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Print

Wis. officials pull back on holiday deer hunts

January 16, 2014 at 01:12 AM

The Associated Press


EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP) — State officials have backed off on plans to hold a gun deer hunt from Christmas to early January in the southern two-thirds of the state, a decision that pleased those who use the holiday period for outdoor recreational activities.

The state Department of Natural Resources had proposed opening the southern part of the state to a holiday hunt from Christmas Eve to the Sunday after New Year's Day. But the DNR began hearing from residents who wanted those days safe for snowmobiling, skiing and snowshoeing, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reported (http://bit.ly/1hqQGNC ).

"They got a lot of feedback," said Josh Pederson, the director of the Eau Claire County Parks and Forest department.

The DNR held 35 public hearings across the state last fall seeking input on the deer-season changes. Among those who turned out in large numbers were snowmobilers who complained that a holiday hunt would result in snowmobile trails being closed during the holiday season — a prime time for families to be outdoors.

The state already allows a holiday deer hunt in the Chronic Wasting Disease Zone in southern Wisconsin, where the DNR is trying to reduce the deer population to slow the spread of the deer disease.

In response to pushback, the DNR cut back on plans to expand a holiday hunt. Instead of allowing hunting in the southern two-thirds of the state, in all areas south of Highway 64, the modified proposal would reduce the size of the zone. The hunt would go no further north than the southern third of the state, across the northern borders of Vernon, Sauk, Columbia, Dodge, Washington and Ozaukee counties.

In those areas the DNR would allow a hunt for bucks and does from Dec. 24 through Jan. 4.

The proposal, which is going to the Natural Resources Board, would also eliminate the four-day antlerless deer hunt in mid-December across northern Wisconsin. The four-day season drew criticism last year from hunters and some lawmakers who said it allowed hunters more chances to shoot does at a time when the northern deer herd population is low.

___

Information from: Leader-Telegram, http://www.leadertelegram.com/


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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