Wisconsin Deer:  The state estimated 1,611,00 deer post-hunt in 2020.  An estimated 1.8 million deer pre-hunt in 2019 and 1,311,100 post hunt.   A post-hunt estimate of 1,510,400 in 2018, and 1,377,100 deer in 2017.  About the same in 2016 at 1,345,000.   Tough 2019-20 and 2017-18 winters reduced populations in parts of the north.  After three mild winters, the state increased the antlerless quota for 2017-18. An extremely mild winter in 2015-16 increased the population particularly in the west central agricultural regions.  DNR's 2020 deer forecast.  Herd analysis at right. Historical Wisconsin hunting data and news archive.
Wisconsin Deer News

Follow up: DNR establishes CWD testing plan for Green Lake County September 7, 2021 Wisconsin, Ripon Commonwealth Press
... “Within a 10 mile radius of that positive case, we're going to try and collect 300 samples,” DNR Wildlife Biologist James Christopoulos said. “That should give us a 95% confidence interval of detecting the disease if it's present in at least 1% of deer.” ...

Outagamie Co. deer farm tests positive for CWD September 2, 2021 Wisconsin, We Are Green Bay
... The herd consisting of around 30 deer will remain under quarantine while an epidemiological investigation is conducted...

Langlade County deer farm tests positive for CWD September 1, 2021 Wisconsin, WSAW
... a 1-year-old doe was confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. All 57 deer at the 6-acre farm were already under quarantine after receiving animals from a CWD affected farm...  

DNR To Host Public Meeting On Green Lake County CWD Response Plan August 21, 2021 Wisconsin, DNR News
... in June, a 2-year-old buck tested positive for CWD in Brooklyn Township. To better understand the frequency and distribution of the disease in Green Lake County, the DNR will be sampling additional deer in the area ...

Manitowoc looks at results of 15 years of city deer hunting August 19, 2021 Wisconsin, WBAY
... “We average 45 to 50 a year in the city. That’s pretty consistent from year to year, and that was pre-bow hunt and after the bow hunt.” Lt. Schroeder, who oversees the city hunt, says ... accidents involving deer have remained stable ...

... estimated to be a 12-point buck was swimming hundreds of yard offshore, making its way to Michigan Island more than three miles away...  a couple people were sitting on a dock.    “They said, “Oh yeah, the animals do this all the time,’ ” ...

... Biological data collection is entering a new era. Community science, satellite remote sensing (SRS), and local forms of remote sensing (e.g., camera traps and acoustic recordings), have enabled biological data to be collected at unprecedented spatial and temporal scales and resolution. There is growing interest in developing observation ... Snapshot Wisconsin demonstrates that expansive observation networks can be tractably managed by agencies to support decision making ...

...The Sauk Co. case was traced back to a single-acre fenced farm, while the other deer had lived among 200 other deer at a 22-acre farm in Taylor Co.,.. 

... Snapshot’s Data Dashboard is a data visualization tool that lets the public interact with the data collected from over 2,000 trail cameras spread across the state. The Data Dashboard first was made available to the public in October 2020 and showcased the data of 18 species ...

... Based on population models ... environmental scientists ...  say the deaths reduced the statewide wolf total to between 695 and 751, down from at least 1,034 in spring 2020... an associate professor of wildlife ecology at Utah State University, questioned the methods ..,

... caught on CCTV of the exact moment that the bird of prey swooped down on the bunny... A deer then suddenly appears and runs straight at the hawk, kicking at it with its hooves. ...

Evers' DNR destroying young deer in name of COVID July 2, 2021 Wisconsin, Empower Wisconsin
...The Department of Natural Resources rolled out stringent protocols for wildlife rehabilitation centers just days before the late spring birthing season. That left most rehab facilities unable to meet the COVID-19 biohazard requirements in time to take in injured and orphaned fawn. So, many young deer have had to be destroyed...

Policy board repeats its Wisconsin deer quota fiasco July 1, 2021 Wisconsin, Watertown Daily Times
.. Kazmierski again accused the CDACs of caving into foresters’ complaints of deer overabundance in many areas ... Secretary Cole angrily asked Kazmierski: “How many times do we need to explain as an organization that unless you put a fence around it and keep deer out, you will have browsing? ...

