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Thursday - November 30, 2017 11:59 pm

DNR ecologist predicts high deer harvest numbers despite early returns

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The advice is simple: Stop counting deer.

That comes from big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang of the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources.

Amid news that this year's nine-day gun deer harvest recorded the lowest numbers in 35 years, Wallenfang says that won't be a complete picture until the final deer carcass is counted.

"We still anticipate that the overall deer harvest is going to be ahead of last year," he said. "We don't get too uptight whether the number is up or down during the gun deer season. We wait until all the seasons are complete and then we do our evaluations."

Wallenfang believes there is still a healthy herd out there. He actually predicts a slightly higher harvest this year once the special December hunts have finished, which is the modern deer hunt model.

"What people need to understand is that, compared to 20-30 years ago, when much bigger majority of the deer were being shot during the nine-day gun deer season, we have more seasons now, we have more options for them to get out and do that, and longer seasons," Wallenfang said. "More deer are being killed during these other seasons than during the nine-day."

A muzzleloader season is currently running in the state. There's also upcoming archery and crossbow and two other gun hunts before the end of January.

Last modified on Friday - December 1, 2017 12:35 am
Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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