Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2010 gun deer season free of firearm fatalities for second time in state’s history

Volunteer hunter education instructors big factor in safety’s home run

MADISON – Wisconsin ended its 2010 gun-deer season free of hunter fatalities, a feat first and last seen in 1974.

“No one was shot and killed while deer hunting this year in Wisconsin,” said Tim Lawhern, Department of Natural Resources hunter education administrator and conservation warden. “This has happened once before in the state’s history of gun-deer seasons. And that was 36 years ago.”

Overall, there were 12 hunting incidents during the nine-day deer gun season. Lawhern said that for the families of those injured hunters, 2010 didn't feel like a success. The agency only tracks firearm-related incidents and does not keep track of deaths or injuries due to heart attacks, tree stand falls or other causes.

“Any shooting incident is one too many,” Lawhern said. “We wish them all speedy recoveries.”

Lawhern, who also serves as the president of the International Hunter Education Association, says several factors are behind the successful hunt.

Education, guidelines and technology
High on Lawhern’s list as a key factor behind the second-only fatal-free season in Wisconsin’s history of the gun-deer hunt is the participation in the DNR Hunter Education Program – which began as hunter safety classes in 1967.

“The year before hunter education began in Wisconsin, the incident rate was 44 injuries for every 100,000 hunters,” Lawhern said, adding the 1967 course was six hours long and covered firearm safety only.

Things have changed since 1967.

“Since that time, we have seen things like the creation of opening and closing hours for hunting, mandatory blaze orange for hunters, full safety harnesses, firearm restrictions, global positioning satellite devices, cell phones and more,” he said. “All of these have contributed to the increased safety for hunters.”

Wisconsin’s hunter education certification program became mandatory for all hunters born or after Jan. 1, 1973 in 1985. That meant any hunter 12, the youngest legal hunter, beginning in 1985 had to complete the hunter education program.

“We have certified almost one million graduates. Our program has led the way both nationally – and internationally – with improved delivery, curriculum and outreach regarding safe and responsible hunting,” Lawhern said of the program taught by volunteer instructors statewide. Wisconsin’s hunter education program has had many firsts, including the nation’s first online course, instructor academy and a junior instructor program.

“The hunter education program also has evolved into more topics including knowledge, responsibility and ethics,” he said.

While the fatal-free season is a victory for safety, Lawhern says it wasn’t a complete surprise.

Predicting the fatal-free season, and the four rules of firearm safety
Lawhern says considering all the progress made in hunting, along with looking at the records behind every shooting incident of past seasons, made it easy to predict the fatal-free season was coming.

“We know a tremendous amount about hunting incidents. We can predict who is going to be shot. We can predict how many, where and what they are going to be doing at that moment,” Lawhern said. “We just don’t have the names and addresses.”

Lawhern’s analysis shows about one-third to one-half of all injuries is related to deer drives. The self-inflicted injuries will be one-third to one half of all the total of the gun-deer season.

“We also know the shooters younger than 18 will make up about 20 to 30 percent of the shooting injuries. The vast majority will occur on private land and half will happen on opening weekend,” he said. “Ultimately, nearly all are linked to a violation of one or more of the four basic rules of firearm safety – treat every firearm as if it is loaded, never point your firearm at a person, never put your finger in the trigger until you are ready to shoot and know what is behind your target.”

And, Lawhern says, the most significant contributors to hunting incidents are those 35 and older – the hunters not covered by the mandatory hunter education course rule. “All hunters should take the hunter education certification course – no matter the age.”

Safety doesn’t take breaks
“Our hunter education program is revered as one of, if not the best in the country,” Lawhern said, adding most of the volunteer instructors have never experienced a gun-deer season free of fatalities. “Those instructors, along with other factors, are major contributors to the success and safety of hunting.”

The course helps all hunters to make safety a habit.

“Safety does not take a vacation. Either you are safe all the time, every time, or you are not. You are only as safe as the next hunt,” he said.

Lawhern says he hopes those who haven’t completed the hunter education certification course will make it a priority in 2011 to make the next gun-deer season the third fatal-free in the state’s history. More information about hunter safety education is available on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Lawhern – (608) 266-1317

Source: Wisconsin DNR
Site: http://dnr.wi.gov/news/DNRNews_Lookup.asp?id=252#art2

Hunters register a preliminary tally of 218,144 deer over nine-day season

MADISON – A survey of Wisconsin deer registration stations conducted by the state Department of Natural Resources has yielded a preliminary tally of 218,144 for the just-ended, nine-day November gun deer hunt, an 11 percent increase over the 2009 nine-day season. The opener was highlighted by good hunting conditions on opening day and no firearm-related fatalities for only the second time on record (see related news release).

Statewide, hunters registered 102,006 bucks (a 17 percent increase over 2009) and 116,138 antlerless deer (a nearly 7 percent increase over 2009). Gun deer license sales totaled 621,094 at the close of the hunt.

The nine-day harvest numbers are preliminary and are expected to change before a final report is published in late winter. It does not include harvest information from the archery, October antlerless gun deer hunt, muzzleloader, December antlerless deer gun hunt or late archery seasons. The preliminary nine-day gun harvest count in 2009 was 196,688.

A table of county by county (pdf; 39kb) harvest broken down by DNR region, with a comparison to the 2009 preliminary harvest is available on the DNR Web site.

“This season included more regular units with a substantial number of buck only units as many units in the northern and central forest regions are close to population goals or are below goals,” said Keith Warnke. “Wildlife management and especially deer management is a process of continual adjustment. This season’s structure was influenced by deer hunters, population goal changes, last year’s deer harvest, and the resulting estimated local deer populations.”

Late seasons now open
“There are still days to hunt in 2010,” said Warnke. “The muzzleloader hunt is already underway for hunters holding unused gun buck and antlerless deer tags and there’s the statewide antlerless deer hunt Dec. 9-12.”

Hunters are reminded that the antlerless deer hunt Dec. 9-12 is open only to hunters with a valid antlerless deer tag for the unit in which they are hunting. That means that in many units in northeast Wisconsin, there will be little or no hunting during that four-day season.

There is the Holiday hunt in CWD zones in south central Wisconsin that starts Dec. 24 and lasts until Jan. 9, 2011.

In February, DNR biologists will use unit-level harvest numbers to develop overwinter population estimates and will propose season structures for 2011 in March. The Natural Resources Board will approve season structures at their April meeting.

