Committee backs bow deer hunt in Rhinelander for 2017
Deadline to register Sept. 15
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Rhinelander’s Public Safety Committee wants to once again allow bow hunters to register to hunt deer this fall in the city limits.
The committee voted Tuesday to resume the deer hunt for 2017 with rules similar to last year. Police chief Lloyd Gauthier, who will be in his first year as chief with a hunt taking placing this fall, reported to the committee that only three deer were harvested in the city during 2016 when 27 hunters registered with 22 properties available on which to hunt.
In the 2015 citywide deer hunt, 16 deer were reported killed by the 42 hunters allowed to hunt with 24 properties where hunting was permitted.
Deer hunting in Rhinelander has been allowed in recent years in response to complaints from residents about the deer herd in the city limits.
“I’ve received a couple of emails (about) deer activity in people’s yards in the city,” Gauthier said. “I think if you drive around at night you see deer inside the city. They’re definitely visible.”
Committee chairman Alex Young added that he has also noticed more deer in his neighborhood in Rhinelander.
“Other communities spend a lot of money dealing with deer abatement by bringing in sharpshooters and things of that nature,” Young said. “This (city deer hunt) is a way that we don’t have to hire people to do that.”
Committee members favored setting a Sept. 15 deadline to register to be able to hunt in the city, a day before the bow deer season begins in Wisconsin. In addition to the scheduled times when bow hunting would be closed this fall, the committee agreed the season in the city may also be closed at other times for safety concerns at the discretion of the mayor and police chief, such as not allowing hunting on the day of Halloween.
Given the next City Council meeting is Sept. 11, when final approval could be given for the hunt, interim city administrator Keith Kost suggested accepting applications now.
Prior to being allowed to hunt in the city, the Rhinelander Police Department has performed criminal background checks on hunters who submit an application. Upon approval, hunters are admitted to the program.