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February 21, 2012

If you love deer hunting and everything that goes with it as much as I do, November seems like an eternity away. So this time of year we try to find an outlet for our anticipation to make the months go by quicker by going shed hunting, roaming our hunting property, tuning gear, and attending hunting shows to look at new toys and gawk at walls full of mounted trophy bucks taken in 2011.

Unfortunately, many of us skip one of the most important aspects of getting ready for the following year's hunt...spending just an hour or two learning about the big picture of herd management in our local area. Just a little time is needed to connect with the local wildlife biologist for your hunting area and learn the status of the herd, talk about your own observations, and learn how things are shaping up for fall.

About this time every year, the local wildlife biologist responsible for managing deer in your area really starts to dig in and begin making decisions that will impact YOUR fall hunt. Harvest numbers, hunt conditions, hunter densities, season frameworks, and many other factors that influenced your hunt last year are used to make decisions about the coming year. All the information that hunters provided when they registered a deer is compiled, studied, discussed, scrutinized, and studied some more. You can be part of the action.

In March, DNR biologists will hold 35 public deer hunting forums throughout the state to discuss deer herd specifics for each deer management unit (DMUs) of Wisconsin. Local biologists will be there to answer your questions about the unit where you live, hunt, farm, or vacation. On hand are all sorts of interesting unit-specifics like harvest histories, population estimates, sex and age ratios, aging information, fawn to doe ratios, and more. It's interesting information that all plays a role in determining how the local herd is managed. And you, as a hunter, are the key in helping to carry out the herd management strategy that is best for your area.

So come with questions and be an active participant. Doing so is easy and can have a direct impact on the upcoming season.

Can't make the local meeting? Don't like to go to meetings? Live all the way across the state from where you hunt? No problem. You can still learn about your unit and provide your input by going to the DNR website. The feature will be active March 5 through 30, and you will find information about your favorite DMU as well as provide your personal feedback.

Deer season might be months away, but you don't have to just sit and dream about it. Get involved. I promise that the more you know about your unit, the better you'll feel about your own hunting experience.

Thanks for being part of the Wisconsin deer hunting tradition.

Last Revised: Tuesday, February 21, 2012

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