Outdoor Notebook: Talking deer herd management
When a group of people who enjoy the outdoors in Northern Wisconsin gather before long the topic of discussion will quickly turn to deer. The management of deer is a topic that is debated over and over by a variety of individuals. Deer and deer hunting even become a political topic. Following the election four years ago Wisconsin’s Governor Walker hired a Texan to examine deer hunting in Wisconsin. This Texan is widely known as “Doctor Deer” and his assignment was to make a series of recommendations to help Wisconsin manage our deer herd.
As a result of this process each of the 72 Wisconsin Counties now has a County Deer Advisory Council. In an effort to represent the desires of the general public in each county those who are selected to serve on this Council represent the following: the Conservation Congress, Agriculture, Forestry, Tourism, Transportation and Urban.
The Oneida County Council met Tuesday evening at James Williams Middle School. The members of the Advisory Council listened to the general public who were in the audience. The discussion was wide ranging and several recommendations were passed to be forwarded to the Natural Resources Board.
The first topic discussed was a look at the deer population in Oneida County. Those in attendance indicated that they would like to see the deer population in the County increased. To accomplish this objective one suggestion made was to increase logging. Another suggestion was to develop a winter-feeding program. Also using DMAP (Deer Management Assistance Program) may help to achieve a deer herd increase.
Activities that will increase the deer herd in Oneida County will most likely attract more hunters and wildlife observers to the area. Those activities that would increase the size of the deer herd will result in a healthy deer herd. Presently our deer herd is out of balance. Weather is a variable that we cannot control.
An increase in the size of the deer herd may negatively affect agricultural activities.
Other proposed program changes include the transition to an automated deer registration system in the 2015 deer season with a pilot occurring in 2014; and the proposal to restore a statewide restriction on the harvest of white/albino deer.
The next meeting of the County Deer Advisory Council will be early in December at the Airport Meeting Room. At this meeting the minutes of the first meeting will be one of the agenda items.
It appears that the wolf hunt is going at a faster pace than was anticipated. Several of the wolf hunters we have spoken with have told that they are seeing numerous wolves.
Those area bird hunters who hunt with well-trained pointing dogs are all smiles. Apparently a large flight of woodcock has stalled in our area. Hunting those small birds is best described as fun. When they are flushed they seem to jump straight up and then stall prior to flying parallel to the ground.
When the trigger is touched at just the right time there will be a puff of feathers and the woodcock will tumble. Now the challenge to the hunter is to find the bird. Hunters who do not have a bird dog may have a difficult time finding a bird on the ground since their feathers are great camouflage.
Some hunters who use a dog may find that their dog will not pick up a timberdoodle. Sure is fun cleaning those little bird. It takes quite a few to make a meal.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors personality Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.