Hunters May Pre-Qualify for Future Earn-A-Buck Seasons

Beginning this year, hunters who harvest an antlerless deer from a deer management unit that has been designated as Zone T for two years in a row will pre-earn a buck harvest privilege for the unit, should the Earn-a-Buck requirement be put in place the next year. Last March, the state Natural Resources Board opted to not approve any Earn-a-Buck seasons during the 2005-06 hunting seasons but left open the possibility for future EAB seasons beginning in 2006-07.

There are 39 deer management units currently on a watch list for possible Earn-a-Buck rules in 2006 because this is the second consecutive year these units have been designated as Zone T.

Zone T units are those where biologists determine that a 'regular' deer hunting season will not bring the unit's population to within 20 percent of the population goal for the unit. The 20-percent benchmark was reaffirmed by hunting groups during the two-year-long Deer 2000 public involvement effort carried out by the department at the request of the Natural Resources Board. If after two consecutive years of Zone T hunting a unit is still over-goal, the Natural Resources Board may designate it as an Earn-a-Buck unit in the third year.

A hunter who harvests an antlerless deer in any of these units will pre-earn a 2006 buck harvest privilege for the unit should the EAB requirement be put in place in that unit next year.

Wildlife officials have designated a total of 44 deer management units as Zone T in 2005. These units will have an additional four-day antlerless only gun hunt October 27-30 and those units south of HWY 8 will also have a December 8-11 four-day antlerless only gun hunt.