Know What To Do If You Find A Fawn This Summer June 29, 2021 Wisconsin, DNR News
... Holding any wild animal, including a fawn, for more than 24 hours is illegal in Wisconsin and can result in a citation with a monetary fine. The 24-hour grace period is allowed for transporting an injured or sick animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator without delay...

... Using the scaled occupancy model, the DNR estimates the overwinter pre-hunt 2020-21 wolf abundance to be 1,136 wolves. There is a 95% chance that the population falls in the range of 944 to 1,377 animals, with the most likely population in the middle of that range. The results from this winter’s wolf survey and monitoring efforts indicate the population remained generally stable from the previous year..,

... This is the first wild deer that has tested positive in the county, and its location is within ten miles of Fond du Lac, Winnebago and Waushara counties, according to the DNR.  State law requires the DNR to enact a ban on feeding and baiting ...
... The deer was found in the Town of Brooklyn in early May 2021 and is the first deer to test positive for CWD in Green Lake County ... 

2020 Wisconsin CWD numbers June 5, 2021 Osceola Sun
... Almost 19,000 deer were tested for CWD in Wisconsin over the course of 2020. There were 1,578 CWD positive results. The southern farmland zone made up almost half of the sample size, with over 9,000 deer tested. But, they made up 98 percent of positive cases. Of the 1,578 CWD positive deer tested, 1,549 were from the southern farmland zone..,

White-tailed deer and rare newborn triplet fawns captured on video in Milwaukee by Urban Ecology Center May 14, 2021 Wisconsin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
...Researchers in a white-tailed deer reproduction study in northern Illinois ... Of the adult does that were pregnant, 77% had twins, 12% had singles, 9% had triplets and 1% had quadruplets. One case (less than 1%) of quintuplets was also observed...


... a study in a laboratory setting found deer can get COVID and spread it from one another, hence the new changes... Some of the requirements include needing respirators or multi-mask systems for rehabbers .... simply can’t accommodate or afford...

Killing white deer approved in DNR Spring Hearings April 20, 2021 Pennsylvania, WXOW
...  in the DNR Spring Hearings ... Participants voted overwhelmingly to allow hunters to harvest white deer ...

Vote this week to protect Wisconsin's white deer April 14, 2021 Madison.com
... From April 12 at 7 p.m. until April 15 at 7 p.m., any person, any age, in Wisconsin or anywhere in the world can vote on Wisconsin wildlife issues, including a white deer hunt. It is question #14 on the Conservation Congress section of this questionnaire...

... a circuit judge until his retirement last week, had been challenging how a DNR warden gathered evidence in the case, which also led to a pair of citations in addition to the misdemeanor shining charge...


...Ghosts of the Forest." That's the title of the book ... "The usual notion is that albino deer has to have pink eyes," said Bates." "But that's not the case."  The albino deer on the front of the book has bluish-grey eyes...

Help Shape Deer Hunting In Wisconsin April 7, 2021 Wisconsin, DNR News
... Anyone interested in helping shape local deer herd management preferences can submit comments online April 12-25. The online input tool for public comment will be available on April 12 on the DNR's CDAC webpage...

Wisconsin deer councils to draft recommendations March 20, 2021 Iron Mountain Daily News
... County Deer Advisory Councils in Wisconsin will meet virtually beginning Monday to discuss the upcoming deer seasons.  Every county in Wisconsin has its own CDAC ...

Osceola Sun
... a white-tail deer herd at a Burnett County breeding farm that tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in 2020 was depopulated on March 3, 2021. None of the remaining 14 deer tested positive for the disease...

...  saw four deer trotting along the ice, but two of them broke through. One of them was able to get back up, but the other was stuck ... tied the deer’s front hooves together and back hooves together ... People were just elated...

... “We do expect the deer out there to generally be in good shape.” ... all signs pointing to this winter finishing in the mild category. A mild winter doesn’t bring much over winter mortality..,

Jeff Pritzl Named DNR's New Deer Program Specialist March 5, 2021 Wisconsin, Door County Pulse
...  If we focus less on statistics and more on story, Wisconsin deer hunters still have a lot to look forward to in 2021.”  Pritzl said that without a doubt, the two biggest changes have been hunters shifting to more stationary hunting strategies and spreading their hunting effort out over a broader part of the calendar...

