Deer Hunt to Begin

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The Department of Natural Resources estimates the deer herd in Wisconsin to be at 1.7 million right now; pretty high by their standards.

An excited group of bow hunters should help to thin it out.

"This year should be a higher harvest than last year," said the D.N.R.'s Regional Wildlife Supervisor Bob Michelson. "It's a very liberal season. We have high deer numbers, and would expect a good harvest."

In an effort to help the cause of trimming the herd, the D.N.R. has tagged many areas around the state as Earn a Buck Units. It's considered a last resort to lower the deer population in places like Northeastern Rusk County, Much of La Crosse, Vernon, and Monroe Counties, and about half of Trempealeau and Pepin Counties. Hunters in those areas must harvest a doe before bagging a buck.

"They can utilize that for taking a buck during bow season or the gun season," Michelson said.

Though some think hunters could mistakenly stray from the focus of Earn a Buck by accidentally killing a fawn or buck fawn, D.N.R. officials think the reward will outweigh the risk. They're hoping to top a record harvest of more than 95,000 in 2003.

The season runs through January 3, 2005. For more information on Earn a Buck units, go to