Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Border battle over deer: Wisconsin wins

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 25, 2009 - 5:28 AM

Minnesota and Wisconsin often are rivals -- from their Favre and Favre-less pro football teams to the annual Gophers-Badgers battles.

But when it comes to deer and deer hunting, there's no contest: Wisconsin is No. 1. It has more deer, more trophy deer, more deer hunters and roughly twice the deer harvest as Minnesota. Cheese Land hunters have averaged nearly 500,000 deer in the past five years, while hunters in the Land of 10,000 Lakes have averaged 254,000.

This from a state that's about one-third smaller than Minnesota. What gives? There's no reason for Minnesotans to feel inferior: Wildlife officials in both states say key differences in geography and landscape habitat fuels Wisconsin's deer dominance.

"Their deer habitat far exceeds ours," said Lou Cornicelli, Minnesota DNR big game program leader. "The southern half of Wisconsin -- their core deer habitat -- is better than anything I've ever seen in my life."

Keith Warnke, Wisconsin DNR big game ecologist, agrees.

"You have agriculture interspersed with woodlands; the habitat is absolutely outstanding when it comes to food, water and cover," he said. "The deer populations there have tremendous productivity potential. It's probably some of the most productive deer habitat in the country."

Vast regions of Minnesota, by comparison, are flat and intensively farmed. "And the farthest northern point of Wisconsin is even with Duluth," said Dennis Simon, Minnesota DNR wildlife section chief. "We have one-third of the state farther north than that.''

The northern third of Minnesota produces deer, but productivity there is relatively low and its whitetails are susceptible to severe winter weather. "Wisconsin has higher reproductive rates and lower nonhunter mortality rates," Simon said.

Which means more deer per square mile.

"Their densities are far in excess of what we have," Cornicelli said. "I always say the top end of our deer densities is the low end of their deer densities."

Consider also that Wisconsin has more deer hunters: Last year, it had more than 642,000 firearms hunters, compared with 450,000 in Minnesota. Those hunters killed 352,601 deer in Wisconsin, compared with 193,000 in Minnesota. (Archers killed another 99,000 deer in Wisconsin, and archers and special hunts accounted for another 29,000 in Minnesota.)

And while Minnesota has recorded some monster trophy deer over the decades, Wisconsin is the No. 1 trophy whitetail state in the nation. In the Pope and Young Club record book, which tracks whitetails taken by bow and arrow, Wisconsin has 8,478 entrees. Minnesota has 2,295.

The Boone and Crockett Club, which scores trophy deer taken by all means and sets a higher trophy standard, has 1,055 deer registered from Wisconsin and 849 from Minnesota. (Minnesota does rank No. 3 and Wisconsin No. 4 for nontypical trophy deer registered with Boone and Crockett. Illinois is No. 1 and Iowa is No. 2.)

Why are there more trophy bucks in Wisconsin? Again, habitat is key.

"I always say three things impact antler growth: nutrition, nutrition and nutrition,'' Warnke said. Southern Wisconsin offers whitetails everything they need to grow impressive racks. Age also is a factor. And management practices that encourage hunters to shoot does allow some bucks to survive longer.

All of which can add up to big bucks.

But cheer up, Minnesotans. We still have Brett Favre.

Doug Smith • dsmith@startribune.com

  • related content

  • As predicted, deer harvest lags well behind 2008

    Tuesday November 24, 2009

    Hunters have killed 151,000 deer - 20,000 fewer than last year. Most of the decline is caused by 19,000 drop in antlerless deer harvest.

