Disagreement over antler-less deer hunt Submitted: 12/10/2013
Story By Kalia Baker

RHINELANDER - The antler-less deer hunt season opens Thursday.

Local legislators wanted to cancel the four day hunting season, but the DNR says that can't happen.

It would take at least six months to get through the administrative process to cancel any hunting season.

The DNR wants hunters to have a chance to hunt game before the season ends.

Jeremy Holtz is a DNR wildlife biologist in Rhinelander.

"The December antler-less hunt would simply be giving hunters who didn't get to hunt the first weekend--because they had to work, or they were in another part of the state--to fill a tag they already have," said Holtz. "So the odds of it having a significantly negative impact on the herd from a population management standpoint, I would consider them pretty low."

Republicans Tom Tiffany, Rob Swearingen, and Mary Czaja disagree. They say last year's late winter and high number of predators hurt the deer.

Now, legislators believe this year's early winter weather will continue to hurt the herd.

"My office in Madison, Representative Mary Czaja from Tomahawk, and certainly Senator Tiffany, have been receiving a lot of comments from frustrated sportsman regarding the low harvest of the deer season this year," said Rob Swearingen, Wisconsin State Representative. "As well as with the natural predators out there, and the early on set of icy conditions, we're worried that all of this together is going to create the perfect storm and take it's toll on these deer."

In August, two deer management units over-issued about 350 antler-less deer permits.

The DNR says it got about 254 of those permits back.

Last year in Oneida County, 74 deer were shot during the antler-less deer season.

Antler-less deer hunting is open from December 12 through December 15.

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