Northern Wisconsin Bans Doe Hunting for Next 4 Years with Proposed New Bill

After hunter concerns about a scarcity of deer in Northern Wisconsin, Republican senators are proposing legislation that would ban antlerless hunting in Northern counties for the next four years. Hunters and wildlife groups have expressed both support and opposition to the plan.

Legislators leading the measure held listening meetings in various localities, during which hunters expressed their concerns about the restricted deer population in the North this season.

DNR officials have highlighted last year’s hard winter as a significant reason, while others blame wolf and bear predation. Representative Chanz Green, a Republican from Grand View, was among the legislators who introduced the bill earlier this month.

“I want future generations to be able to enjoy the deer hunting that was once there and could be there,” Green said. “We just have to implement a better plan that preserves our deer herd and hopefully bolsters them.”

He claims it would affect almost twenty counties in the ‘Northern Forest Zone’ while still allowing buck hunting. The proposal would also include examining the Northern County Deer Advisory Councils and collaborating with them to better manage the deer population.

“A lot of people, from what we heard, would like us to go back to the Deer Management Units, which are DMUs,” Rep. Green stated. “We tried them before┬áthe 2014 deer hunting season. “That would divide counties into smaller sections.”

Tom Hauge, a retired Wisconsin DNR director, believes that four years is too long to end doe hunting before it begins to harm forests, plants, and other species.

“I always get concerned when we attempt to use legislation to address a wildlife population issue,” Hauge remarked. “Legislation and statutes are difficult to enact and abolish. They tend to be rigid. “We know that wildlife populations change quickly.”

While Hauge opposes the four-year legislation, he does favor the idea of eventually developing a long-term plan for deer population management in the Northwoods. Rep. Green believes that, despite the ‘all-hands-on-deck’ effort, a successful long-term management plan can be devised in the coming years.

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