Wisconsin Deer Population:  The state estimated 1,628,500 deer post-hunt in 2023 and 1,669,100 deer post-hunt in 2022.  Up from 1,554,400 in 2021 and 1,611,00 deer 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.   The 2023 Wisconsin Deer Forecast. 


Wisconsin Deer News

More deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease last year May 23, 2024 Wisconsin, WPR

...In 2023, the agency sampled 17,329 deer for the disease ... results showed 1,586 deer tested positive.  “The majority of them are in that southern farmland zone and more specifically in that southwest part of Wisconsin,” ..,


Buffer zones around fields prevent deer damage May 10, 2024 Brownfield Ag News

... planting grasses and legumes along the perimeter of fields not only helps control soil and nutrient loss, but also reduces deer damage to crops... buffers usually take deer out of the crop because they prefer to eat the species planted in the buffers...


CWD confirmed in wild Pierce County deer; feeding, baiting bans to go into effect May 15 April 30, 2024 Wisconsin, KSTP-TV

...  the first wild deer confirmed to have CWD in Pierce County ... the deer, identified as a doe around four or five years old, was humanely put down in the town of Spring Lake ...


After northern hunters bag fewer deer, some seek closer look at herd management April 29, 2024 Wisconsin, WPR

...Republican lawmakers introduced the bill in an effort to boost the deer population after a dramatic drop in the gun deer harvest across northern Wisconsin last year ... Rep. Chanz Green, R-Grand View, said ... “We have harsher winters. We have more predators.” ...


County Deer Advisory Councils prepare for the 2024 deer season April 24, 2024 Wisconsin, WDIO.com

... Public feedback on deer management

In preparation for the 2024 deer season, every county in Wisconsin is hosting a deer advisory council meeting. At these meetings, the County Advisory Councils review public input and county data and make final recommendations for the season...


DNR confirms CWD in wild deer in Waushara County April 11, 2024 Wisconsin, WBAY

... the first positive test result for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a wild deer in Waushara County.  The DNR says the deer was found dead in early February in the town of Wautoma ..,   


Help Shape Deer Season For Your Community April 6, 2024 Wisconsin DNR 

... Each county in Wisconsin has a County Deer Advisory Council that meets annually to provide input and recommendations to the DNR on deer management in its county...


Deer Makes Miraculous Recovery From Broken Leg in Amazing Trail Cam Footage April 3, 2024 Wisconsin, PetaPixel

... A hardy whitetail buck was captured on a Wisconsin trail camera miraculously recovering from a severely broken leg in just a matter of weeks...


DeForest adopts Deer Management Plan April 3, 2024 Wisconsin, hngnews.com

... encouraged residents to undertake some initiatives themselves, such as:  Screening or fencing in private gardens or plantings.  Planting less desirable vegetation for deer...

Other non-lethal methods, like birth control or trapping, are not deemed legal by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources...


Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers vetoes a prohibition on antlerless deer hunting in the north and a wolf population goal statewide April 1, 2024 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on MSN.com

...  Assembly Bill 1030, a plan to prohibit hunting of antlerless deer in northern Wisconsin for the next four years. The measure was intended to help increase deer numbers in the northern forest region ...  in many northern counties, the year-over-year deer kill declined 30% in the north.., 


Albino deer found by Oak Creek Police last night was up 'pasture' curfew March 31, 2024 Wisconsin, TMJ4

... A white deer named Penelope has nuzzled her way into the Oak Creek community over the last three years... "I once watched her wait on the sidewalk for the lights to turn red and then she crossed the road," ...


Wisconsin DNR Seeking Public Comment On Elk Management Plan March 21, 2024 DNR News

... Updates to the 2024-2034 Elk Management Plan include changes based on recommendations from the Natural Resources Board, Wisconsin Elk Advisory Committee and feedback from private landowners in the elk management zones.  The public is encouraged to review the proposed plan and share their thoughts via the online comment tool...


Airguns for big game hunting are among six outdoors-related bills signed into Wisconsin law March 16, 2024 Wisconsin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

... the major impact of Act 115 is to expand the use of airguns to include big game hunting in Wisconsin, including white-tailed deer, black bear and elk...