Hunters asked to participate in online Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey

The Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey is still active until the end of all deer seasons and wildlife managers are asking hunters to keep sending in reports or to send in a report of what they saw during the just completed 9-day gun hunt.

“The observations of over 600,000 hunters spread out all across Wisconsin are invaluable to biologists watching for trends in wildlife populations,” said Brian Dhuey, DNR research scientist who compiles most of Wisconsin’s wildlife harvest and survey statistics. “The more observations the better in terms of tracking trends in species abundance and distribution.”

Hunter volunteers being recruited for deer research starting this winter

Following the close of the 2010-11 deer hunting seasons, DNR and UW researchers will shift into high gear with several multi-year deer research efforts.

Volunteers are needed to accompany and assist researchers in obtaining permission to access private property, live-capturing deer, fitting them with radio transmitters and then observing the marked deer for causes of death, fawn production and fawn survival. This research effort is intended to answer hunter questions regarding the role of predators on deer populations, factors affecting fawn recruitment and hunter harvest rate of bucks. Interested volunteers can find out more information and sign up on the White-tailed Deer Research Projects page of the DNR website.

Young hunters prove themselves safe and responsible

“What is really exciting, is the 11,331 mentored gun deer hunting licenses purchased by 10- and 11-year olds,” said Diane Brookbank, chief of DNR’s licensing and customer service unit, “an increase of more than 1,400 licenses over 2009. These are the future hunters who will step into the woods in place of the hunting ‘retirees’ as our population ages.”

Wardens reported no firearm incidents among these young hunters.

More than 621,000 gun deer licenses sold

DNR’s automated License Issuance System, known as ALIS, peaked at 330 transactions per minute at 5:30 p.m. on the Friday before gun season. The 621,094 gun licenses sold through the end of the season on Nov 28 was a 3 percent drop from 2009 gun deer sales.

Archery license sales stayed with recent trends and increased by 510 licenses compared to the same period in 2009.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke – (608) 264-6023, Jason Fleener - (608) 261-7589 or Bob Manwell – (608) 264-9248

Source: Wisconsin DNR

Monday, November 22, 2010

2010 Wisconsin Opening Day Gun Deer Season Report

MADISON – Nearly ideal hunting conditions across the state contributed to an active opening morning of the 2010 Wisconsin nine-day regular gun deer season, according to anecdotal reports from registration stations across the state.

Good weather, with no rain and cool, but not cold temperatures, along with corn mostly harvested, leaves off the trees and even a few areas with tracking snow, all contributed to good hunting conditions.

Wildlife managers and conservation wardens reported hearing fewer shots but more single shots rather than repeated shots, indicating that visual conditions were excellent and many hunters were probably taking a deer with a single shot. This contrasts with the 2009 season, when dense fog covered much of the state opening morning, and there was still a lot of corn left in fields to be harvest.

A small amount of snow still covered the ground in far northwestern and north central Wisconsin, which further improved hunting and tracking conditions in that area.

There were many reports of young hunters participating in the mentored hunting program. Dave Matheys, Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist at Viroqua, was working a registration station in Gays Mills and reported on one young 10-year-old hunter who was being mentored by his mother. The young hunter had a doe run out in front of him and had a clear shot at 10 yards and dropped the doe. Then just seconds later, a buck came out in pursuit of the doe. With one deer on the ground, they let the buck take off.

“His mother said the young hunter was ‘just shaking like a leaf” after the episode,” Matheys said. The mother, father and son were headed back out to the woods to see if they could now fill a buck tag.

There were numerous reports across the state of bucks still pursuing does, indicating the rut, or white-tailed deer mating season, was also still in progress. Many of the bucks being registered had swollen necks, another indication that the rut was still taking place.

With fewer antlerless permits available in about half of the state, and no antlerless permits available at all in areas of northeastern Wisconsin, many registration stations were reporting many bucks being brought in.

Michelle Carlisle DNR wildlife biologist at Balsam Lake just east of the Minnesota/Wisconsin line near St. Croix where there was still cover of 2 to 4 inches of crust snow left over from last week’s storm, said traffic has been steady all morning at the registration station. One truck came in with eight deer and another with six!

“One young man brought in a gorgeous buck and I asked him if this was his first one,” Carlisle said. “He said, ‘no,’ this was his third deer in as many years and the other two were equally nice.

State conservation wardens were investigating four non-fatal shooting incidents by mid-afternoon on Saturday. Two incidents involved deer drives, one in Marathon County and one in Door County. The Door County victim was shot through the thigh. A shooting incident in Wood County reportedly involved a hunter not knowing what was behind his target, one of the cardinal rules of hunting. While one in Marquette County, described as a graze, involved well spaced hunters – 400 yards apart.

Regional DNR Reports

DNR Northern Region

Burnett County - Duke Welter of Eau Claire, a member of the Natural Resources Board, was hunting in this morning when he shot an 8-point buck. Then came the work, which warmed him up nicely. “It was a long drag,” he said. “It was a real nice hunt. I heard a lot of shooting early. We have 4 inches of snow on the ground and I think people can see the deer really well. It’s a beautiful day in the woods.”

Florence County - Jeremy Holtz, the wildlife biologist stationed in Florence, reported from the registration station at the Wild Rivers Interpretive Center. Hunting conditions were tolerable with temperatures about 20, no snow accumulating on the ground but a few flakes were flying overnight. Between 11 a.m. and about 1 p.m. the station had registered 30 deer. Hunters reported that antler development seems a bit better this year. Holtz had seen some six-pointers, some eight-pointers and even a few 10-pointers, “Which is unusual up here,” he said. “We don’t normally see 10-pointers. “The hunters we are seeing coming in this early in the day told us they pretty much shot the first buck they saw. We haven’t seen young hunters coming in just yet, but a few adult hunters reported that they were registering their first bucks. The hunters seemed relaxed, more polite and satisfied compared to how they had been feeling the last few years. They realize that we are trying to rebuild the herd and they seem satisfied with the conditions this year.” One group of hunters reported seeing a few wolves.

Iron County - Bruce Bacon, wildlife biologist reporting from Hurley said hunters are finding ideal conditions and are staying in the woods. “I heard more shooting this year than last. The bucks are definitely still in the rut up here with swollen necks, even the young forked bucks,” Bacon said. Registrations had been pretty slow at the Hurley station by mid afternoon because so many hunters were still in the woods enjoying a fine day.

