Straight shots about deer hunting

(Published October. 18, 2006, 3:38 p.m.)

By Mike Heine/The Week

Last week's cold snap was the perfect reminder-deer season is upon us.

Here are some things to remember about Wisconsin's state animal and the hunting season that will send more than a half-million hunters into the woods and fields:

The population

--Wisconsin's pre-hunt deer population is between 1.5 and 1.7 million, said Brad Koele, Department of Natural Resources Assistant Big Game Specialist. The DNR goal was 1.1 million. "We're definitely over goal," Koele said.

--In 2005, there were 465,760 deer killed by hunters-387,310 in the gun season and 78,450 in the archery season.

--2000 was a record-setting year with 618,000 deer harvested, which also is a national record.

Deer and cars

--Of the 128,308 traffic crashes in Wisconsin in 2004, deer were involved in 19,846, which is about 15.5 percent, according to the Department of Transportation.

--2005, Wisconsin reported 17,555 car-deer crashes.

--11 people were killed and 689 injured in deer-related crashes in 2004.

--All 12 people killed in deer-related crashes in 2005 were motorcycle drivers or riders.

--Walworth County in 2004 had 257 car-deer crashes, eight resulting in injuries.

--Rock County in 2004 had 94 total car-deer crashes, 10 resulting in injuries.

--Deer are the third-most commonly struck object by motorists, behind other moving vehicles and fixed objects.

--October and November are the peak months for deer-related crashes. Crash rates spike because of increased deer movement during the mating season or "rut."

--36.5 percent of Wisconsin car-deer crashes in 2005 occurred in October and November.

--The DNR counted 41,685 carcasses removed from roadways in 2005, far more than the number of reported crashes.

CWD hunting rules

--Hunters in the chronic wasting disease eradication zones and herd reduction zone can harvest an unlimited number of deer of either sex.

--Part of eastern Rock and western Walworth counties are in a disease eradication zone. Both are fully in the herd reduction zone.

--In the herd reduction zone, gun hunting has a late season, running Saturday, Nov. 18, through Sunday, Dec. 10.

--The DNR wants fewer than 10 deer per square mile of habitat in herd reduction zones and five deer or less per square mile of habitat in disease eradication zones.

--Volunteer testing for CWD in the herd reduction and disease eradication zones is ongoing.

Other seasons

--Archery-Sept. 16 through Thursday, Nov. 16, and Monday, Nov. 27, through Sunday, Jan. 7. Archery harvest in all units is restricted to antlerless only between Thursday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 10.

--Traditional nine-day gun-Saturday, Nov. 18, through Sunday, Nov. 26.

--Muzzleloader-Monday, Nov. 27, through Wednesday, Dec. 6.

--Zone T-Thursday, Dec. 7, through Sunday, Dec. 10 (antlerless deer only).




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