Wisconsin DNR nears end of 7-year deer study on CWD, predators March 6, 2024 Watertown Daily Times

... Wisconsin recorded a record 1,580 CWD cases in 2023, and so far 44 of the state’s 72 counties have documented at least one case in wild deer...  CWD boomed in Dane, Iowa, Sauk and Richland counties, with infection rates ranging from 17% in Dane to 29% in Iowa County ... CWD spreads faster and with higher infection rates in prime deer habitats ..,


Wolves and Wisconsin: Separating fact from fiction February 28, 2024 AOL

...In 1960, wolves were considered no longer present in Wisconsin... But in 1978, a breeding pack from Minnesota migrated in and the wheel of recovery slowly started to turn...Fast-forward to 2020, and we now have more than 1,000 wolves in Wisconsin...


Unlocking the Secrets of White-tailed Deer: A Wisconsin Study Blazes a Trail in Wildlife Research February 24, 2024 Wisconsin, BNN Breaking

... Each collar houses a GPS unit and a camera, offering unprecedented insights into the deer's interactions and movements. This technology is not just about tracking; it's a window into the lives of these creatures, helping researchers understand how diseases are transmitted among them...


Assembly OKs suspending doe hunting in northern Wisconsin February 23, 2024 Madison.com

... Hunters in northern Wisconsin would be barred from killing any does for four years under legislation the state Assembly approved Thursday... to help the northern herd replenish ..,


New Baiting And Feeding Ban For Ozaukee County Effective Feb. 15 February 12, 2024 Wisconsin DNR

... The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was recently notified by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) that a farm-raised deer on a deer farm in Sheboygan County tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). This positive result is within 10 miles of the Fond du Lac, Ozaukee and Washington county borders, resulting in a new baiting and feeding ban to go into effect in Ozaukee County on Feb. 15, 2024..,


Wisconsin DNR calls for tips to help solve illegal elk shootings February 10, 2024 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

... All of the incidents took place in Jackson County.  The animals were part of a recovery program for the native species; they were wearing GPS collars ... blaze orange ...


Sheboygan County Deer Farm Confirmed with CWD January 25, 2024 Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

... a Sheboygan County deer farm has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD)  ... The positive result came from a 5-year-old buck. The premises is quarantined ..,


Wisconsin wildlife officials warn of $16M shortfall as fewer people get hunting licenses January 24, 2024 CBS News

... "The long-term trend is fewer licenses, fewer hunters and less revenue coming in and it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better," ...Sales of gun deer licenses have dropped 4% since 2018, from 577,576 licenses to 553,479 licenses this year... A gun deer license has cost $24 ...


Durkin: State lawmakers hear, follow bad advice on deer, CWD January 24, 2024 Wisconsin, Antigo Daily Journal

... Wild, free-range deer herds in 44 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties (61%) now carry chronic wasting disease, just two decades after most folks had never heard of CWD ... Lawmakers should have listened in 2002 to wildlife-disease experts at the DNR, the UW System, and the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center when the DNR first found CWD near Mount Horeb..,


Lawmakers introduce bill to suspend northern Wisconsin doe hunt in attempt to regrow herd January 18, 2024 Wisconsin, Fox 11 News

... Hunters killed 14.7% fewer bucks in the zone ... DNR wildlife officials have blamed a harsh 2022-23 winter for reduced deer numbers. Hunters maintain that wolves are decimating the region's deer herd..,


Wisconsin community remembers life of 15-year-old albino deer known as "The King" January 15, 2024 CBS News

... a local legend  ... "Around 2009 is the first time we saw him in the area. My dad actually saw him down the road a couple miles when he was a fawn," ...

   Wisconsin Neighbors Plan to Preserve Body of Albino Deer ‘The King’ Who Dropped Dead in Their Yard January 15, 2024 The Messenger on MSN

... The deer's full body mount will be on display at a restaurant or business so both locals and tourists can see him ... Albino deer are protected in Wisconsin, meaning the king was legally protected from being hunted...


As Wisconsin's elk herds continue to grow, more hunting is on the horizon January 7, 2024 Hosted on MSN

... Wisconsin's wild elk herds continued to grow in 2023, setting a modern record high with an estimated 515 animals in the state, according to the Department of Natural Resources.... Elk were native to Wisconsin but wiped out in the 1880s due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss... started an experimental elk reintroduction project in 1995  ..,


Dodge County Herd Depopulated Following CWD Detection December 20, 2023 Wisconsin, State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection News

... The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) confirms that a Dodge County deer farm that tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in May 2023 has been depopulated. Of the 172 animals depopulated, 23 tested positive for the disease. In total, there were 26 positive cases of CWD at this premises, as three cervids had died prior to depopulation..,


Wisconsin's deer-bait business thrives while CWD worsens December 19, 2023 Watertown Daily Times

... Baiting and feeding deer is illegal in 59 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties ... Given that all open-baiting counties are two- to five-hour drives from the state capital, Craven—a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison—couldn’t fathom why Madison retailers would stock and sell deer corn...