... At least 216 wolves were killed in less than 60 hours, exceeding the state quota of 119 ... “These animals were killed using packs of dogs, snares and leg-hold traps,” ..,

Wolves in the UP February 27, 2021 Wisconsin, Escanaba Daily Press
... Wisconsin’s data shows that wolves are responsible for more than 31% of deer killed in 17 northern counties. Also, they kill more than gun-deer hunters in the four-county area of Iron, Ashlund, Douglas and Forest...

Improve Habitat For Wildlife By Enrolling In DMAP Today February 25, 2021 Wisconsin DNR
... Landowners interested in wildlife management, whether for deer or other wildlife, can apply to join the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) to receive resources, participate in workshops and gain access to a community of like-minded landowners around the state. Visit the DNR website to learn more about DMAP...

Wisconsin wolf harvest 82% higher than goal February 26, 2021 YAHOO!News
... That total harvest during the court-ordered wolf season means hunters and trappers killed nearly 20% of the state's estimated total wolf population of 1,100 in less than 72 hours..,

Landowners: Enroll In DMAP By March 1 February 20, 2021 Wisconsin
... Landowners who enroll in the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) receive a wealth of resources to improve habitat for deer and other wildlife on their properties...

Judge orders Wisconsin DNR to hold immediate wolf hunt February 12, 2021 Wisconsin Winona Daily News
... U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service removed gray wolves from the endangered species ... DNR’s policy board voted 4-3 last month against opening the season in February amid concerns that the department had not consulted tribal nations as required by treaties and did not have time to set quotas...

Wisconsin's wolf woes pale compared to deer dramas February 11, 2021 Wisconsin,
Watertown Daily Times
... Kroll wrote his recommendations for Wisconsin deer hunting in 2012, but Kaz then ignored public input for implementing Kroll’s plan, and installed his own do-little or do-nothing tactics. And since implementing the Kaz Plan in 2014, Kaz and his NRB accomplices have blocked all efforts to manage the herd and stymie chronic wasting disease...

... In the southern part of Wisconsin, 50% of Bucks and 30% of does have the disease.  Imagine looking at a field of 30 deer and half of them are sick ...

DNR Reconsiders, Suggests Split of Door Deer-Management Units February 5, 2021 Wisconsin, Door County Pulse
... Wisconsin Conservation Congress Door County Chair David Tupa ... believes a rapid decline in the Northern Door deer population began with too many years of earn-a-buck hunts between 2004 and 2008 and continued after the local CDAC voted to give more free antlerless tags than anywhere else in the state ...

Virtual program explores how to turn property into deer destination February 3, 2021 Wisconsin, Ashland Daily Press
... Participants can join DNR staff and current Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) members at the virtual open house on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. via Zoom...

... The researchers found weather patterns driven by El Nino influenced predictable fluctuations in deer populations across the state as well as synchrony between different deer populations...  three-to-seven-year weather fluctuation directly influenced synchronous population cycles in the state's deer...

... The positive test came from an adult buck that was shot in southern Wood County during the 2020 gun deer season ... 

... the first wild deer has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in southern Wood County in the Town of Port Edwards, within ten miles of Juneau and Adams counties. As required by state law, the DNR will renew the baiting and feeding bans in Wood, Juneau and Adams counties..,

DNR Confirms CWD Detected In Shawano County January 12, 2021 Wisconsin, DNR
... The CWD-positive deer was an adult doe harvested during the 2020 gun deer season and was tested as part of the department's disease surveillance efforts. This is the first wild deer detection in Shawano County..,
     For first time, CWD detected in Wisconsin’s Shawano County January 12, 2021 Outdoor News
...  a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the Town of Germania in southwestern Shawano County ... The CWD-positive deer was an adult doe harvested during the 2020 gun deer season ...

Take Five Minutes To Make Your Voice Heard On The Future Of Deer Hunting In Wisconsin January 5, 2021 DNR News
... Every three years, Wisconsinites like you have the chance to weigh in on what the future of deer hunting will look like in your county. Between now and Jan. 13, let us know your thoughts on proposed herd-size objectives in your county... Provide feedback on the DNR webpage here.

