BY KEVIN BONESKE
Bow hunters in Rhinelander will soon be able to register to hunt deer this fall in the city limits.
The Rhinelander City Council voted Monday to resume the deer hunt for 2016 with rules similar to the 2015 hunt when no hunting was allowed in the city limits during the regular gun and muzzleloader seasons.
The bow and arrow hunt, which will be done in accordance with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources rules and regulations as well as all city ordinances, may also be closed at other times for safety concerns at the discretion of the mayor, such as the planned closure on the day of Halloween.
A change the City Council favored for this year is the registration period, in which the deadline to register to be able to hunt in the city will be Sept. 9, a week and a day before the bow hunting season for deer starts on Sept. 17, rather than allow people to register for the hunt after the season would begin this fall.
Council member Alex Young, who chairs the Protection of Persons and Property Committee, said the committee recommended having the registration deadline for this year to lessen the impact on the staff time required to review properties where hunting would be allowed and conduct background checks on the individual hunting applicants.
“We thought it would be a good idea to include a deadline this year that applicants get in their information by that deadline, otherwise they’re out of luck for this season,” Young said.
Deer hunting in Rhinelander has been allowed in recent years in response to complaints from residents about the deer herd in the city limits.
In the 2015 citywide deer hunt, 16 deer were killed by the 42 hunters allowed to hunt with 24 properties where hunting was permitted. According to a report on last year’s deer hunt, 35.15 hours of total staff time had been spent on administrating the hunt in the city. The majority of the city staff time included 13.86 hours for hunter background checks and 12 hours for property checks.
CITY DEER HUNTING REGISTRATION
Individuals interested in bow hunting deer within the city limits must register at the city administrator’s or clerk’s office at 135 S. Stevens St. on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Application forms will be provided for hunters as well as city landowners who wish to have their property hunted. All hunters will be required to hunt from a stand elevated at least 6 feet off the ground.
Hunters must have a valid state of Wisconsin bow license and must bring their back tag upon application for the program. Hunters and hunting properties approved in past years are not automatically re-registered, and those interested in participating have to complete a new application for this year’s hunting season.
The Rhinelander Police Department will perform criminal background checks on hunters who submit an application. Upon approval, hunters will be admitted to the program.
The state of Wisconsin has awarded the city antlerless deer permits. As a result, permits issued by the city are for antlerless deer only. Antlered deer may only be hunted and harvested if the hunter has his or her own DNR-issued buck tag.