October gun deer hunt set to run October 16-19
MADISON – Wisconsin’s October antlerless deer only gun hunt returns in 2008 giving hunters an opportunity to harvest extra deer under mild season conditions, donate deer to statewide venison donation program and prequalify for Earn-a-Buck (EAB) authorization prior to the traditional November 9-day gun deer hunt.
During the Oct. 16-19 hunt, only antlerless deer may be harvested. The hunt will take place in most deer management units statewide. The only exceptions are deer management units with limited antlerless deer quotas (those units without any shading or striping on the map) and the Central Forest deer management region (white with black dots) where hunters met a benchmark 2:1 antlerless deer to antlered deer harvest ratio in herd control units over the 2006-2007 seasons. If the antlerless to buck ratio between the archery and gun seasons does not meet 2:1 during the 2008 season in the Central Forest deer management region (units 53, 54A, 55, 56, and 58), the October hunt will return in those units in 2009.
October gun deer hunting had been under a two-year trial moratorium that sunset when hunters in most deer management regions did not meet the required 2:1 antlerless to antlered deer harvest ratio designed to pressure deer populations down, closer to unit population goals. The October season is very effective in moving deer populations toward goals by targeting antlerless, or mainly female, deer say wildlife managers.
“October is a great time to hunt for folks who have trouble with cold conditions,” said Keith Warnke, big game ecologist with the Department of Natural Resources. “It’s also a great way to prequalify for Earn-a-Buck for those hunters who hunt in EAB units and want to have a buck sticker in their pocket on opening day during the November 9-day hunt.”
Besides gun deer hunters, many other game hunters will be in the woods and fields during the October gun deer hunt. All hunters, except waterfowl hunters are reminded that blaze orange requirements are in effect during all gun deer seasons. Hunters and other outdoor recreationalists should be aware of these other user groups and should respect others activities as they wish their activity to be respected by others.
Biologists estimate the 2008 prehunt deer population at between 1.5 and 1.7 million animals. Excessive deer populations contribute to increased car-deer collisions, costly agricultural and horticultural losses and reduced or stagnant forest regeneration due to deer selectively browsing certain forest tree and plant species.
Additional information on antlerless deer tags and EAB authorizations including a map of Wisconsin deer management units is in the 2008 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations pamphlet.
Wildlife managers remind hunters of the statewide venison donation programs available in both the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) management units and non-CWD units. Since 2000 hunters have donated over 2.8 million pounds of venison to the program which makes the meat available to needy families.
A list of deer drop-off sites is being updated weekly as meat processors sign-on to participate. All hunters must do to donate to the program is harvest, tag and register a deer as they normally would, then transport the deer to a participating processor. There is no charge to the hunter. It is suggested that hunters call ahead to the processor to verify hours of operation and capacity.
Precautions for Eating Deer Harvested with Lead Ammunition
Deer harvested with lead bullets have been shown to potentially have tiny lead particles or fragments remaining in the processed meat. These are often too small to be seen and can disperse far from the wound channel. Although lead in venison does not rival lead paint in older homes as a health risk for the public, the risk is not low enough to ignore. Children under 6 years and pregnant women are at the greatest risk from lead exposure.
The amount of lead found in a small percentage of venison samples suggests that long term effects of lead consumption could occur in people who regularly eat venison shot with lead ammunition. However, there is currently no known evidence linking human consumption of venison to lead poisoning.
These suggestions can reduce exposure to lead in venison:
* Consider alternative non-lead ammunition such as copper or other high weight-retention bullets, such as bonded bullets.
* Practice marksmanship and hunting skills to get closer, making cleaner, lethal shots away from major muscle areas. Aim for the neck or the head, or the vitals behind the shoulder. Don’t shoot at running deer.
* Avoid consuming internal organs, as they can contain extra lead from heart-lung shots.
* Request your meat processor to not use deer meat with excessive shot damage. If you process your own venison, trim a generous distance away from the wound channel and discard any meat that is bruised, discolored or contains hair, dirt, bone fragments or grass. Do not use deer with excessive shot damage.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke - (608) 264-6023 or Jason Fleener 608-261-7589