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A great deal is at stake. An increase in the deer population could mean more damage to crops and forests, and more car deer collisions on the highway. And a smaller deer herd could prompt criticism from the thousands of people who hunt.
third, "seeing bucks" fourth.
The way in which a hunter measures the season is intensely personal. Asked to name the most important factor in determining the success of a hunt, 51 percent of hunters the DNR surveyed said "seeing deer." After that: spending time with friends and family. The chance to kill a deer ranked Nike Roshe Run For Sale Toronto
The same decade, however, produced the state's lowest gun deer harvests since 1993. The low harvest in 2009 caused many hunters in Wisconsin to demand changes in the state's deer management efforts.
beginning in mid September, and a season of almost six weeks beginning in late November. The number of antlerless deer taken by bow has remained high for most of those years.
"There is some skepticism among hunters that our population estimates are off," said Robert Manwell, spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources, which manages the herd. "Even though the basics of deer management, the process of goal setting, haven't changed."
While many of the best years for the state's nine day gun deer hunt have occurred during the past decade, the 2009 gun deer harvest was the smallest in a 16 year period, according to a Green Bay Press Gazette analysis of 40 years of Wisconsin deer hunting statistics and interviews with key constituents.
"About the only thing that's certain about deer season," said Tom Larscheid, a Green Bay man who regularly hunts with friends and family in Bayfield County in rural northwestern Wisconsin, and near Pembine, Gillett and Green Bay, "is that everyone complains about the size of the herd."The DNR's strategy for herd management is a complicated mix of art and science, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. More than 700,000 state residents and 44,000 non residents were licensed to hunt deer in Wisconsin in 2009, the most recent year data are available.
The past decade also has been good for bow hunters, who enjoy a two month season Roshe Run Pink And Black
The DNR works to set a goal that will produce a healthy herd, a thriving ecosystem and few complaints of damage to crops and foliage within each of about 140 subdivisions of the state, called "deer management units." And the department has to generate what it calls "good hunting opportunities," during the nine day gun deer season each November.
A bad year
"The world of deer is only what (hunters) see from their tree stand," he said. "That's their universe."
DNR spokesman Manwell said the agency's basic approach to setting the population goal varies little from year to year but the hunter's perception of it does. A hunter who sees and gets a shot at a deer thinks the agency has done a good job. And when hunters don't see deer, they complain.
Wisconsin hunters will get to have their say on all things hunting in April when the DNR holds its annual Conservation Congress meetings in each of Wisconsin's 72 counties. The sessions allow people to voice concerns about wildlife management and question DNR officials.
Despite regular complaints from hunters across the state who believe the size of the herd continues to shrink, the newspaper found that six of the state's 10 largest gun deer harvests have occurred since 2001. In that period, the state also recorded six of its 10 most successful hunts in terms of deer killed per license issued.
When the total gun deer harvest fell 30 percent in 2009, dropping below 250,000 for the first time since 1993, complaints Roshe Run High Cut
Beginning with the 2003 gun deer hunt, the state has regularly reported rates of 0.6 kills per license issued, a rate not seen before 2000. That increase comes despite the fact that Wisconsin issues fewer gun deer licenses each year than it did in much of the 1980s and '90s.
In a DNR survey of almost 4,000 hunters after the 2009 season, four in five rated their satisfaction "very low" or "fairly low." Hunters said they believe the herd size declined, and that the state overestimated the population.
Yet a number of hunters clearly remain unhappy. After the 2009 season, a DNR study found that 82 percent rated their satisfaction "very low" or "fairly low."
The state also allows gun hunting of antlerless deer in some areas for a handful of days in mid October and across much of the state in mid December. In total, gun hunters take about three times as many deer as bowhunters do, DNR statistics show.
The chances of a hunter bagging a deer has increased in recent years, according to a Press Gazette analysis of deer hunt statistics dating back to the mid 1960s.
The DNR counts deer in a variety of ways, including walking around in the woods and taking a helicopter over parts of the state. Officials project how many deer the supply of food and shelter can support, and consider external factors such as vehicle traffic volumes and the presence of predators.
"It used to be you'd see deer every day 10 or 15 was a 'bad' day."
Not only were hunters upset about not getting as many deer, according to veteran hunter Lloyd Voss of Fond du Lac, they felt like they were rarely seeing any. One state senator called for everyone involved in DNR's deer management to be fired. Scott Walker, then a candidate for governor, said the herd shrunk in 2009 because of "mismanagement" by the DNR under then Gov. Jim Doyle.
To set a target for the size of the herd called the "overwinter population goal" the DNR must balance the interests of hunters and other stakeholders, including farmers, business owners and motorists.
"I saw maybe six or eight deer total during the entire (gun deer) season," said Voss, a 62 year old who hunts near Hayward in the Northwoods, in the Waukesha area and near his home.
How successful is DNR's strategy to manage herd
about DNR's herd management hit an all time high.
Setting a goal is a delicate yet complicated equation one that DNR takes 47 pages to explain on its Roshe Run Red And Black website and the basics change little from year to year. DNR scientists consider factors such as the number of fawns born during the summer, the number of deer that hunters killed the previous winter, weather conditions in previous seasons and the age of the herd.
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