... Once widespread here and across North America, elk were eliminated from Wisconsin in the 1880s due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss... From a population of 25 elk reintroduced in 1995, and with the help of a second reintroduction effort that started in 2015, the state's total elk population is quickly approaching 400 animals providing significant viewing and hunting interest in the state..,

Duluth News Tribune
... A proposal to split Douglas County from one deer management unit into three units ... Comments will be accepted until Jan. 13. Go to dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Hunt/cdac and click on Douglas County to comment...

'Maintain' Sawyer deer population, committee advises December 27, 2020, Wisconsin, Ashland Daily Press
   ... concerned about deer numbers in the forested areas of the county ... “The habitat up here has changed so dramatically in the last 50 years, where food coming in after timber cuts or burns is not good deer food. New species taking over the heavily-browsed areas are ironwood and blue beech, which don’t have a lot of nutrients for deer. We’re losing our shoots of maple and popple to these invasives.” ...

... “I just kind of put my hands on her and started pushing her,” he said. “I could slide her across the ice and just kept going, and got to the shore and she took off.” ...

Chronic wasting disease has racked up another sad milestone in December, December 17, 2020 Wisconsin, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 
... So far this year 17% of the samples submitted from the southern farmland district have been positive, up from 14% in 2019 and 12% in 2018 and 11% in 2017... increases of CWD-prevalence in all age classes and both genders of deer in specific study areas...

... Per state law, the DNR will now enact a two-year ban on baiting and feeding in nearby Ozaukee County effective Jan. 5, 2021 and renew a three-year baiting and feeding ban in Washington County...

... Other states like Florida, Colorado, California, and Wyoming are all reducing damage, injury and loss by investing in infrastructure to give wildlife safe passage across the highways we put there. So why not Wisconsin? I can only guess that it comes down to money...

... Wolves have been living in Wisconsin since the last Ice Age ... When Americans first started settling in Wisconsin there were anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 wolves in the region... in 1865 the legislature passed a bounty ... five dollars for each wolf killed. By 1900, no wolves remained in the southern part of the state ..,

Help Shape Deer Management In Wisconsin December 2, 2020 Urban Milwaukee
... Wisconsinites have two upcoming opportunities to weigh in on deer hunting across the state. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host virtual public meetings in each county to discuss deer management Dec. 7-18 and a separate virtual public hearing Dec. 9 on the current white-tailed deer hunting season...

... The year-to-date sales for all deer licenses are up 3.5% from the same time last year... Current deer harvest totals have surpassed the total deer harvested in 2019, but harvest trends lag behind 2018 ... A number of units in the northern forest zone ... experienced another year of declining buck harvest ...

Bullet hits Fond Du Lac County home after hunter fired at deer November 28, 2020 Wisconsin, Fox11online.com
... Sheriff's deputies and the Wisconsin DNR arrived to the area and came across a group of hunters that were actively hunting on state-owned public land which bordered the Springvale home...

Almost 100,000 deer harvested on opening weekend of gun-deer season November 24, 2020 Wisconsin, Green Bay-Appleton WBAY-TV
... The number of deer hunters grew from last year. Through midnight Saturday, 810,233 gun, bow, crossbow, sports and patron licenses were sold -- 3.2% more than last year. There were 559,591 licenses specifically for gun privileges..,

  Albino buck spotted in snowy Wisconsin backyard November 20, 2020 7News Miami
...  the creature is part of a protected class, and hunters are prohibited from shooting “albino and white deer ...

Help Shape Deer Season for Your Community November 17, 2020 Wisconsin, DNR News
... The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) invites hunters, farmers, foresters and anyone interested in the Wisconsin deer herd to attend upcoming County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) meetings held virtually across the state Dec. 7-18.  Councils will meet via teleconference to review deer herd metrics and harvest data from the last three years and to provide a preliminary recommendation on the herd size objective for the next three years...

This is an audio Podcast from the Wisconsin DNR: Chronic Wasting Disease is an always fatal, infectious disease that affects deer, elk, moose, and reindeer. Hunters (and non-hunters, alike!) play an important role in helping us monitor the disease across the state. And in 2020, we've made it easier than ever before to help us do exactly that. - November 17, 2020


... The DNR needs more samples of deer to figure out prevalent the disease is in the Northwoods... also wants samples from around Three Lakes where a deer farm has had some positive cases... also wants to get up to 300 samples each in Forest, Langlade and Iron...