The 9-day gun deer season harvest was down this year, are wolves playing a role? December 18, 2023 Wisconsin, WXPR

... The nine-day gun deer season saw a 16 percent drop in harvest numbers statewide compared to the year before and was about 10 percent below the 5-year average... factors included the harsh winter last year, lack of snow on the ground for this year’s hunt, and reports of deer not moving ..,


Wisconsin's new age of deer hunting brings little joy December 12, 2023 Watertown Daily Times

... much of the Northwoods has held few deer since modern history’s harshest winter in 2013. We also note five Northern counties—Iron, Douglas, Bayfield, Sawyer and Ashland—suffered a harsh winter in 2022-23, which foretold 25 percent declines come deer season..,


Bills to Require Controversial Wolf Population Limit Advancing December 4, 2023 Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

... Agriculture and hunting and wildlife interests that support Assembly Bill 137 and Senate Bill 139 want the Department of Natural Resources to continue a 1999 plan that set a state wolf population goal of 350 animals.  Agriculture and pro-hunting interests have long sought a lower wolf population in Wisconsin ...


Minnesota DNR to hold December deer hunt to battle chronic wasting disease December 4, 2023 Fox 9

... The special hunt will take place Dec. 15-17 and permit areas open to the hunt are in southeast Minnesota ... The DNR expanded the CWD deer hunt to permit area 342, which is near Wabasha, after a case of the disease was confirmed in the area...


A lonely bull elk has traveled hundreds of miles across Wisconsin searching for love December 1, 2023 Wisconsin, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

... Since mid-September, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has received tips through a wildlife observation database about this wandering member of the Black River State Forest elk herd ...  All in all, it amounts to hundreds of miles traveled...


DNR Confirms CWD In Wild Deer In Jackson County November 30, 2023 Wisconsin DNR News

... the first positive test result for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a wild deer in Jackson County. The deer was harvested in the town of Garfield and is within 10 miles of the Eau Claire and Trempealeau county borders... The deer was a hunter-harvested 2-year-old buck ..,


Understanding deer behaviors could help help prevent collisions with cars in Wisconsin November 30, 2023 YAHOO!News

... Deer are what ecologists call an “edge species,” ... Roads create those kinds of edges that deer are attracted to.  The middle of a forest has far less food for deer than an “edge.” ... In Wisconsin, at least 60 "wildlife accommodations" have been installed over the past 20 years ... The DOT “(does) not have any data to determine the success of these strategies,” ...


Wisconsin hunters register 17.6% fewer deer than in 2022 November 28, 2023 WLUK

... State deer program specialist Jeff Pritzl said ...  the biggest areas of decline were in the DNR's central farmland and northern forest regions.  A harsh winter, particularly in the northwestern part of the state, led to fewer deer being on the landscape..,


Wildlife advocacy group sues Wisconsin DNR over 2023 wolf management plan November 25, 2023 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

... by the Great Lakes Wildlife Alliance... the GLWA claims the DNR ignored science, violated Wisconsin's Open Meeting Law and Administrative Procedure Act and favored anti-wolf groups as it worked on revisions included in the 2023 wolf plan...


2023 deer hunters declined in Wisconsin compared to 2022 November 25, 2023  GMToday.com

... "The deer harvest has been relatively stable, so the remaining hunters are experiencing more success...  the herd has been slowly growing over time. In southeastern Wisconsin, the real issue is access to the deer. There is so much ‘sanctuary’ on the landscape.., [Jeff Pritzl, deer program specialist]


Amid hunting season, CWD spread, Wisconsin weighs deer policies  November 23, 2023 The Cap Times

... One proposal is designed to expand when deer baiting and feeding is allowable in Wisconsin, though some conservationists worry the measure could further spread the disease...


Car-deer accidents in Wisconsin in 2023 are expected to be similar to recent years November 23, 2023 Wisconsin Public Radio 

... Car-deer accidents in the state have been declining recently ...  "We’re still doing over 16,000 crashes over the last three years, and we’re on that same track right now for 2023." [ David Pabst, director of the Bureau of Transportation Safety for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation] ..,


Deer Hunt 2023: Preliminary weekend numbers show drop in hunter participation November 21, 2023 Wisconsin, Fox 11 News

... As of Sunday at midnight, the Department of Natural Resources had sold 774,369 licenses for gun, bow and crossbow hunting. Of those, 421,525 were for gun privileges only.  Sales for all deer licenses are down 0.61 percent compared to 2022. Of the total licenses sold, 65 percent were sold online, and 35 percent were sold in-person or at DNR service centers...