Sawyer County - Ken Jonas, the area wildlife supervisor at Hayward, said the hunting conditions were excellent with at least 3 inches of snow everywhere in the area and crusty cover that made it easy to hear deer coming. It was still pretty cold right around freezing by mid-afternoon. “People are staying out and it is a great time to be in the woods. Given the cooler temperatures the hunters don’t feel any pressure to get in and quickly register their deer, so they can spend more time outdoors,” Jonas said. Earlier this week people scouting had reported seeing bear tracks, but not today.

St. Croix County - Michelle Carlisle DNR wildlife biologist at Balsam Lake just east of the Minnesota/Wisconsin line near St. Croix said it’s cool but people are upbeat. The weather conditions are cold, about14 with a stiff wind that gets you when sitting in your stand. There is still cover of 2-4 inches of crust snow left over from last week’s storm. Traffic has been steady all morning at the registration station. One truck came in with eight deer and another with six! “One young man brought in a gorgeous buck and I asked him if this was his first one. He said, no, this was his third deer in as many years and the other two were equally nice. Some people are seeing more deer, some fewer, but they seem pretty happy to be outside with good hunting conditions.”

Washburn County- Mike Zeckmeister, the regional wildlife manager from Spooner reported from the registration station at the Spooner Holiday Gas Station at the south end of town. Hunting conditions in area are excellent with two to four inches of crunchy snow cover from Duluth south to Turtle Lake. “The snow is crusty as it got cold last night and it is crunchy so hunters can hear the deer coming,” Zeckmeister said. “Of course, with 100 percent snow cover, they can see them quite well too. This morning from my tree stand near the Washburn-Burnett County line southwest of Spooner I heard 210 shots in one hour.” The day started about 12 degrees, so it was a bit chilly, but if you have a few hand warmers and dress appropriately it is just fine, Zeckmeister said/ By 2 p.m. he had already aged about 100 deer almost evenly split between bucks and does, which is about normal. You might expect to see more antlerless deer coming in from this herd control area, but that hadn’t been the case thus far. Some nice bucks were being registered. One hunter said he was especially grateful for the opportunity since last year he was serving in Iraq during the deer season. Another gentleman who is 75-and-a-half years old just registered a two-and-a-half year old buck, so he was quite pleased. Another gentleman came in with his granddaughter who had taken a nice buck fawn, and she was quite happy too. “The afternoon is warming up slightly, but with a few hand warmers, we’re still getting our work done,” Zeckmeister said.

DNR Northeastern Region

Door County - James Harbaugh, DNR wildlife technician working registration in Sturgeon Bay, reports a remarkable number of deer coming into his station from Potawatomi State Park. Deer hunting was only recently authorized in the park in efforts to trim down a herd that had grown too large and was having significant impact on forest growth and was spilling over onto the Cherryland Airport raising safety concerns. Harbaugh said he had one Honda CRV pull in stuffed with five deer. Another vehicle arrived with seven and many were showing up with four to five. It was a mix of antlered and antlerless. Hunters in general appeared to be having a good time including an 84-year-old hunter who bagged a 12-pointer, the “largest deer of his life” he said. Another 58-year–old male hunter bagged his first deer ever.

Manitowoc County - Jeff Pritzl DNR Northeast Region wildlife supervisor working registrations in Manitowoc reported comfortable conditions with a light but steady breeze at the opening of shooting hours. Pritzl said that if the breeze were to lighten a bit conditions would be about perfect. By early afternoon he’d registered a number of nice bucks with a fairly high number of 3.5-year-olds that looked healthy and robust. The first deer he saw today was taken close to home. As he was leaving his house to head for his registration station the neighbor woman was in the yard and signaled him to come over. She had woken early, looked out the window to see two deer behind her house. She went back to the bedroom, woke her husband and told him get his pants on and grab his gun. He apparently followed orders and bagged a nice deer. Some out of state hunters will leave Wisconsin with a good impression of hunting here added Pritzl. A truck pulled up with four Coast Guardsmen and three deer. They were stationed at the Two Rivers Coast Guard base and were from Texas, Nevada and Massachusetts and had the three deer before 8a.m.

Marinette County - John Huff, DNR wildlife biologist working registrations in Crivitz reported temperatures in the 20s, no snow and a light breeze at opening. He was registering deer mostly from DMUs 49B and 51A which are regular and herd control respectively. He was aging a fair number of 1.5 and 2.5 year olds which Huff noted is “a pretty normal age distribution” for the November hunt. Hunters he’d talked to said they were seeing deer. In the morning he registered an antlerless deer each for a brother and sister, both hunting as first-time hunter’s education graduates. They’d shot the deer within minutes of each other. The boy shot first and then while they were admiring his deer, a second appeared and the girl shot hers. Huff says they were both pretty excited and were heading back out to look for bucks.

Oconto County - Opening day was a crisp and cold one in northeast Wisconsin with starting temperatures in the low 20s, sky slightly overcast with high clouds, and very little wind. Pickup trucks were pulling into the registration station in Oconto Falls almost as soon as the season opened said dnr wildlife manager James Robaidek. By 10:30 deer were being registered one after another as the trucks pulled in. Most of the deer being registered at that time were bucks with an occasional large doe. One of those bucks claimed most of the hunters attention. It was a 12-pointer shot by Mary Zuehlke from Lomira. It was very special to her and to her hunting party since it was Mary’s first deer and also her first hunt. One dad and his son came in to register dad’s deer. The young “mentored hunter” and his dad planned to return to the woods again in the afternoon in hopes of the boy bagging one of his own. Two hunters said they weren’t seeing deer like they used to, but they’d both gotten theirs and were registering them

Outagamie County – DNR wildlife biologist Dick Nikolai in Shiocton has been aging deer for many years and was hunched over the bed of a trailer answering and demonstrating how deer were aged. When he’d completed his demonstration, he asked the hunter to tell him how old another deer was…and the hunter and his son agreed on an age and Nikolai told them they were right. One cold and tired hunter registering in Shiocton was cold and tired. He saw five deer in an hour, and shot one in a swamp. He dragged the deer out of the swamp and claims to have pulled that deer through water that was 4 feet deep. He was heading home to rest and said he hoped his wife didn’t have chores for him when he got home. Nikolai said bucks and does were running about 50-50. By noon he had registered 70 deer, plus given two interviews. One to Green Bay’s Channel 26 and the other to the Appleton Post-Crescent. One hunter said that he’d seen “plenty” of deer and had to restrain himself.

