for DMUs that are intended to keep populations at the established goals. In 2010, 18 DMUs will have no antlerless permits available to gun hunters in an effort to increase deer populations in the fastest possible way. Under this proposed rule (pdf), archery deer hunters also would not be able to kill an antlerless deer in these units.
"The number of antlerless deer killed by archers is relatively low, compared to the gun harvest," said Keith Warnke, DNR big game ecologist. "However eliminating the archery hunter’s ability to harvest antlerless deer in zero quota units will make regulations more consistent between the firearm and archery seasons and will contribute to herd growth."
Bow hunting groups and other hunting stakeholders have indicated support for the rule according to DNR wildlife managers.
"If this rule is adopted, the earliest it could be in effect would be the 2011 hunting season due the time necessary for the rule making process," Loomans said. "However, if the rule proposal is generally acceptable to the public the department may ask the Natural Resources Board to adopt a similar emergency rule which could be in effect in time for the 2010 season."
The public hearings will begin at 7 p.m. at the locations listed below. Following a brief informational presentation, public comments and statements will be accepted.
Text of the rule is available for review on the Department of Natural Resources website or by contacting Scott Loomans, DNR wildlife rules coordinator, 101 S. Webster St. Madison, WI 53707 (608) 267-2452 firstname.lastname@example.org . Written or email comments may be sent to Loomans. The proposed rule, fiscal estimate and hearing notice are also available and comments may also be submitted electronically through the Wisconsin Administrative Rules website.