Deer: Conservation's Longtime 'Problem Child' November 5, 2020 Wisconsin,
Watertown Daily Times
...  U.S. Forest Service called on the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936 to determine the deer kill in the state’s national forests, and to census the forests’ deer populations. The census included 12 deer drives by CCC members, who stomped through a combined 8,290 acres of northwestern Wisconsin forests to count 446 deer, or 34 per square mile before the 1936 hunt...,

... the first wild member of its species to walk freely in the region [Washington county] for more than 150 years.  The footage shows a bull elk walking down a trail ...

     Snapshot Wisconsin, one of the Department of Natural Resources’ largest citizen science projects, opened its new data visualization tool to the public today. data dashboard is a new tool that lets the public interact with data collected from approximately 2,000 cameras spread across the state to monitor wildlife...
CWD found on Burnett County deer farm October 6, 2020 Wisconsin, Superior Telegram
... The five acre farm, which houses 19 deer, has been quarantined... According to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, there are 311 registered deer farms or ranches in Wisconsin. Of those, 28 have had a positive CWD test since 2001 and 18 herds have been depopulated ..,

DNR Confirms EHD In Buffalo County Deer October 2, 2020 Wisconsin DNR News
...  State wildlife officials have confirmed that a tissue sample collected from a deer in Buffalo County has tested positive for the virus that causes epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD. This occurrence of the disease was identified after several landowners in Buffalo County contacted the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) with recent observations totaling 30-35 dead deer ..,

DNR Aims To Collect 24K Samples For Chronic Wasting Disease Testing September 21, 2020 Wisconsin, Wisconsin Public Radio News
... The disease has been detected in at least one wild deer in 29 counties, said Erin Larson, the agency's CWD data coordinator. The agency has been conducting enhanced surveillance in recent years as the disease has spread, detecting CWD in 1,338 out of 19,348 deer sampled statewide last year..,

... a tissue sample collected from a deer tested positive for the virus that causes epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD... an Oconto County landowner found discovered seven dead deer on a 40-acre property north of Oconto Falls...

DNR surveys deer hunters to understand buck selection September 16, 2020 Wisconsin, Madison.com
... plans to invite more than 130,000 licensed hunters to keep online diaries to record the number of hours they spend in the woods, the deer they see and observations about the size and age of the bucks they don’t take...

Wisconsin 2020 Deer Fall Forecast  September 1, 2020 DNR News
... Despite some far northern areas with prolonged deep snow over the past winter, average cold season temperatures across the state were warmer than normal, resulting in moderate conditions in most northern counties. While some winter losses are experienced every year, they were not known to be significant this past winter... The farmland areas of the state saw a relatively mild winter overall despite short periods of snow and cold, and the effects of winter are not expected to negatively impact the herd..,

Wisconsin DNR asks for public’s help in tracking deer population August 11, 2020 We Are Green Bay
... Operation Deer Watch – it’s an annual citizen-science survey that collects information on Wisconsin’s white-tailed deer and gives residents an opportunity to assist with deer herd management efforts... Participants are invited to report their deer sightings through an online form...

  Bystander helps wardens save injured deer in lake August 6, 2019 Wisconsin, Kenosha News
... a deer was stuck in the lake near Conference Point and was unable to get to shore because of the property’s steep slope... After meeting the deer about 75 yards off shore, Spiezia was able to position himself to direct the frightened animal back toward shore...

... The Natural Resources Board has called a special meeting to revisit its controversial decision last month to override recommendations from 11 County Deer Advisory Councils... Although some people supported the move to reduce antlerless tags, comments critical of the action far outnumbered those who approved ...

DNR board will reconsider deer hunt amid meeting allegations July 24, 2020, Wisconsin, StarTribune
... alleging some board members shared the amendment among themselves the day before the meeting in a walking quorum, a violation of Wisconsin's open meetings law...

Decision To Reduce Doe Tags In Northern Counties Draws Mixed Reaction July 1, 2020 Wisconsin, Wisconsin Public Radio News
... Several CDAC chairs voiced frustration with the decision, including Wayne Norling, chair of the Burnett County CDAC. The county was among those who will see a 50 percent cut in the number of permits they recommended for people to hunt on public lands.   “We're charged with suggesting how to manage the deer in this county via the CDACS, and they're choosing to manage from Madison anyway,” ...