Wisconsin Democrats introduce slate of bills to fund CWD testing, deer carcass disposal sites November 21, 2023 Channel 3000

... The new bill package, dubbed "Healthy Herd, Healthy Hunt" seeks to fight CWD's spread by easing access to testing and giving hunters a place to safely dispose of deer carcasses...


Wisconsin 2023 Preliminary Gun Deer Harvest Totals  November 21, 2023 Wisconsin DNR

... In total, hunters registered 92,050 deer statewide during the opening weekend of the 2023 gun deer hunt, compared to 103,623 registered for the same period in 2022. This is a 16% decrease from 2022 and 10% below the 5-year average. A majority of the decrease was due to a decline in antlerless deer harvest, but that usually picks up over the second half of the season.  A total of 51,870 bucks were registered on opening weekend, compared to 56,638 in 2022. This is a 13% decrease over 2022...


DNR Celebrates Successful 2023 Elk Hunting Season November 20, 2023 Wisconsin DNR

... all four state licensed hunters filling their harvest authorizations... The four hunters who participated in this year’s hunt were selected at random from a pool of 21,312 Wisconsin resident applicants...


The state of hunting in Wisconsin as gun deer season begins November 17, 2023 WTMJ

... Pritzl said we’re looking at a similar number of deer but there have been some long-lasting effects of a bitterly cold winter up north ... “That does seem to be suppressing harvest opportunites [there] somewhat,” ...  Over half a million people are expected ... to try their hand at bagging a buck in 2023..,


Deer rescued after two days entangled in barbed wire November 16, 2023 Wisconsin, UPI

... Sheriff's deputies in Wisconsin used bolt cutters and a power saw to rescue a deer found with its antlers entangled in barbed wire around a tree...


Wisconsin gun deer hunt forecast; what to expect this weekend November 15, 2023 YAHOO!News

... According to the Wisconsin DNR, post-hunt deer population 2022 estimates the total white-tailed deer population sits at nearly 1.7 million within a 95% confidence level.  Population numbers from the DNR, published in a paper by Donald Waller from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018, put the 1960 post-hunt deer population at just under 400,000..,


DNR Confirms Cougar Killed In Buffalo County November 15, 2023 Wisconsin DNR News

... The incident involved an archery deer hunter who encountered the cougar while hunting and felt their safety was at risk. The hunter shot the cougar and self-reported it shortly afterward to the DNR. The DNR collected the cougar carcass as part of the investigation...


Gun deer season helps boost Wisconsin economy November 12, 2023 Spectrum News

... According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, hunting is a $2.5 billion industry in the state and 88% of that economic impact comes from deer rifle season... 


Charges filed in Clark County after deer killed illegally; man accused of beating deer to death November 10, 2023 Wisconsin, WQOW

...  Hamm shot multiple deer with a bow and arrow from his vehicle ... the complaint said the doe didn't die. A video showed Hamm laughing as he kicked it while it was still standing and alive. He later told warden's he "Beat the f*** out of it with my fist." ...


Deer farm in Oneida County confirmed to have chronic wasting disease November 8, 2023 Wisconsin, WLUK Green Bay

...  the infected deer is a 4-year-old white-tailed buck. The farm is being quarantined while an epidemiological investigation is conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture ..,  


'Slow erosion' of state's hunting population continues as opening weekend approaches November 7, 2023 Wisconsin, WisBusiness

... the state’s overall deer population is around 2 million going into opening weekend, Pritz said, noting much of that growth is happening in the “deer factory” central farmland zone. That population total has been trending upward for about 30 years... [Department of Natural Resources Deer Program Specialist Jeff Pritzl]


Legislature sits indifferent as CWD infects 60% of counties November 6, 2023  Antigo Daily Journal

...  the Legislature ended the DNR’s statewide bait/feed ban in 2003, stonewalled mandatory testing, quashed targeted shooting in CWD hotspots, slashed research funding in 2007, outlawed earn-a-buck regulations in 2011, and OK’d ending or shortening various October, January and February antlerless gun seasons in 2011...


