Letter from Rep. Danou: Gun season kicks off this weekendLeaves off the trees and colder weather settling in means gun deer season is just around the corner.
By: Rep. Chris Danou , Pierce County Herald
Leaves off the trees and colder weather settling in means gun deer season is just around the corner. Deer hunting has a proud tradition in our community and throughout Wisconsin. This time of year, it is commonplace to see people hauling back their harvests on their cars and trailers and to see people staying warm at Lambeau Field in their orange hunting gear. These sights have been and continue to be synonymous with the fall season in Wisconsin.
Hunters in Wisconsin not only harvest more deer annually, but they also harvest more record class bucks than almost every other state. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), last year’s deer hunting season varied across the state but was an overall success for many hunters. Gun hunters harvested the most bucks since 2007 and bow hunters harvested the third highest number of bucks on record. In total, deer hunters in Wisconsin tallied 347,711 deer in 2011, an increase over both the 2010 and 2009 seasons.
Although it was a productive season for many hunters in the state, others had less than a desirable season. The DNR indicated hunters reported seeing fewer than normal numbers of deer, especially in the forested regions across Wisconsin. They also stated their desire to see more deer and have more opportunities to harvest deer during the season. The number of deer harvested in a given year is a partial indicator of the overall population’s size.
The DNR has said that antlerless permit levels in many forest units have been conservative in recent years and will be again in 2012. As a result, many hunters should see more deer and have more opportunities to harvest a deer this season. Also, due to the mild winter conditions measured during the 2011-12 winter and early spring, there should be greater deer numbers across the forest regions where numbers were below goals in some areas. Additionally, it can be expected to see greater numbers of deer throughout the rest of the state for the upcoming season.
As a fellow deer hunter, I encourage hunters to remember that deer densities are not consistent across the landscape and that local deer populations are often influenced by the quality of habitat (e.g., amount of food, water, and security cover), predators and human disturbance present in the area. Hunters will increase their harvest chances if they properly scout the hunting area to determine the best hunting locations. The DNR recommends using trail cameras and early morning/late evening field observations to see how many deer are present and what kind of bucks are in the area. If the number of deer present doesn’t satisfy your desire, be ready to adjust and scout out new hunting ground for the current and future seasons.
A successful harvest and a positive experience out in nature with friends and family is every hunter’s goal. While a successful harvest and bringing home some meat for the freezer is central to deer hunting, the most important thing to remember is safety. All hunters need to follow the necessary steps to ensure that everyone remains safe while hunting so they return home to their families unharmed. I wish all the deer hunters well this season and I can’t wait to hear and share stories with you in the coming weeks.