Deer population exceeds state goal

(WEAU) - Deer roaming free may be harder to find than you think.

While the deer population is above the state's goal, some hunters this season had a bit of bad luck.

The Wisconsin DNR estimates there are more than a million deer here in the badger state.

Although the numbers are unchanged from last year, the state says the deer population is 44 percent higher than the state goal of 800,000.

“It was the worst season that I ever had. I hardly seen anything for deer and close calls I only had one or two deer that were within shooting range,” said hunter Andrew Zahurones.

DNR Big Game Ecologist Kevin Wallenfang says that the deer population may not necessarily be above the state's goal all across Wisconsin.

“We have some units that the population goes up and it’ll be above goal and in other parts of the state we'll have units that are below goal, said Kevin Wallenfang in a phone interview.

“I'm kind of surprised, it doesn't seem like there's that many deer, maybe their hiding somewhere,” said Zahournes.

The DNR says specific areas of the state are seeing more deer on farmland, and fewer deer in forested areas.

“Last hunting season I was out all, everyday all day and I've seen maybe three deer besides the one I hit,” said hunter, Michael Wagner

Although the agency says it’s difficult to measure the deer population statewide, the 136 deer management units across the state help with estimating numbers.

“All of the information that goes into those models come from hunter collected information through the annual deer harvest,” said Wallenfang.

“They keep complaining deer population is so high, where are they?” said Wagner.

The DNR says that there will be 35 management forums throughout the state this month, where hunters can talk about local deer management issues.

More information can be found at

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  • by paul Location: rice lake on Mar 15, 2012 at 10:21 PM
    I quit hunting as the permits got so out of hand. My hunting crew is seeing almost no deer & they drive the farm country where all these "deer" are hiding. I believe the field DNR know the situation but would lose their jobs if they spoke out. The problem is where the money is, there lies the problem. Only solution is a house cleaning of special interest groups!
  • by Chief on Mar 11, 2012 at 08:22 AM
    Which herd needs to be CONTROLLED?
  • by Tom Location: Iron River on Mar 9, 2012 at 09:25 AM
    I can't believe that no one has mentioned the uncontrolled wolf popuation! Every wolf kills approximately 19 deer annually. I believe the DNR has a difficult time accurately counting wolves, as well. The DNR says the minimum stetewide wolf population is approximately 800. However, there are other estimates that put the real popuation at between 2,800 and 3,200! When, primarily, concentrated in the northern regions, that's nearly 60,000 fewer deer every year! Wolves have 6, or more, pups annually. Deer have only 1, sometimes 2. It's a lossing battle if left uncontrolled. Assembly Bill 502 is voted on by the Assembly on Tuesday, March 13th. Deer Hunters - Contact your Assembly Representative, wherever you live, before then, to ask for their support of this legislation.
  • by Quit whinning Location: Eau Claire on Mar 9, 2012 at 06:23 AM
    Rabble rabble rabble rabble!!!
  • by Sam on Mar 9, 2012 at 06:14 AM
    I agree with most the comments but everyone complaining won't do anything. If you want to cut the head off the monster quit feeding it. Stop buying all these extra tags and maybe even your regular tag for a few years like I have done. No money less DNR
  • by gar on Mar 9, 2012 at 05:32 AM
    unfortunitly many deer are in town where their pets
  • by Dave Location: Bloomer on Mar 9, 2012 at 05:28 AM
    Last week I saw 6 one, day 10 another. Just north of Hwy S east of Hwy 53.
  • by Hunter on Mar 9, 2012 at 03:20 AM
    DNR = Don't kNow Resources
  • by ACACIA Location: HAYWARD on Mar 8, 2012 at 08:08 PM
    once again the dnr is lieing to the hunters in wisc.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 8, 2012 at 07:16 PM
    i think the dnr needs to learn how to count there not that many deer out there every year i hunt and i see less and less deer
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