... Public land in several Northwoods counties will see a reduction in the number of antlerless deer taken during the fall deer hunts... "For decades we've had an over harvest on public land which (has) in my opinion decimated the population...

... Just shy of 28,000 Wisconsin residents entered the drawing for one of four once-in-a-lifetime elk tags...  For each $10 application fee, $7 is earmarked for elk management, habitat and research in Wisconsin. Almost $11,000 in donations were also received ...

2 Trempealeau County deer test positive for CWD June 10, 2020 Wisconsin, La Crosse Tribune
... two 3½-year-old whitetail bucks... at a Trempealeau County hunting ranch have tested positive for chronic wasting disease...

More Wild Deer Test Positive For Chronic Wasting Disease In Wisconsin June 1, 2020 Wisconsin Public Radio News
... From April 1, 2019, through March 31 of this year, the DNR collected 19,386 samples, an increase of roughly 2,100 samples from the year before. Of the majority analyzed, there were 1,334 deer that tested positive for CWD in the last year — up from 1,061 deer during the 2018 sampling season...

... "Some of the northern tier counties experienced a severe or very severe winter, so we expect that some overwinter losses have occurred there and we expect reduced fawn recruitment there," Storm said. "On the other hand, much of the north experienced moderate or mild winters, so we expect that overwinter survival was good there and fawn recruitment should not be adversely influenced by the 2020 winter."..,

Conservation Congress Spring Hearing Results May 25, 2020 Wisconsin, WXPR
... Over 32,000 people opposed the idea of requiring non-toxic bullets and slugs (basically for deer and bear) on state lands... They don’t seem to make the connection between the lead poisoning in birds that eat lead BBs as grit or ingest lead while feeding on deer carcasses and gut piles in fall and winter...

Information to support the County Deer Advisory Councils that were recommended by the Wisconsin Deer Report.   Program web page.  



Wisconsin Deer Analysis:  The state deer metrics page shows an estimated 1,611,000 deer post-hunt in 2020.  A pre-hunt population estimate of 1.8 million in 2019 with a post-hunt population of 1,311,000. See the table below for the post-hunt population. The number of deer hunters increased by about 3.2 percent in 2020.  The 2020 forecast.   A mild 2020-21 winter reduced deer mortality, but the 2019-20 winter was severe in some northern most counties, reducing fawn survival, moderate to mild in much of the rest of the north.  The decline in the 2019 deer harvest was partially attributed to a  late hunt start date, past the peak of the rut.  2019 Deer Forecast.  The 2019 license sales were down about 1.5% from 2018. The 2018-19 winter started mild then ended hard, but most of the northern deer survived. 
     The deer population was estimated at 1,510,400 post-hunt in 2018 and 1,343,500 deer in 2016 [PDF] post-hunt.   About the same in 2017, up from the estimated 1,181,400, deer in 2015 post-hunt, up 8 percent from the 2014 population of 1,094,100.  2019 Deer Forecast.  The 2018-19 winter started mild then ended hard, but most of the northern deer survived.   2018 Deer Forecast.  License sales dropped by about 2.5% in 2018.  For 2018, most deer advisory councils asked for stable to increasing deer populations.  A tough late winter for 2017-18 likely reduced deer populations in parts of the north, but generally good conditions in the state for 2018.  
     For the 2016 gun season, the deer kill was the lowest in 34 years and license sales the lowest in 40 years. An average of 25 deer per square mile, ranging from 3 to 58 per square mile.  In 2014 an estimated 1,182,000 white-tailed deer.  After three mild winters, the state increased the antlerless quota for 2017-18.  An enormous mast crop in 2017 also benefited the deer.  Deer hunting licenses fell by 5.8% from 1999 to 2017.  2017 Hunting Forecast.  An extremely mild winter in 2015-16 and a mild 2014-15 winter allowed a population increase, particularly in the west central agricultural regions and northwest. 