Shawano County - DNR wildlife manager Bryan Woodbury worked the Shawano registration station. Woodbury said before noon he had registered 32 deer and that 23 of them were bucks. He said that the deer coming in were all good size and looked healthy and well fed. One hunter had gotten his deer and when asked about what he saw in the woods reported that two does followed his buck and that after his shot he saw lots of deer running on the same trail below his tree stand.

DNR Southeast Region

Fond du Lac County - Dale Katsma, DNR area wildlife supervisor, was at the Dins registration station in Dundee, in the middle of the Kettle Moraine Northern Unit. "Boy, it's busy," he said at 1:15 p.m. "They keep piling in. It's clear and cold here and a good day for hunting. We've registered about 62 deer already. The vast majority of them are bucks. It's a regular unit here, in the middle of the Kettle Moraine Northern Unit. Forty-two of them were bucks and 20 were does and fawns. There were quite a few older bucks. A few nice ones came in. We saw a couple of young people, mentored hunters, with their first deer. We were here last year too and it seems like it's busier this year. But there have been a lot more bucks. We won't know till the end of the day. We're a regular unit this year and we were last year too. We're seeing a trend that we've been seeing in recent years. More older bucks, not as many yearlings, but 2.5, 3.5 year olds, one 4.5 year-old bucks. It says we're not harvesting deer at as high a rate as we did years ago. I think the opportunities are out there for hunters. It varies around the state. Last year, northeastern Wisconsin numbers were down. Other parts the numbers are pretty good. We did a car count and the hunter numbers are down by 20-25 percent in terms of vehicles.”

Walworth County - Staff was busy tagging deer and sampling for CWD at Bob Black Meat Processing: Delavan shortly before noon. Approximately 20 deer had been registered. Thirteen-year-old Zakary Hudson shot a yearling in the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest near Lagrange. “It’s the first one I hit. But not the first one I’ve ever shot at.” Christine Siewert has travelled to Wisconsin from Lebanon, Pennsylvania for the past five years. She “missed a nice 8-eight-pointer.” But was happy she was able to bag a doe.

Waukesha County - Tim Lizotte, area wildlife supervisor in southeastern Wisconsin, broke away from taking CWD samples to report that the registration station was not overrun at the time, but as for the day, "It's going awesome. We have been steady and we're seeing happy hunters. We haven't had any grumpy people yet. They report seeing lots of deer and everyone is saying the hunting conditions are good. And the Badgers are winning (against Michigan's football team.) So right now, everything is going in the favorable directions. We haven't really had anything out of the ordinary or anything like that. We had one trophy buck, several nice bucks, definitely more does…the standard mix. We had one 6 to 8 year old does, definitely on the older side. We're in Earn A Buck so there is more incentive here for harvesting does. The deer have been looking really good. Very healthy, lots of fat. At least in this part of the state, the hunting conditions probably couldn’t have been better, unless there was some snow on the ground. Not excessively windy. Cold but not terribly cold, and really good visibility. It was a really nice morning." Marcus Smith, DNR Southeast Region public affairs manager reported sunshine and temperature in the 30s were conditions facing hunters in the Southeast Region on opening day. When he arrived at the Mukwonago Village Mini-Mart at 11 a.m., eight does and four bucks had been registered. The first deer came in shortly after 6 a.m. The majority of hunters were not happy with the results. “They only deer they saw were the ones they shot,” according to a Mini-Mart employee.

DNR South Central Region

Dane, Sauk, Richland, Grant and Iowa counties - Regional DNR public affairs manager Greg Matthews was collecting lymph nodes and heads from registration stations and transporting them to Black Earth where they will be prepared for CWD testing. He notes that the weather was sunny, with only a few hazy clouds in the sky and temperatures in the mid-30s. Great weather to be out in wood and field. He reports that a huge buck, weighing 210 pounds, was registered at Plain. Hunters were staying afield, despite the Badger game, to take advantage of the great weather.

Dodge County - Chris Cole, wildlife technician working at the Holiday Food and Sport in Waupun, reported registering a little more than 100 deer by 2:30 p.m. with the count tipped slightly in favor of bucks over antlerless deer. He felt that deer were coming in a little quicker than last year and was expecting the usual rush as hunting hours closed down. Hunters were reporting good conditions and were seeing deer with some saying there was still some rutting activity going on with bucks following does.

Jefferson County - Eric Lobner, South Central Region wildlife supervisor, who was aging deer at River’s Edge Farm Market in Jefferson, Jefferson County, said he was seeing a mixture of deer ages among early registrations, including a 3-year-old 11-point buck and some older does, 4- and 5-years old. “They all are good size and have a lot of fat – good antler development with long tines…buck necks are swollen, so they are still in the rut. And that’s what hunters are saying they are seeing. They’re are using scents and it’s helping them their success.” Lobner drove through nearly Jefferson Wildlife Area before setting up his station, and said he counted 26 vehicles. The weather was good, and hunters were out. People he had talked to seemed happy, “But then everyone is happy at a registration station. One guy brought in four deer – two were going to a food pantry.”

Richland County – Tom Hauge, director of DNR wildlife management reported clear visibility greeted deer hunters this morning near Ithaca, a welcome change from 2009 when fog obscured vision until late morning. Cool temps and brisk wind from the east made everyone feel like the extra clothing was worth it. Steady shooting in the area seemed to indicate the 2010 season was off to a good start. Young Eddie Schott (Prairie du Sac) was hunting with father Tim as a mentored hunter. Eddie had taken an antlerless deer in the early antlerless season so he already had the first-deer experience; now he wanted to find a buck. He didn't have to wait long. About 7:15 a.m. they saw a doe burst from the opposite hillside and beginning crossing the field near their blind. Right on her heels was nice nine-point buck and he was totally focused on the doe. Father Tim managed to get the buck to stop on his third try and Eddie was ready go and true on his aim. Tim could not have been prouder. Eddie's first buck is now also the camp's biggest deer so far and a strong contender for the opening weekend big buck contest.

DNR West Central Region
Adams County - Jon Robaidek, wildlife biologist out of Adams, said deer had been constantly rolling in since about 10:30 in the morning. “It’s been a even mix of antlered and antlerless deer,” Robaidek said. “In terms of what a lot of hunters are saying, they are not hearing a lot of shots, but they are hearing more single shots and not hearing a lot of repeated shots, so they think hunters are getting their deer on the first shot.” Robaidek said it seemed like hunting pressure was down just a little in the area, but that the public hunting ground he had gone by earlier in the day was full. Robaidek had hunted in an open grassland area before going to work registering deer, and said he was able to observe a mentored hunting situation. “A father and his son were sitting together for about an hour, and the youth was just looking through the gun, and the father was pointing out things and explaining what they were seeing. After about an hour the young hunter got cold, and the father took him back to the car and then and went out to do his own hunting. It was really good to see the hunt is working out as it was intended.” Robaidek said some hunters were seeing some deer that were still in rut, with bucks pursuing does, but others said they felt the rut was over. Deer management units in the Adams area had been in herd control for the past couple of years, and this year it was a regular unit. He noted that most hunters were aware of the changes and were properly using tags.