Bill would allow the use of airguns to hunt deer and other big game in Wisconsin November 5, 2023 AOL

... Senate Bill 586 would allow the use of airguns in any hunting season now open to firearms... Wisconsin would join 28 other states that allow airguns for big game hunting ...


Wisconsin DNR checks in with conditions, license numbers ahead of this year’s gun-deer season opener November 2, 2023 KSTP-TV

...  the DNR says license sales are trending down about 2% than at the end of October 2022, saying this has been the norm for the last few years due to the number of aging baby boomers who are no longer hunting...


DNR Confirms CWD In Wild Deer In Trempealeau County November 1, 2023 Wisconsin DNR - Wisconsin.gov

... The deer was harvested in the town of Hale... The deer was a hunter-harvested 3-year-old doe and is the first confirmed wild deer CWD-positive detected in Trempealeau County..,


DNR Confirms CWD In Wild Deer In Polk County November 1, 2023 Wisconsin DNR - Wisconsin.gov

...  The deer was harvested in the town of Apple River and is within 10 miles of the Barron County border... The deer was a hunter-harvested 3-year-old doe and is the first confirmed wild deer CWD-positive detected in Polk County..,


Predators load in the north October 16, 2023 Wisconsin, apg-wi.com

... a recent report a few years ago using the DNR’s gun season registration numbers, wolf population and the number of deer killed by them showed wolves killed more deer than hunters in some Northern Forest counties... In 2019, the estimated statewide bear population was 24,055 ... The DNR estimates the bobcat population in northern Wisconsin is currently 3,800 ..,


Farm-raised deer in Outagamie County diagnosed with chronic wasting October 12, 2023 Wisconsin, Advance-Titan

... a farm-raised deer on a deer farm in Outagamie County tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). This positive result is within 10 miles of the Calumet, Waupaca and Winnebago county borders, and will enact a new baiting and feeding ban to go into effect in Calumet County on Oct. 13, 2023..,


Wisconsin DNR invites deer hunters to take wildlife survey for research October 6, 2023 Fox 11 News

... The Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey provides hunters a way to report which animals they observe while deer hunting.

Data from these reports helps DNR researchers to better understand the relative abundance and distribution of mammals, birds and other species of wildlife across Wisconsin...


Hunters: Test Deer For CWD Before

Eating Venison September 28, 2023 Wisconsin DNR News

... The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds hunters to test their deer for chronic wasting disease (CWD) before eating venison, as advised by human health organizations... especially in areas prevalent with CWD. To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans...


Rock County Deer Farm Confirmed with CWD September 21, 2023 Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

...  a Rock County deer farm has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) .. The positive result came from a 4-year-old white-tailed buck. The farm has been placed under quarantine ...


Possible reason for CWD at local farm discussed September 20, 2023 Wisconsin,  apg-wi.com

... CWD prions have been found in the feces of crows, but disease transmission has not been documented. Similarly, CWD prions have been found in semen of infected bucks, but transmission via artificial insemination has not been proven. As a former certified cervid farm veterinarian, I would say the chances of a crow bringing CWD onto a deer farm, while theoretically possible, are extremely remote compared to other avenues of exposure ...


Video Below:  Wisconsin 2023 Deer Hunt. "The deer population after the 2022 season, so our over-winter population was estimated at seven percent larger than it has been in previous years at that time. So we're experiencing some population growth," said Jeff Pritzl, DNR State Deer Program Specialist. -  September 16, 2023

Drones aid hunters in deer recoveries, heighten law enforcement September 17, 2023 Wisconsin, Yahoo! Sports

... Demand for drone-assisted game recovery has at least doubled each year over the last four years, Wayerski said, and Marshfield Drones did 65 recoveries in 2022.  The practice is legal within a strict set of parameters...


You might never see one, but Wisconsin's bobcats are on the rise September 12, 2023 Wiscnews.com

... According to the state Department of Natural Resources, northern Wisconsin had about 1,500 bobcats in 1980. By 2016, that number was 3,500. Recent estimates are that, statewide, 46,500 bobcats make Wisconsin home. Nationally, there were about 1 million bobcats in 1981. By 2008, there were 3.5 million..,


Car Crashes A Leading Cause of Death For State’s Elk September 11, 2023 Wisconsin, Urban Milwaukee

...  in the Black River Elk Range in central Wisconsin, the leading cause of death for elk is vehicle crashes. Twenty-two elk died after getting hit by a car between 2015 and 2022... “A lot of our motorists drive towards that elk and think, ‘Oh, it’s gonna move out of the way, and they don’t,” ...


