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In 2004 Wisconsin deer hunters harvested more than 517,000 deer, setting the second highest single season deer harvest total in Wisconsin's deer hunting history. And according to the Department of Natural Resources, this year may not be much different as Wisconsin's deer herd remains above population goals and is projected to be around 1.7 million animals going into the hunting season.
"There will be excellent deer hunting opportunity this fall and total season long harvest is expected to be around 400,000 to 450,000," according to Keith Warnke, DNR big game ecologist. "As a result of extensive Earn a Buck (EAB) units last fall, there will be more older bucks in those units this fall. Aggressive antlerless deer harvests reduce the harvest pressure on bucks meaning more older bucks are available for harvest in future seasons."
There are other tangible benefits to herd control say biologists. Keeping populations at goal through aggressive antlerless harvests reduces agricultural damages and vehicle-deer collisions; promotes forest regeneration by reducing browsing pressure, enhances forest diversity, and puts the hunter in a high profile and valued role as a contributor to the conservation of everyone's natural resources.
Getting the deer herd to goal levels and maintaining it there is something that will benefit Wisconsin. Hunters are encouraged to take an antlerless deer if the opportunity presents itself.
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