New deer management programs show progress, increase public participation
WISCONSIN – With the archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons in full swing, October marks an important progress point in measuring hunter participation and the success of new deer management initiatives.
“We’ve really focused on going above and beyond to involve the public this year,” said Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary Cathy Stepp. “Your feedback was key as we took a fresh look at managing our state’s deer herd.”
Informational live chats
The department has offered a number of informational chats open to the public, with DNR wildlife, regulations and communications, and law enforcement specialists on hand to answer questions. So far chats have focused on crossbow hunting, antlerless permits, e-registration, and general regulations and have drawn over 1,000 live participants with nearly 200 total questions answered. There will be more chats this fall leading up to the nine-day gun deer hunting season.
To view a chat schedule and check out previous chats, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “expert.”
County Deer Advisory Councils
Through new County Deer Advisory Councils (CDAC), the public has an opportunity to work with a diverse group of stakeholders to help manage the state’s deer herd. With a council in each county, these newly formed bodies encourage more public input on deer management issues and give stakeholders a greater responsibility in managing local deer numbers. Each county held their first meeting in September, and they are now gearing up for their second meeting to be held in October.
Councils are currently in the process of developing recommendations regarding deer population objectives that will influence herd management in their county over the next three years. To find out when the council in each county will meet next, search “CDAC” on the DNR’s home page.
The testing of Wisconsin’s electronic registration system began this September, and those hunters who were invited to participate have been putting the system to good use. Close to 1,000 deer have been registered, and users are providing good feedback to help improve the system. Those not selected to use electronic registration will continue to register their deer at in-person stations as in the past. E-registration is expected to be available to all hunters in 2015.
To make sure you’re ready for deer season, visit dnr.wi.gov, search keyword “deer,” and click the link for the “rule changes FAQ document.”