Buffalo County - DNR wildlife technician Gary Wolf, registering deer at Mondovi, said he had seen about 20 impressive bucks by the end of the lunch hour. “They are larger than average this year, I would say. I think the hunters are pretty content. They are seeing deer and hunting in nice weather.”

Buffalo County - Kris Johansen, wildlife biologist in Alma reported activity at his registration station was steady. The area is know for big bucks and Johansen said that was all they were seeing in early registrations. “We’re seeing some really exceptional antler growth even on 2-and-a-half and 3-and-a-half year olds.” Hunting pressure was about average, and Johansen was expecting to see a lot of nice bucks come in later in the day. Hunting conditions were good, if not a bit too good. “It’s not quite cool enough to get people out of their stands and moving around. The only thing that would have made it really better is if there was snow on the ground.” Johansen said the hunters he was talking to were all in good spirits, “but of course they would be, because they were all bringing in bucks.”

Chippewa County - Rayne Sonnentag of Cadott was hunting with her husband and his brother. She admitted to being really cold. “I had seven hand warmers in my pockets,” she said.

They must have helped because she harvested two deer, a large buck and a doe. Her brother-in-law added a doe to the harvest. “They were very helpful,” she said of the men. “They got the deer in the truck. They (men) do come in handy.”

Crawford County - Dave Matheys, DNR wildlife biologist from Viroqua who was working a registration station in Gays Mills reported there was a marked contrast between this year as far as the attitude of the hunters. “The weather is darn near perfect,” Matheys said. “No fog, thank goodness. Cool, crisp and sunny – a beautiful late fall day.” Matheys said hunters were also happy because they were seeing deer. “They weren’t seen hordes of deer but they were seeing deer, unlike last year when many hunters said they weren’t seeing deer.” Hunters were also reporting they were not seeing as many hunters in the field. At the registration station, which is in a herd control area, they were seeing a lot of bucks being brought in, including some very nice 2.5 years olds but also one four year old 10 to 11 pointer. A young 10-year-old mentored hunter came in with his mother who was the mentor. He had shot a doe at about 10 yards and his mother said her son was already “shaking like a leaf,” when a few seconds later a buck came along that had been following the doe, clearly still in rut. It also came within 10 yards, but with one deer down, they let the buck run off. “The young man was so nice that he contributed the head for CWD testing,” Matheys said. He and his parents were going to head back out to hunt in search of the buck.

Dunn County - Temperatures were hovering in the low 20s this morning in west central Wisconsin. The air was clear and dry. For hunters sheltered from the wind, it was perfect. Others felt the sting. “I was getting cold until I started seeing deer and then I forgot all about it,” reported Russ Trout of New Richmond, who was hunting south of Mondovi. Trout registered a magnificent 13-point buck.

Trempealeau County - In Osseo, Sid Peterson was registering the biggest buck of his hunting career, a large-bodied deer with a massive, thickly beamed, eight-point rack. He was watching three does and knew a buck was behind them by the way they kept looking behind them. “He actually came in after the does. I grunted and he came right in and made a b-line for me.” “He was pumped full of corn when we opened him up,” said Peterson’s hunting partner, Patrick Rungstad, who harvested a doe.

Sourcel: Wisconsin DNR
Site: http://dnr.wi.gov/news/BreakingNews_Lookup.asp?id=1920

Hunters register 106,404 deer opening weekend of 2010 season

MADISON – Good to very good hunting conditions on opening day gave way to misty-rainy weather on day two of the 2010 gun deer hunt. Hunters participating in the traditional November nine-day gun deer hunt registered a preliminary tally of 106,404 deer over the first two days of the hunt.

The 2010 preliminary count was up about 6.3 percent from the opening weekend count of 100,330 from 2009. Preliminary buck harvest statewide in 2010 was 54,263 and preliminary antlerless harvest was 52,141.

“We want to remind folks that these preliminary numbers come from a staff call-around to deer registration stations this morning,” said Tom Hauge, director of the DNR wildlife management program. “The final opening weekend tally will likely be somewhat larger, when all the registration stubs are entered into the data base over the next couple of months.”

A breakdown of the harvest by DNR Region and county (pdf;35 kb) is available in portable document format.

“The hunters I talked to opening day were upbeat with most saying they were seeing deer,” said Hauge. “Conditions were especially good in the northwest where they had some snow on the ground improving both tracking and visibility.”

While the opening weekend is the deer hunting event of the year, “there is still a lot of hunting left,” according to Keith Warnke, DNR big game ecologist.

As of early Monday afternoon, 450 “opening weekend” hunting trip reports had been recorded on the department’s new online reporting database. This is down from 2009 when hunters filed 570 reports. Data from the reports is used to track wildlife population trends and abundance.

“We encourage hunters to continue to file reports,” said Warnke. “The value of this information increases over time and with the number of reports filed each year. We share this information with hunters on our website and it gives hunters an idea of what other hunters are seeing when they are in the woods.
Enthusiasm for hunting remains high

The department’s license sales office reported 607,926 gun deer licenses sold by the start of shooting hours on Nov. 20. This number was down 3 percent from the comparable day in 2009 but in at least one important category, 10 and 11 year old hunters, sales were up 15 percent from 2009.
Deer license and tag sales will continue through the hunting seasons.
The long custom of buying a license on the way to deer camp is also intact. DNR licensing managers reported selling 89,593 licenses on Friday, Nov. 19. At one point in late afternoon Friday, computers showed license sales coming in at a rate of 333 per minute. Hunters purchased 235,547 licenses in the five days preceding the season opener.
Of the hunters hitting the woods on Saturday:
•564,825 were residents and 32,056 were nonresidents;

•More than 86,000 youth hunters under 18 years old participated in this year’s hunt.

•Females represent 8.6 percent of the total hunters, and 20 percent of new 10- and 11-year-old hunters;

•Hunters throughout the U.S. and 22 foreign countries purchased a Wisconsin gun deer license. The highest number of nonresident hunters came from Minnesota (16,017), Illinois (7,968), Michigan (1,012), and Florida (838);

•The greatest number of foreign hunters came from Canada (32), Germany (19) and U.K. (9).

