Contact(s): Bob Nack, DNR big game section chief, 608-264-6137; Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist, 608-261-7589
MADISON - The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approved deer hunting season framework and antlerless deer quotas for 2016 at its May 25 meeting in Madison.
Final season framework reflects recommendations from County Deer Advisory Councils - 2016 marks the second year these councils have played a key role in Wisconsin's deer management efforts. In addition to direct feedback from councils, 5,574 questionnaires were received during a public input process.
Ten deer management units will not have an antlerless quota (each within the Northern and Central Forest zones), while the rest of Wisconsin will have a quota of 256,775 antlerless deer (compared to 224,735 in 2015). A decrease in buck-only counties compared to the last two years (19 in 2014 and 12 in 2015) is a good indication that councils are seeing herds rebound in Northern Forest Zone counties.
The issuance of bonus deer hunting permits, in addition to farmland zone permits included with each deer hunting license, will include 22,775 permits valid on public access lands (compared to 18,450 in 2015) and 136,875 permits valid on private lands (compared to 125,375 in 2015). As a reminder, bonus antlerless permit sales for the Forest zones begin Monday, Aug.15 at 10 a.m. Central Farmland Zone permits will go on sale Aug. 16, and Southern Farmland Zone bonus permits will be made available Aug. 17.
A Holiday Hunt will be held in 13 counties and provide for an additional antlerless-only opportunity for firearm hunters from Dec. 24 to Jan.1. In addition, junior license holders in Ashland, Sawyer and Forest counties will not be allowed to harvest antlerless deer - these councils exercised their right to submit this recommendation in an effort to encourage increased herd growth.
To receive email updates and other information regarding deer hunting and season structure in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and select the email icon near the bottom of the page for "subscribe for updates for DNR topics." Follow the prompts and select "white-tailed deer" within the "hunting" list.
The department's deer hunting webpage will be updated within the coming weeks with a number of helpful resources regarding hunting 2016 quotas and season framework. For more information, including an updated carcass tagging FAQ, search keyword "deer."