Get involved in County Deer Advisory Councils
Share your views on deer management and help make a difference in your county.
- Gather public opinion on deer populations and goals, antlerless quotas and herd management strategies.
- Review and consider scientific metrics on deer herd trends, impacts to habitat and agriculture and human-deer interactions.
- Provide the department with recommendations on deer population objectives, antlerless quotas and herd management strategies.
- CDAC Governance of Operations
The policies and procedures in the "Governance of Operations" are intended to guide the operation and organization of the County Deer Advisory Councils (CDAC). They are published for the guidance of individual council members, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (department) staff, and the public to allow orderly and transparent transaction of business and to ensure that all citizens of Wisconsin have an opportunity to be heard on deer hunting and deer management issues.
View the CDAC Governance of Operations
- Role of the department
The department provides administrative and technical support to councils by setting a date range for each set of meetings, publicly noticing all meetings, developing meeting materials, maintaining the CDAC Web page, facilitating the public comment period and promoting CDAC meetings through news releases and other media. Local department staff work with CDAC chairs to set meeting dates, times and locations, provide deer herd data and answer any questions CDAC members may have. Aside from these support roles, the department is not involved in developing CDAC recommendations.
- CDAC formation
In September 2014, each county in Wisconsin formed a County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) to gather and consider public input from citizens and provide recommendations to the department and the Natural Resources Board on deer management issues in their county. Membership for these councils consists of individuals drawn from the general public who represent the large stakeholder groups in deer management and have a strong knowledge base on deer management issues affecting their stakeholder group. Each county council is chaired by a member of the Conservation Congress. At least three members must have purchased deer hunting licenses in seven of the past 10 years.
The stakeholder groups represented on these councils include:
- a hunting and/or sporting group;
- local government;
- tourism; and
- the Deer Management Assistance Program.
- Deer population objectives
Every three years, CDACs meet to develop county-based deer population objective recommendations (increase, decrease or maintain the herd) that will guide deer herd management over the following three years. To form these recommendations, councils review current county-specific data on fawn:doe ratios; antler development; herd health; deer impacts on agriculture, forest health, economics and vehicular collisions; and the deer hunter experience. Councils also welcome public input at every stage of the meeting cycle, though public involvement is particularly important during the public comment period, when preliminary recommendations are released for public review and feedback.
How it works:
- September: review and discuss deer herd metrics and receive public comments.
- October: receive public comments and develop preliminary three-year deer population objective recommendations.
- November: release preliminary recommendations for public comment.
- December: receive public comments and results of the public comment period; vote on final three-year population objective recommendation. Final recommendations are sent to the department for review by the Deer Advisory Committee.
- February: final, unaltered CDAC population objective recommendations are sent to the Natural Resources Board for approval.
Because deer population objectives are evaluated and set every three years, the next meetings to discuss population objectives will take place in the fall of 2017.
- Annual quotas, permit levels and season structure
To work toward their three-year population objectives, CDACs meet twice each spring annually to discuss and develop antlerless harvest quota, permit and deer season framework recommendations. Since these recommendations are reviewed and set annually, they can be adjusted as needed in response to the previous year’s deer harvest, winter severity and other factors. As with population objective recommendations, councils receive public feedback as they develop preliminary and final recommendations. These recommendations go into effect for the upcoming deer hunting season.
How it works:
- March: review and discuss previous year’s hunting season results and long-term harvest trends, accept public comments and develop preliminary antlerless quota, permit and season structure recommendations.
- Early April: release preliminary recommendations for public comment.
- Late April: receive public comments and results of the public comment period; vote on final recommendations. Final recommendations are sent to the department for review by the Deer Advisory Committee.
- May: final, unaltered CDAC recommendations are sent to the Natural Resources Board for approval.
- Summer - Autumn: approved quota, permit and season structure recommendations are put into action for the fall hunting seasons!
- Public participation
All CDAC meetings are open to the public; if you plan to provide written or spoken comments at a meeting, please fill in a comment card upon arrival at the meeting. Additionally, you may contact your local CDAC members to provide comments, or submit feedback during the online public comment period, which occurs in November every three years for population objectives or in early April each year for quota, permit and season structure recommendations.
Interested in becoming a CDAC member? Several councils around the state still have open seats for qualified individuals that reside or own land in the county. CDAC members are expected to attend all meetings, reflect the interests of the stakeholder group that they represent and network with stakeholders in the community.