Doug Smith

Even if the fish aren’t biting, the ducks aren’t flying and the pheasants aren’t flushing, Doug Smith says any day spent outdoors is a good day. A Minnesota native, he’s been covering the outdoors for the Star Tribune since 1995. He considers walleyes fried over a campfire to be gourmet cuisine.

Northern Wisconsin will be mostly bucks-only hunting this fall to help herd recover

Posted by: Doug Smith Updated: May 28, 2014 - 3:48 PM

It will be bucks-only deer hunting for most of northern Wisconsin next fall as officials try to help the herd rebound from a brutal winter.

Wisconsin's Natural Resources Board approved the Department of Natural Resources' recommendations for the 2014 deer hunting season, which includes antlerless quotas, antlerless permit levels and an updated CWD-affected area.

"With the severity of this past winter, recommending a buck only hunting season for much of northern Wisconsin is a first step in allowing the deer population to recover," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "We have received a great deal of public input on these recommendations and have received great support."

Here's more from a state news release:

In 2014, 19 counties (all or in whole) and four tribal reservation deer management units will allow buck only hunting with an antlerless quota of zero for most hunters. New deer management units will follow county lines and reservation boundaries. It is important to note that youth hunters, disabled hunters and qualified military personnel will be allowed to harvest a limited number of antlerless deer in buck only units. All proposed buck only counties fall within the northern and central forest deer management zones.

In addition to each hunter receiving one free antlerless permit for use in farmland zones in 2014, approximately 175,000 bonus antlerless deer permits will become available for purchase in mid-August. At purchase, hunters will designate the zone, county and land type where they will use each bonus permit. Public versus private land designation will allow the department to limit antlerless harvest on heavily-hunted public lands.

The board also established the boundaries of an updated CWD affected area. This area will include 35 counties where CWD has been detected in either wild or game farm deer or elk since 2008. The department will continue to work with stakeholders throughout Wisconsin to learn more about the disease. For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "CWD."

Implementation of the approved recommendations will involve public outreach to inform hunters, landowners and others about changes and opportunities prior to the 2014 deer season. For more information, see dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "deer."

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