Revised Population Estimates

Year   Population
2007  1,230,100
2008  1,002,300
2009     987,300
2010  1,161,300
2011  1,150,900
2012  1,280,400
2013  1,125,900
2014  1,086,600
2015  1,181,400
2016  1,345,000
2017  1,377,100
2018  1,510,400
2019  1,311,100
2020  1,611,000
 
   Only 38.2 percent of the 2015 deer hunt were does, a low ratio designed to encourage deer growth.  Herd still recovering in the central forest.  2016 Forecast and 2014 population recommendations.  Pre-hunt deer deer population estimated at about 1.4 million in 2013, about 1.5 million in 2012  Long lasting winters in 2012-13 and 2013-14, the worst since 1960,  reduced populations.  The number of deer killed during the 2016 gun season was the lowest in 34 years, the numbers of licenses sold the lowest in 40 years.
     In 2016 the number of antlerless tags increased by 14%, reflecting some recovery for the herd, but buck-only hunts for 10 northern counties.  For 2015 WDNR eliminated anterless tags in 12 units to increase the population. Although 2014-15 winter was mild, populations have not rebounded. In Sawyer County, 40% percent of deer tracked for a study died.  To help rebuild herds 19 counties, about the northern third of the state,  had no doe hunting in 2014.  The largest "no doe" zone in 20 years.  Fawn mortality was estimated at 43 percent.  Populations in the Central Forest and the Central and Southern Farm areas fared better.  A total 612,377 licenses sold in 2015, up from 608,711 in 2014.  Sales were reduced in 2016. Deer harvest down about 15.5 percent in 2014. The 2013-14 winter was the harshest since 1960.  State population estimates based on Sex-Age-Kill model.  Only about 13 percent of the deer taken in 2015 were on public land.  
    Estimated 1.14 million deer after 2011 hunting season and 1.16 million deer after 2010 hunting season.   Estimated 990,000 deer in January 2010.  Down significantly since 2000 based on legislated deer goals. Deer hunting estimated to have $1.3 billion in economic impact on the state. An estimated 1.6 million deer in 2002.  Hunter success in 2000 was 76 percent, about 37 percent from 1966 to 2009; 40 percent in 2013, 31 percent in 2014.    A timeline history.
     Deer management was reorganized along county boundaries in 2014, each county is forming a County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) of six to eight members.  The state instituted an earn-a-buck policy designed to increase the doe kill, but it was abolished in 2011 by the Legislature after a poor hunt in 2009.
     There were 311 registered deer farms in 2020.  In 2019 about 384 deer farms.  In 2018 about 380, in early 2017 about 387 deer farms. In 2015 an estimated 458 deer farms.
     Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was first discovered in 2001 in the Town of Vermont in Dane County.  In 2002 the first case in a deer farm was reported in Walworth county and more than 40,000 deer were tested in the state.  In March of 2002 a deer was found in the wild that had escaped from an infected game farm.   CWD data, over 4,000 cases reported through 2017.  In 2017, 60 deer from hunting ranches tested positive.  The first case of CWD in wild deer in Lincoln county was reported in January, 2018.  The first case in Eau Claire County in April, 2018.  About 50 percent of bucks were CWD-positive in parts of Iowa County.  One hundred deer suspected of having CWD were euthanized at a deer farm in 2018, more at other farms.  From 2013 to 2018, records show that 181 deer escaped from deer farms.  About 17,000 deer were tested in 2018, with 1,063 positives while the state debates responses .   
     In 2019, CWD was detected in  1,338 out of 19,348 deer sampled and an elk in a breeding farm.  That year the DNR shifted its focus from restrictions to research.  In 2019 the first wild deer tests positive for CWD in Sheboygan County.  Little progress in the legislature on CWD bills. In 2020, there are 311 registered deer farms or ranches in Wisconsin with 28 testing positive for CWD since 2001 and 405 case in the previous decade.  In 2020 the first case of CWD of a wild deer in Marathon County, a total of 1,578 positive cases out of about 19,000 tested.  By early 2021 in parts of southern Wisconsin 50% of bucks and 30% of does have the disease.
    Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD)  A mild outbreak in 2019.