Committees look at deer hunting issues September 9, 2023 Wisconsin, Eau Claire Leader-Telegram

...A habitat-based deer management of units existed prior to 2014 when a county management system was put in place. The discussion is now about returning to habitat-based management in the northern forest deer management zone... A decade of harvest and deer population data highlight the limitations of relying solely on antlerless permits to achieve desired buck harvests without also considering the role of habitat in deer productivity,..


Wisconsin lawmakers question hunter input in state deer plan September 4, 2023 The Center Square

... Wisconsin used to allow counties to track and manage their own deer populations. That changed in the 1950s and 1960s when the state took over.  In 2014, the DNR changed again to a County Deer Advisory Council model that split the state into four hunting zones and managed the population in each differently...


Help The DNR Monitor Wisconsin’s Elk This Fall August 31, 2021 Wisconsin DNR News

... Once widespread across North America, elk were eliminated from Wisconsin in the 1880s due to unregulated hunting the DNR successfully reintroduced elk into the Northern Elk Range near Clam Lake in 1995 and the Central Elk Range near Black River Falls in 2015 and 2016, and subsequently supplemented the northern herd with elk from Kentucky in 2017 and 2019.    The Wisconsin elk population is estimated to reach 515 elk at the conclusion of the 2023 calving season, with 160 elk in the central herd and 355 in the northern herd...


Joint public hearing takes place in Park Falls to discuss various topics involving deer population August 31, 2023 Wisconsin, wjfw.com

... Some hunters told legislators that they're seeing fewer deer in their longtime hunting spots than in years past... Topics that were discussed included predator population affecting deer population ...


Wisconsin 2023 Deer Forecast August, 2023 Wisconsin DNR

... Much of the state experienced another mild to moderate 22-23 winter. However, some northwest counties received an extremely high amount of snowfall, pushing their Winter Severity Index into the Very Severe category. In response to the severe

winter, Iron County is not offering antlerless harvest authorizations this fall, but junior antlerless harvest authorizations will remain valid. Farmland Zone DMUs increased permit availability and harvest opportunities are an effort to control herd densities, reduce agricultural damage, improve forest regeneration and minimize deer-related

conflict..,


Washburn County Deer Farm Confirmed with CWD August 31, 2023 Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

... The positive result came from a 3-year-old doe. The 150-acre farm has been placed under quarantine, where it will remain while DATCP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarians and staff conduct the epidemiological investigation...


Wisconsin bowhunting seasons are approaching for archery and crossbow hunters August 13, 2023 Yahoo! Sports

... Coming off a winter rated as moderate by the DNR's annual Winter Severity Index, the statewide deer herd is predicted to be larger this fall, according to the DNR.  The DNR estimated Wisconsin had 1.51 to 1.84 million deer statewide after the 2022 hunting season..,


DNR Launches 'Operation Deer Watch' Citizen Science Survey August 3, 2023 Wisconsin, WJJQ

... Participants are asked to report all deer sightings via an easy-to-use online form... More information is available on the DNR website. ..


2023 Draft Wolf Management Plan Is Now Available August 2, 2023 Wisconsin DNR

... The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today released a revised draft of the 2023 Wolf Management Plan. The plan will go to the Natural Resource Board (NRB) during their meeting on Oct. 25, 2023...


Help Shape Deer Season For Your Community July 19, 2023 Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin DNR - Wisconsin.gov

... Each County Deer Advisory Council includes representatives from the hunting community, as well as from a variety of stakeholder groups with interest in hunting and deer management. The application period for each county is open until Aug. 15, 2023... For more information about the councils and to find the application, visit the DNR’s CDAC webpage... 


Spatiotemporal epizootiology of chronic wasting disease in Wisconsin deer.  2023.  Ecosphere, 2023

... . The rate of prevalence increase over time is higher in more forested ecoregions and in males (0.48 vs. 0.43) but similar in females (0.43 vs. 0.37) and yearlings (0.44 vs. 0.39)... prevalence may be affected by deer management practices that favor higher deer abundance and more mature males... The trajectory of CWD dynamics in Wisconsin suggests rapid growth in regional prevalence following introduction and increased spread across the landscape...


Wisconsin Man Spots Entire Herd Of Extremely Rare Piebald Deer July 11, 2023 Whiskey Riff

...  Piebald ... have more white on them than normal  ... In Wisconsin, piebalds are born about 1 in every 20,000 births...  a very rare herd of Pied/Calico whitetail deer were once common in Northern range. Due to overhunting in 1800s most were killed off...


