Estimates about this year's deer herd could be misleading - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Estimates about this year's deer herd could be misleading


EAU CLAIRE - As the DNR holds a public forum on deer in Eau Claire, there's information out that shows the herd could hit near-record numbers this fall. But the report comes with a caveat. 

Estimates obtained Thursday put the state's deer herd at over 1.2 million animals. That's up from 2012. And add in fawn production this spring, and you could be looking at around 1.6 million this year.

But the DNR says that doesn't mean every hunter is going to see deer this fall. They say that's because there's way too many in farmland regions, and still not enough in the northern forests. Maturing forests do not provide the best deer habitat.

That uneven distribution is one reason the DNR doesn't officially release statewide estimates anymore, they say it only leads to unrealistic expectations and frustrations for hunters. Instead, hunters are encouraged to go the local forums being held around the state this month, to hear the estimates for the specific unit they intend to hunt.

Meanwhile, the DNR is asking hunters to fill out two surveys on its website. One asks whether hunters believe the herd in their unit has grown or gotten smaller, and whether they believe the DNR issues the proper number of permits for that unit. The other survey seeks input on how to fight chronic wasting disease, and reaction to the suggestions made by the so-called 'Deer Czar' who was hired by the state last year.

To take part in those surveys click on the links found to the right of this story.

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