History:  In 1851, the state restricted deer hunting from Feb 1. to June 30, but Indians could hunt anytime.  In 1876, hunting with dogs was prohibited and in 1892 it was declared lawful to kill any dog running deer.  The first bag limit, two per season, was established in 1897.  In 1900 through 1942, only bucks were hunted.  To further protect the herd in 1925, the legislature closing deer seasons in alternate years, enforced through 1935.  A 1929 survey put the deer population at below 30,000.  A 1936 count found 34 deer per square mile in northwestern Wisconsin forests. The 1937 season was only three days.  The Conservation Commission closed deer season from 1938-1943, beginning a restocking effort with deer from Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and relocating some deer within the state. 
     By 1962 the deer population was estimated to be more than 400,000. In 1989, the pre-hunt population was about 1.15 million.  About 1.3 million pre-hunt in 1990.  down to 1 million in 1993.  License sales peaked at 699,275 in 1990.  Up to an estimated 1.6 million in 1996.  The nine-day gun season buck kill peaked at 171,891 in 1995.  The population peaked around the year 2000 when gun hunters took 442,581 deer,  more than any other state in a nine-day season, total kill of 528,494. Population and Ecology 1960 to 2003. Deer Hunting History.
     Wisconsin's first human inhabitants, more than 12,000 years ago, hunted large game such as mammoths and mastodons and when those died out adapted to a world rich in deer, nuts and berries.
    Moose Recent peak population of about 8,840 animals in 2006, falling to 2,760 in 2013.  A 2015 aerial survey estimate of 3,450.  A 2016 estimate of 4,020.
    Elk  About 300 after calving in 2019.  About 180 elk in 2017 and 160 elk in 2014, near Clam Lake in Ashland County. The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point brought in 25 Michigan elk in 1995.  More elk were recently relocated from Kentucky.  The first elk hunt in 2018.  Elk were hunted to extinction in the 1880's.  
   Wolf   An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 wolves in Minnesota before setters arrived.  In 1865 the legislature passed a bounty of five dollars for each wolf killed.  By 1900,  wolves were gone from the southern part of the state.  By 1955 there were fewer than 50 wolves in the state.  In 1957 wolves were listed as an invasive species.
     About 1100 wolves in 2021 prior to the hunt.  Surveys in the 2018-19 winter reveal an overwinter minimum wolf count of 914-978 wolves.  The 2017 population estimated at 925.  The 2016 over winter population estimate at between 866 - 897, up from 746 - 771 in 2015.  The 2014 over winter wolf population estimated at 660 - 689 in 197 packs.  Approximately 800 wolves in 2013 (809 to 834), 600 to 700 in 2014, down from about 1,000 wolves in 2011.    Wisconsin DNR wolf monitoring page.  
    Coyote  From 40,000 to 50,000 coyotes, many of which contain wolf DNA. 
    Bear  About 20,000 bears.
    Bobcats  About 2,500 in the northern zone in 2015.
    Cougar  Disappeared from the state around the year 1900, a sighting in 2008 near Milaton.  No breeding population is thought to exist in the state.  Sightings in 2017 are thought to be from a population dispersing from the western U.S.  A trail came photo in 2018.
 
- To report a sick deer observation please call the DNR call center toll free at 1-888-WDNR- INFo (1-888-936-7463), email DNRInfo@Wisconsin.gov, or use the chat feature on the DNR website.
- To report poaching, call the DNR at 1-800-847-9367

Other useful links:
- Deer Metrics   - County Deer Advisory Council Public Input Interactive Map   - Wisconsin Deer Research Projects   - Snapshot WisconsinCitizen-based trail camera monitoring for wildlife populations  Operation Deer Watch - volunteers collecting data for DNR    -- County Deer Advisory Councils     - UWSP White-tailed Deer Information and for Mule Deer    - Archived Public Chats with DNR related to deer management   

"Estimating the number of deer you have is the La Brea Tar Pit of deer managment"  Dr. James Kroll

The state has developed a survey system that uses observations from people around the state, a program that has gotten some significant press attention. Wisconsin Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey
Wisconsin Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan
 
Petting Zoos With Deer in Wisconsin Central Wisconsin: Wisconsin Deer Park (wisdeerpark.com) in Wisconsin Dells. 
Southwestern Wisconsin: Peck's Farm Market East (pecksfarmmarketeast.com
Southeastern Wisconsin: Lake Geneva Animal Gardens (animalgardens.com)
Norther Wisconsin: Wilderness Walk Zoo and Recreation Park (wildernesswalkhaywardwi.com)