Nine-day gun deer season opener Saturday in Wisconsin.
Always big expectations for the hundreds of thousands of hunters who hit the woods. Numbers of hunters are down this year, so expectations of a big statewide harvest may have to change.
But deer numbers are solid, says DNR big game ecologist, Kevin Wallenfang. Especially in the farmland zone which makes up about two-thirds of Wisconsin.
“There’s basically unlimited antlerless harvest opportunities in our farmland zone,” said Wallenfang. “It’s extremely productive country because of the crops because of the habitat types. All of those things add up to: We’ve always got a lot of deer in the farmland zone.”
The DNR is still hoping for a huge response to the agency’s call for more chronic wasting disease carcass testing.
Testing is essential, says La Crosse County Conservation Alliance chair, Marc Schultz, for tracking the spread of CWD
“It will show up here and it will show up there,” Schultz said of CWD, “but had there been adequate testing the whole time — and admittedly that’s not cheap and that’s not easy. I think we’d have a better handle on where it actually is.”
The DNR has a list of CWD testing sites on website. In many counties, kiosks for carcass drop-off are available around the clock.