Deer Hunt 2017: Door County harvest up, but more is needed officials say

Deer habitat in Door County, November 29, 2017 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

DOOR COUNTY (WLUK) -- Deer Hunt 2017 is in the books, but Door County officials say the area still has too many deer.

This, despite efforts to get hunters to shoot more does.

However, despite harvest totals being down less than one percent statewide, Door County was one of nine area counties with more deer shot over the nine day hunt.

Not long before the start of the nine-day gun season, bucks were chasing does in a Door County field. Not far away, does and more does were spotted feeding and roaming the landscape.

County deer managers says in many areas, deer densities are two to three times too high.

"Door County has a fairly high deer population, and the CDAC has been trying for the last three years to get hunters to harvest more antlerless deer," said Dick Baudhuin, Door County Deer Advisory Council Chair.

The deer advisory council explored the possibility of having an antlerless season for Door County, but came up with something different instead. For the very first time, each hunting license comes with the option of five additional antlerless permits.

So did it work? The harvest statewide was down slightly from 2016, but in Door County, hunters took 15.8% more deer than a year ago.

But wildlife biologists say the buck-to-doe harvest ratio is a critical consideration for overall herd health,

"Two antlerless deer for every buck. We're not there yet. Things had gotten better last year, again the kill is up this year, But we're still a long ways from that two to one ratio that we're really looking for," said Jeff Pritzl, DNR District Wildlife Supervisor.

In Door County, gun hunters took about 21 percent more does than bucks.

"Basically no change as far as the impact on the reproductive capabilities of the herd," said Baudhuin.

Baudhuin says offering more tags may not help.

"We'll have to wait for Mother Nature to do it. Whether it's starvation, or disease, or whatever. It doesn't look like the hunters are willing to do it," he said.

There will still be opportunities to shoot more antlerless deer.

The late archery season runs through the first week in January.

And Door County, which had the fifth largest harvest in the area, is offering a Holiday Hunt from Christmas Eve through New Year's Day.

Did you get a deer this year? Share a photo or video with us:

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off