November 1, 2014

Expansion of state deer herd approved

Wisconsin’s deer population could get larger, under new population goals set by the Natural Resources Board.

Hunters complained last fall that strict herd management policies have resulted in a shrinking white-tailed deer population in the state. Those concerns are prompting action from the Natural Resources Board, which voted Tuesday to increase population goals by 21-percent to a statewide target of 800,000 deer.

The policy, which still needs legislative approval, would set higher population targets in 43 of Wisconsin’s 131 deer management units.

DNR big game ecologist Keith Warnke says a larger population should help to address hunter dissatisfaction about a lower-than-average harvest during the 2009 gun deer hunt. However, he also warns that boosting the size of Wisconsin’s deer herd could have an impact on agriculture, forestry, and road safety.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (:43)

herdva031610