DNR Announces 2023 Elk Hunt Application Winners July 10, 2023 Wisconsin, DNR News

... the 1995 reintroduction effort, which began with 25 elk from Michigan. The northern elk herd population is projected to reach 355 animals this year. The central elk herd is estimated near 155 elk this year, bringing the statewide post-calving population above 500 elk..,


State budget increases fees for slew of non-resident hunting and fishing licenses July 9, 2023 Wisconsin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

... The legislation increases the non-resident deer hunting license fee by $40, from $160 to $200... would bring in about $1.07 million more ...


Sauk County Deer Farm Confirmed with CWD May 30, 2023 Wisconsin, Urban Milwaukee

... The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) confirms that a Sauk County deer farm has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD)...  a 10-year-old doe ...


Sampling shows more deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease last year May 25, 2023 Wisconsin, WPR 

... In 2022, the agency sampled 17,187 deer for chronic wasting disease, which was first detected in the state near Mt. Horeb in 2002. The results showed 1,492 deer tested positive for the disease... the agency found 1,327 deer tested positive for CWD out of 17,147 deer sampled in 2021..,


Wisconsin DNR estimates state's elk herds have grown to around 500 animals May 22, 2023  Madison.com

... officials estimate the number of elk in the state will grow to more than 500 animals by July..,


White deer seen in Oconomowoc May 18, 2023 Wisconsin, GMToday.com

...  two white deer crossing Summit Avenue on Saturday evening. They stopped traffic ... They could be albino, but it’s more likely they are leucistic ...


Wisconsin DNR confirms CWD in 2nd wild deer in Wood County May 15, 2023 Wisconsin DNR News

... it confirmed a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease in Wood County in the Town of Rudolph...  the deer was a 3-year-old doe, reported sick and dispatched by local department staff... the second confirmed CWD-positive wild deer detected in Wood County..,


CWD Confirmed in Dodge County Deer Herd​​ May 12, 2023 Wisconsin, EIN Presswire

...  The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) confirms that a Dodge County deer farm has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD)... The positive sample was taken from a 9-year-old doe. The 8-acre farm has been placed under quarantine ..,


Final report for the Winter Severity Index May 6, 2023 Wisconsin, apg-wi.com

... Normally after a winter like this, I expect to see a 20% decline in the buck kill this fall.” ... this winter would be classified as severe to very severe in the northern tier of counties. The majority of the state below a line running west from Vilas County through Price and Rusk counties to the Minnesota border experienced what’s classified as a mild winter..,


Volunteers Needed For Elk Calf Surveys This Spring April 24, 2023 Wisconsin DNR News

... The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking volunteers to help collar elk calves between May 19 and June 18. This unique collaring experience is part of a multi-year study of Wisconsin's Jackson County area elk herd. The resulting data helps deepen the DNR's understanding of elk movement, breeding and survival in Wisconsin... Those interested should sign up using this survey link...


Watertown Daily Times Online

Wisconsin deer herd faces mounting challenges April 19, 2023 

...  it was clear scant few hunters glanced at the DNR data. And unless a county council recommended the “nuclear option” — antlerless-only hunts throughout fall — few hunters quibbled with their plans...


DNR Encourages Public To Attend Their Local County Deer Advisory Council Meeting April 18, 2023 Wisconsin DNR - Wisconsin.gov

... The public is encouraged to attend their local county meeting. Meetings can be attended in person or virtually across the state and will take place April 24-May 4. Check the 2023 meeting schedule for details on location and Zoom access....


Winnebago County confirms first positive case of CWD in wild deer April 17, 2023 Wisconsin, WLUK Green Bay

... The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says the positive test came from a three-year-old doe in the town of Nepeuskun.., [read the news release]



Wisconsin Deer News and Information Archive by Topic:    Population and Management, Deer in the News, Disease, Suburban, Transportation 

Wisconsin's CWD Response Plan

Wisconsin Deer:  The 2022-23 severe winter in the north reduced deer populations, but better weather in the south resulted in an estimated 2.4% decline in the population from 2022 to 2023.  Numbers in 2024 are lower in the north with 14.7% fewer bucks taken in the 2023 hunt.  According to the 2023 Deer Forecast, "the state experienced another mild to moderate 22-23 winter. However, some northwest counties received an extremely high amount of snowfall, pushing their Winter Severity Index into the Very Severe category."   