Injury report

There were no fatal shooting incidents recorded during the first two days of the hunt but there were five non-fatal firearms-related incidents, reports DNR Hunter Education Administrator Tim Lawhern.
“We wish a speedy recovery to the victims, but the fact remains that all five could have been prevented if strict firearm safety rules had been observed by the shooters.”

Four incidents occurred on Saturday.

In Wood County, a hunter was struck in the chest by a bullet fired at a running deer from more than 600 yards away.

In Marquette County, a hunter suffered a grazing surface wound to the head as the victim and the shooter both fired at a moving deer.

In Marathon County, a hunter was wounded below the left shoulder. The victim was a stander in a deer drive and the shooter was a member of the drive.

In Door County, a hunter was shot through the right thigh. Both victim and shooter were participating in a deer drive.

On Sunday, a Douglas County hunter was wounded in the high right shoulder. Both the victim and the shooter were participating in a deer drive.

Hunter Safety Administrator Tim Lawhern noted that historically about half of Wisconsin’s shooting incidents happen during deer drives, usually because someone wasn’t where they were supposed to be or someone shot at a deer when they did not have a safe backstop or in a direction they should not have been shooting.
“Always be sure of your target and anything behid it, and if you aren’t sure, don’t shoot.” Know where your bullet will impact if you miss.

“It is really important that hunting parties wanting to drive deer have a plan and that they follow that plan to the letter. Knowing where your hunting mates are and where safe shooting lanes are is critical,” he said.
Statistically, about half the hunting incidents happen during opening weekend.

“I am hoping we buck that statistic and can avoid further incidents this year,” Lawhern said. “Compared to the ‘good ole’ days,’ hunting is safe and getting safer. In 1915, of the state’s 155,000 hunters then, 24 were killed and 26 were injured. That meant 1 in about 3,100 hunters could expect to be killed or injured. Today it’s 1 in 100,000 or better. Still any shooting incident is one too many. Hunters need to remember the shooting TAB-K safety rules and be careful with deer drives later this week,” he said.

Source: Wisconsin DNR
Site: http://dnr.wi.gov/news/BreakingNews_Lookup.asp?id=1920

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Preliminary deer hunter wildlife survey results

MADISON -- Eight weeks into the 2010 deer hunting seasons, deer sightings are up slightly over 2009 in most areas of the state, according to early returns from the Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey.

With the archery season in full swing, and the opening of the 2010 gun deer season only a few days away, 797 Wisconsin hunters have sent in reports from 3,026 hunting trips to the online survey. Trips were reported from all 72 counties in the state, and in 124 of 139 deer management units. Hunters reported spending 14,577 hours in the field, and averaged 4.5 hours per trip.

“Thanks to all the hunters who have sent in reports,” said Keith Warnke, big game ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources. “This is valuable information that will become more valuable as the years go by and we can begin to track any trends in wildlife abundance and range.

Preliminary results from 2010 are available on the Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey page of the DNR website, final results from the 2009 season can be found there as well. Periodically during the deer season the department will publish up-to-date deer observation numbers giving hunters a good snapshot of what they and others are seeing in their hunting area.

“For this kind of survey the more reports the better, so please consider participating and send in a report or multiple reports. We publish this information online where hunters can easily access it and use it to their advantage in planning their hunting strategy.”

The survey asks deer hunters to report their hunting activity and share their observations of deer, raccoon, skunk, porcupine, red and gray fox, turkey, ruffed grouse, coyote, bear, otter, fisher, bobcat, house cat, badger, wolf, opossum, elk or any other wildlife seen where they hunt.

The most frequently observed species other than deer were turkeys. The next most frequently seen animal was ruffed grouse.

Deer hunters have reported 1,444 bucks, 1,949 does, 1,376 fawns, and 503 unknowns. Statewide, hunters averaged 0.36 deer seen per hour. Deer seen per hour varied between regions with the high being the Western Farmland averaging 0.51 deer per hour and the low being the Central Forest averaging 0.15 deer per hour. The Northern Forest and Southern Farmland reported 0.32 and 0.35 deer per hour, respectively. Hunters in the Eastern Farmland saw 0.46 deer per hour.

New this year, hunters can get a summary of their hunting activity and observations at the end of the survey period. All they have to do is provide their email address when they log their hunting activity and the DNR will send them a summary at the end of the survey period. This year, 243 individuals have supplied an email address to have a summary of their observations e-mailed to them at the end of the survey period.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke – (608) 264-6023
Source: Wisconsin DNR
Site: http://dnr.wi.gov/news/DNRNews_Lookup.asp?id=250#art2

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A message to hunters from DNR Secretary Matt Frank

MADISON – As Wisconsin deer hunters make final preparations for the 2010 gun deer hunt, Department of Natural Resources Secretary, Matt Frank wishes all hunters good luck and good hunting:
“The annual deer hunt is an incredible tradition that links generations and families and friends. We can be proud that Wisconsin is known across the country as a premier deer hunting destination. On the eve of this year's hunt, I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable hunt.”

Be sure to tune in Nov.11 at 8 p.m. to the 2010 Deer Show on Milwaukee Public Television station MPTV 10.1 and the Wisconsin Channel of Wisconsin Public Television across the state. A directory of stations can be found on the Wisconsin Public Television website [www.wpt.org/wisconsinchannel] (exit DNR). Hosted by public television’s Dan Small and sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources, the goal of the hour-long broadcast is to review what every hunter needs to know and share some tips that might be new even for the most skilled deer hunters. Viewers will also hear from several veteran hunters “sitting ‘round the campfire” sharing stories and thoughts about memorable hunts, memorable moments in their hunting careers and why they hunt.

For hunters looking for information on the 2010 deer season outlook for the state as a whole and region by region the DNR’s Bureau of Wildlife has published a 2010 Fall Hunting and Trapping Forecast, which contains outlooks for deer and many other popular game species along with commentary and analysis by wildlife biologists from around the state.

“A big part of a tradition like the Wisconsin deer hunt is helping newcomers to enjoy it. If you haven't already, I encourage you to introduce a new hunter to the sport. Our mentored hunting program is a great way to introduce anyone, but especially kids, to hunting. Today's new hunters keep the tradition alive for future generations.”