  • Rare two-tone deer.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Orlando
New York 6:00 PM
Indiana
Denver 7:00 PM
Memphis
Chicago 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Montreal 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Boston 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Arizona 6:30 PM
Toronto
Dallas 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Detroit 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Columbus 6:30 PM
Florida
Nashville 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Minnesota 8:00 PM
Calgary
Buffalo 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Anaheim 9:00 PM
San Jose
DePaul 72 FINAL
Providence 83
Michigan State 5:00 PM
Rutgers
Boston Univ 6:00 PM
Army
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Youngstown St 6:00 PM
Detroit
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
Furman
Saint Louis 6:00 PM
George Mason
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Jacksonville
High Point 6:00 PM
Liberty
Central Conn St 6:00 PM
Long Island
Western Ky 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Dayton 6:00 PM
Massachusetts
Chattanooga 6:00 PM
Mercer
Wofford 6:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
Maryland 6:00 PM
Ohio State
FIU 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fair-Dickinson 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
Mount St Marys 6:00 PM
St Francis-NY
Bryant 6:00 PM
St Francis-PA
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Stetson
Coll of Charleston 6:00 PM
Towson
Western Carolina 6:00 PM
Va Military
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Wagner
Lipscomb 6:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Kennesaw St 6:00 PM
North Florida
Appalachian St 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Holy Cross 6:30 PM
Loyola-Maryland
Eastern Ill 6:30 PM
UT Martin
Jacksonville St 7:00 PM
Belmont
Connecticut 7:00 PM
Cincinnati
Rider 7:00 PM
Saint Peters
SIU Edwardsville 7:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Marshall 7:00 PM
Southern Miss
Tenn Tech 7:00 PM
Tennessee St
Middle Tennessee 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ill-Chicago 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Weber State 7:00 PM
North Dakota
Denver 7:00 PM
North Dakota St
IUPU-Ft Wayne 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Louisiana 7:05 PM
South Alabama
Georgia State 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Ark-Little Rock 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
ULM 7:30 PM
Troy
Portland 8:00 PM
Gonzaga
Kentucky 8:00 PM
Missouri
Eastern Ky 8:00 PM
Murray State
UAB 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Idaho State 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
UMKC 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Chicago State 8:05 PM
Utah Valley U
Colorado 8:30 PM
USC
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
Hawaii 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Pepperdine 9:00 PM
Pacific
Santa Clara 9:00 PM
San Diego
Utah 9:00 PM
UCLA
UC Santa Barbara 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Montana 9:05 PM
Portland State
Montana State 9:05 PM
Sacramento St
Long Beach State 9:30 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Loyola Marymount 9:30 PM
St Marys-CA
San Francisco 10:00 PM
BYU
California 10:00 PM
Washington St
Louisiana 47 FINAL
South Alabama 57
Saint Josephs 51 FINAL
Saint Louis 52
Appalachian St 12 1st Half 7:53
Georgia Southern 18
Niagara 7 1st Half 10:04
Saint Peters 11
Old Dominion 5:00 PM
FIU
Southern Miss 5:00 PM
Marshall
Georgia State 5:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Ark-Little Rock 5:05 PM
Arkansas State
ULM 5:15 PM
Troy
Pittsburgh 5:30 PM
(17) Duke
(6) Tennessee 6:00 PM
(10) Kentucky
(24) Oklahoma 6:00 PM
(14) Texas
Nebraska Omaha 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
UC-Riverside 6:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Army 6:00 PM
Boston U
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Nicholls
Charlotte 6:00 PM
Florida Atlantic
Towson 6:00 PM
Delaware
Hofstra 6:00 PM
Northeastern
New Hampshire 6:00 PM
Maine
Albany 6:00 PM
Vermont
Hartford 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
UNC-Wilmington 6:00 PM
William & Mary
Clemson 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Alabama 6:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
(23) Syracuse 6:00 PM
(8) Louisville
Missouri 6:00 PM
Florida
Iona 6:00 PM
Fairfield
Manhattan 6:00 PM
Marist
NC State 6:00 PM
Virginia
(4) Notre Dame 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(22) Rutgers 6:00 PM
Purdue
(5) Maryland 6:00 PM
Michigan
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Cleveland State
Wright State 6:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Florida 6:00 PM
Kennesaw St
Stetson 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Loyola-Maryland 6:05 PM
Holy Cross
Lamar 6:30 PM
Sam Houston St
Fla Gulf Coast 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Vanderbilt 7:00 PM
(18) Miss State
IUPUI 7:00 PM
Western Ill
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
McNeese State 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Oral Roberts 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Louisiana Tech 7:00 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
UAB
Auburn 7:00 PM
Arkansas
Grand Canyon 7:00 PM
UMKC
Illinois 7:00 PM
(15) Nebraska
(20) Iowa 7:00 PM
Northwestern
Utah Valley U 7:05 PM
Chicago State
Green Bay 7:05 PM
Valparaiso
Ole Miss 8:00 PM
LSU
Portland State 8:00 PM
Montana
Sacramento St 8:00 PM
Montana State
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Weber State
Ohio State 8:00 PM
Wisconsin
Northern Colorado 8:00 PM
Idaho State
BYU 9:00 PM
San Francisco
St Marys-CA 9:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Pacific 9:00 PM
Pepperdine
Cal-Irvine 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
San Diego 9:00 PM
Santa Clara
UC Davis 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Long Beach St 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close