Data for Graph Below

In 2023 Wisconsin is reported to have twice as many deer pre-hunt as Minnesota, but Minnesota is 1.5 times larger than Wisconsin.   In 2022, Wisconsin hunters took about 17 percent of the pre-hunt population.  In 2022, Minnesota hunters took about 18 percent of the deer population.


The post-hunt 2022 deer population was estimated at 1,669,100 deer.  Mild winters into 2022 benefited deer survival while good hunting conditions contributed to the increased deer kill.  The 2022 Forecast.  Although 


The state deer metrics page shows an estimated 1,544,400 deer post hunt in 2021 down 0.85 percent from the estimated 1,611,000 deer post-hunt in 2020  The 2021 Wisconsin Deer Forecast.  A stable to growing population in 2022.  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.  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 20172017 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. 


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.   2016 Forecast and 2015-17 population recommendations.  


Only 38.2 percent of the 2015 deer hunt were does, a low ratio designed to encourage deer growth.  The herd still recovering in the central forest.   For 2015 WDNR eliminated anterless tags in 12 units to increase the population. Although 2014-15 winter was mild, populations had not rebounded. In Sawyer County, 40% percent of deer tracked for a study died.  A total 612,377 licenses sold in 2015, up from 608,711 in 2014.  Only about 13 percent of the deer taken in 2015 were on public land.  


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.  Deer harvest down about 15.5 percent in 2014. The 2013-14 winter was the harshest since 1960.  State population estimates are based on the Sex-Age-Kill model.  


A 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.   A pre-hunt population estimate of 


An estimated 1.15 million deer after the 2011 hunting season and 1.16 million deer after 2010 hunting season.   An estimated 990,000 deer in January 2010, down significantly since 2000 based on legislated deer goals. Deer hunting was estimated to have $1.3 billion in economic impact on the state.  The 2009 pre-hunt population was estimated at 1.37 deer, with an over-winter population of 990,000. A pre-hunt population of 1.5 million in 2008.


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 formed 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.


Over 4,000 cases CWD 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.  More cases in 2021.  As of Jan.15, 2022, Wisconsin confirmed 9,450 CWD cases in total.  By February, 2022, Wisconsin had 301 registered deer farms and 37 were CWD-positive.  In 2022, 300 deer were "depopulated" from one CWD-positive deer farm.  In fall 2022, 19% of 7,325 deer tested postive for CWD in Wisconsin’s southern farmlands with a total for the state of 1,492 positives out of 17,187 tested.  In 2023 there were 1,586 CWD cases out of 7,329 tested with with 44 of the state’s 72 counties having at least one positive case.  More in 2024.


Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD)  A mild outbreak in 2019, another in 2021. Outbreaks in 2017 and 2012.


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 1907, 36 southern counties were closed to deer hunting.  By 1910, deer populations had dropped to record low numbers.  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.  Aldo Leopold estimated the deer population at 500,000 in 1943, more history  A post-hunt population estimate of just under 400,000 in 1960.


Graph Below:  Deer Population and Harvests Estimates (1960 to 2010).  Source Wisconsin DNR

By 1962 the deer population was estimated to be more than 400,000. About 750,000 deer in 1970.  In 1989, the pre-hunt population was about 1.15 million.  About 1.3 million deer pre-hunt in 1990, down to 1 million in 1993.  License sales peaked at 699,275 in 1990.  The population rose 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.  A 2019 explanation of the rise and fall of deer in northern Wisconsin.


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  Elk were hunted to extinction in the 1880's.   The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point brought in 25 Michigan elk in 1995.  More elk were recently relocated from Kentucky.  About 180 elk in 2017 and 160 elk in 2014, near Clam Lake in Ashland County.  The first elk hunt in 2018.   About 300 after calving in 2019.  A  2022 estimate of 445 in January and more than 450 prior to hunting.   Estimated to be 500 elk in mid-2023 and 550 by the end of calving season with car crashes a leading cause of death for elk.  At 515 after the hunting season in 2023.


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.  No wolves thought to be present in 1960, but in 1978 a breeding pack from Minnesota migrated in, starting a recovery. About 700 wolves in 2014.  An estimated 972 in 2022


About 1,100 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   In 2019, the estimated statewide bear population was 24,055.

    

Bobcats  DNR estimates the bobcat population in northern Wisconsin for 2023 3,800.  About 2,500 in the northern zone in 2015.  A Wisconsin total of about 46,500 around the year 2023 with a national total of about 3.5 million by 2008.

    

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


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