Source: Wisconsin DNR
Site: http://dnr.wi.gov/news/DNRNews_Lookup.asp?id=249#art1

Wisconsin’s nine-day regular gun deer season opens Nov. 20

Wisconsin’s nine-day regular gun deer season opens Nov. 20

MADISON – Wisconsin’s regular nine-day gun deer hunting season opens Saturday, Nov. 20 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 28. State wildlife officials say that while herd control has been the primary statewide focus over the last decade – and remains so in areas of the state this year -- herd growth is actually the primary objective throughout much of northeast Wisconsin for 2010.

Following a review of population goals that included extensive public input and legislative review, deer population goals were increased in 43 units this year. The end results are season structures and permit levels that will be aimed toward a more conservative antlerless harvest, according to Keith Warnke, deer and bear ecologist with the Department of Natural Resources.
As a result, this year nearly half of the state’s deer management units are under a “regular” season structure, and 19 of those units – primarily in far northeastern Wisconsin – are under a buck-only season structure. In regular units hunters may only shoot an antlered deer with their regular license, unless they purchase an additional unit-specific antlerless permit if they are available for that unit.

Roughly the other half of DMUs remain under a herd-control structure because the population of those units is estimated to be 20 percent or more over established population goals. In herd control units, hunters may shoot an antlered deer with their deer hunting license and may shoot an antlerless deer with the free herd-control antlerless permit that comes with their license in any herd control unit.

There are 22 units in southern Wisconsin in the chronic wasting disease management zone that will again have unlimited earn-a-buck regulations intended to meet deer population goals and disease management objectives. In these units, a hunter must first shoot an antlerless deer during a 2010 open season such as the archery deer or October antlerless seasons or have an unused 2009-2010 buck harvest authorization sticker to shoot an antlered deer.

In 2009, more than 635,000 licensed hunters registered a statewide harvest of approximately 330,000 deer. This fell well short of Wisconsin’s previous five-year annual harvest average of 492,000 deer. Several contributing factors resulted in a reduced harvest, but a reduced deer population and a reduction in antlerless harvest are thought to have played the biggest roles. A reduced annual harvest is also a sign that deer populations across the state are nearing management goals.
“The elimination of earn-a-buck outside of the CWD management zone last year also allowed all hunters to take bucks and pass on antlerless deer. Hunters who will be hunting in former earn-a-buck units may notice an increase in the number of antlerless deer and fewer mature bucks this year,” Warnke said.

Regardless of statewide or DMU level deer populations and expectations, Warnke says that deer abundance on a single property or local level often does not reflect deer population trends on the larger scale. Pre-season scouting and discussions with local neighbors will give hunters a better expectation of the hunt in their local hunting area.

“Autumn is beautiful and fleeting. For hunters, this is the best time of year. For many, the preparations for hunting – setting up stands, scouting for promising trees, looking for deer sign, practicing marksmanship – are a big part of enjoying the season.”
Regional Season Forecasts
Wisconsin DNR Regions

Wisconsin DNR Regions

Southeast Region
Deer populations in the Southeast Region remain relatively high compared to established population goals in all units except DMU 69, which is a regular unit. The remaining units are in Herd Control season frameworks, with units in the CWD Management Zone continuing under earn-a-buck regulations. While earn-a-buck regulations have been effective in reducing deer populations in the CWD units, there are still good deer numbers and harvest opportunities. Helicopter and fixed-wing deer surveys conducted in the CWD zone revealed significant, but unevenly distributed deer numbers. Scouting is more important than ever because of the lowered deer populations and uneven distribution

Good opportunities for deer hunting exist throughout the region but deer distribution varies greatly, depending on habitat and hunting pressure. Some of the bigger blocks of deer habitat are found on the Kettle Moraine State Forest and State Wildlife Areas. Hunting pressure is usually high on public lands. Scouting to find several hunting spots in advance of the hunting season will provide alternatives come opening day.- Dale Katsma, Acting Regional Wildlife Biologist

West Central Region
A majority of units in the West Central Region are near goals, with 10 units having a population high enough to require herd control. With the milder winter and the early spring, fawn production should be good. This past winter the overwinter goals were raised in 15 units allowing for a larger deer population in these units.
Those units that are near or below population goals have a regular deer season framework. Some of these units have a very limited number of antlerless tags available, so remember to purchase your antlerless tags early. In the remaining West Central Region units, deer populations remain higher than populations goals, so these units will follow the Herd Control framework.
Many of the units in the West Central Region are highly productive farmland units where the deer herd can bounce back quickly, so hunters should plan to harvest an antlerless deer or two while they are buck hunting this fall to keep the unit at a more manageable and healthier level. - Greg Dahl, Wisconsin Rapids Area Wildlife Biologist
Northern Region
This past winter was a good one from the white-tailed deer perspective. Overall, it was classified as a “mild winter” in the region. There were a fair amount of cold days, but the really deep snowfalls were lacking. However, there was some severe winter in parts of the north and quota recommendations were lowered in these units due to winter.

The region also had a very mild and early spring. This allowed for an early green-up, which is absolutely critical for deer coming off the winter. We started to see fawns early this year. These fawns are really getting a head-start to get ready for the next winter. This will help with over winter survival and future production. This will give a real boost in DMUs where we are rebuilding the herd. It also gives us caution to make sure the herd does not exceed the natural carrying capacity of the land in many other DMUs in the north. This is why there is a real mix of season structures and antlerless deer quotas in northern Wisconsin for the 2010 deer season.

There are 15 DMUs in the region where the gun antlerless deer quota is zero, meaning these units are buck-only units. There are 24 DMUs that have a range of antlerless permits available and there are seven units that will be in the Herd Control Season structure.- Mike Zeckmeister, Regional Wildlife Biologist
Northeast Region
Deer populations in the 16-county Northeast Region continue to be the tale of two differing habitats. The northern forest deer herd has not yet shown indications of improved productivity, while the farmland herds remain above goals despite long-running liberal harvest regulations for antlerless deer. Most of the region south of State Highway 64 and DMU 51A to the north remain in Herd Control status. Summer deer surveys in August and September will be watched for signs of improved fawn numbers in the north due to the milder past winter.
The six Northern Forest DMUs in the region remain below population goals and four of them will have a buck-only season framework for both archers and gun hunters in 2010 to give them the greatest chance for herd growth. As forests grow older, deer productivity declines. Hunters should assess their traditional hunting spots with an eye toward general forest age and consider positioning themselves near younger forests if they have not found satisfactory experiences in recent years.

With the absence of earn-a-buck requirements during the 2009 season in northeast farmland units; antlerless harvests dropped dramatically and deer herds grew slightly in most units. Fawn productivity is anticipated to be strong this year, and although some hunters will remain understandably conservative with antlerless harvest in pockets of low deer numbers, farmland unit hunters generally need to be comfortable harvesting antlerless deer in order to avoid another spike in the herd that will require more aggressive harvest regulations in the future. - Jeff Pritzl, Regional Wildlife Biologist

South Central Region
Deer populations are doing well in the South Central Region and hunters should have a great 2010, with one caveat. Hunters should be prepared to scout their hunting areas before the season, and also be prepared to move to areas where deer are found. While all the deer management units in the region are above deer populations goals, deer are very unequally distributed in the region.
The liberal earn-a-buck deer seasons are resulting in heavy hunting pressure in some areas and thus there are few deer in those areas. Other areas are hunted a little lighter and have good deer numbers. And in some areas there is little hunting pressure and there are very high deer numbers. In most of the SCR, the sex-age kill (SAK) population model is not used to determine deer numbers. Instead biologists use helicopters and planes to physically count deer.

One glaring observation is how unequally distributed deer are in the region. The helicopter surveys are conducted in one-square mile blocks. In some blocks, fewer than 10 deer are seen, while just a few miles away there may be 60 deer in a block. The deer season framework is based on managing deer at a certain density, recognizing deer numbers are high in some areas and low in others.

With the exception of northern Dodge and western Grant counties, all of the region’s DMUs will continue to fall under the CWD season framework, which has not changed since 2008. Reducing deer densities is the primary objective to limit spread of this always fatal brain disease in deer, and EAB along with extended gun season opportunities to increasing antlerless harvest are still in effect.

Hunters will again be able to get their deer tested for CWD at both DNR and private registration stations throughout the CWD management zone. Increased testing will take place in Jefferson, southern Dodge, and in southwestern Sauk and eastern Richland counties to improve monitoring of the disease. Testing locations will be posted on the DNR web and press releases will be issued prior to the hunting seasons alerting hunters as to where they can get their deer tested. For more information specific to CWD and its management, see the Chronic Wasting Disease section of this publication - Doug Fendry, Eastern Area Supervisor and Don Bates, CWD Operations Supervisor

Source: Wisconsin DNR
Site http://dnr.wi.gov/news/DNRNews_Lookup.asp?id=249#art1

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Consider venison donation this hunting season

MADISON – The Wisconsin Venison Donation Program and its affiliates, Hunt for the Hungry and Target Hunger along with more than 140 participating meat processors, are ready to accept and distribute extra venison donated by hunters. A list of participating meat processors is available on the Department of Natural Resources website.

In this, the program’s 11th year, there are participating meat processors in 65 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. In 10 years, hunters have donated more than 73,000 deer providing 3.3 million pounds of venison to food pantries across the state.

“Hunters have been generous providers in this program,” said Laurie Fike, venison program coordinator, “but it has been the volunteers who have put a shoulder to the wheel and accomplished the huge job of distributing the product to the pantries, making it available to families needing some food assistance.”

In the southern Wisconsin CWD management zone, Target Hunger has taken on the task of making the program work smoothly. It involves a partnership of community action groups including Southwest Community Action Program (Dodgeville), Community Action, Inc., Janesville, Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, Madison, and Central Wisconsin Community Action Coalition, Wisconsin Dells. Hunt for the Hungry operates the program in the Green Bay area.

Additionally, U.S. Department of Agriculture – Wildlife Services staff help administer the program in 49 counties.
How to donate
For hunters, the process for donating a deer hasn’t changed. There is no charge to the hunter except for transporting the deer. There only a few simple steps:
  • Field dress the deer and register it at a Wisconsin DNR registration station prior to donating the deer.
  • Call First! Contact one of the participating processors before dropping the deer off to verify the processor has space to accept your deer.
  • Deer legally harvested outside the CWD management zone are registered with a silver metal tag. These deer can be dropped off at a participating processor by Jan. 10, 2011.
  • Deer harvested in the CWD management zone are registered with a red metal tag. Red-tagged deer can only be donated to a processor participating in the Target Hunger program. Donated red-tagged deer are tested for CWD and only deer that test negative will go out to pantries.
  • Donate the entire deer to receive the processing for free. (Head and/or antlers may be removed for mounting.)
  • When dropping a deer off at a processor, sign the simple log sheet indicating your desire to donate the deer and the donated deer will be processed and the venison will be distributed to charitable organizations to help feed Wisconsin’s needy.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurie Fike – (608) 267-7974
Article Source: Wisconsin DNR
Article Site: http://dnr.wi.gov/news/DNRNews_Lookup.asp?id=248#art1

New Wisconsin Whitetail State Record?

Brian Inda, 26, of Wautoma bowhunted this fall on an old Christmas tree farm near Wild Rose.
The central Wisconsin ground obviously grows more than conifers.

Hunting Tuesday on the 120-acre property, a very big whitetail buck responded to Inda's grunt call and passed within shooting range of his tree stand.

The flight of Inda's arrow was true and, after a couple hours spent trying to regain his composure and calling in a support crew of friends and family, the deer of a lifetime was found.

"I was shaking so bad I didn't know what to do at first," said Inda, a carpenter who was hunting the property with friend Craig Carpenter of Wild Rose.

The buck has a typical rack of 12 points. When measured Wednesday by a certified scorer, Inda said it tallied a gross score of 198 2/8 inches and a net of 188 2/8.

As such, the buck is a potential state record for a typical whitetail taken with archery equipment. According to the Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club, the record is 187 2/8, taken in Dunn County in 2006 by Barry Rose of Elmwood.
The rack must undergo a 60-day drying period before it can be officially measured.
Inda took the rest of the week off. Wednesday he skinned the buck, packaged much of the meat and held a venison dinner for friends and family.

"I'm just the guy who was in the right place at the right time," Inda said. "This was a team effort, from scouting to hanging stands to talking about strategies. I want to share it as much as I can with everybody who has helped."

Inda plans to have a shoulder mount made of the deer, as well as have replica antlers made for the property manager who leased the land to him.

We'll have a more detailed story in Sunday's Outdoors Page.
Final scoring should be available in early January.

The photo below shows Inda, right, with Craig Carpenter and the buck at the Wild Rose Mill Pond. The deer's shed antlers from last year, which were found by Chris Inda, Brian's brother, are shown on the grass.