MADISON -- Planning for the 2014 deer hunting season is underway and wildlife biologists with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources invite anyone interested in discussing Wisconsin's deer herd to attend deer herd status meetings.
In 2014, these meetings will be held in conjunction with DNR and Wisconsin Conservation Congress' annual spring fish and game hearings on Monday, April 14 at 7 p.m. in each of Wisconsin's 72 counties.
DNR wildlife staff schedule deer herd status meetings annually and will once again seek public input on a variety of deer-related issues. Herd status meetings provide an early opportunity for hunters and other interested individuals to discuss the current status of the deer herd and ask other deer management questions.
Local wildlife biologists will present information about new deer hunting rules and regulations that were recently adopted as part of the deer trustee report's two-year management review. Wildlife biologists will attend each meeting to listen to ideas and observations from the public and discuss possible strategies for managing Wisconsin's deer herd.
"We annually rely on hunter input to help inform our decisions, especially as they relate to antlerless permit levels," said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist.
"With all the changes as to how we approach deer management now, plus a tough winter and the impacts it will have on the herd, we hope that by holding the meeting jointly with the spring hearings, we will see an increase in public participation."
The spring fish and game hearings present an opportunity for anyone interested in natural resources management to share their input through non-binding vote and testimony to the DNR, State Natural Resources Board and the Conservation Congress on proposed hunting and fishing rule changes and advisory questions.
Those unable to attend a local meeting are encouraged to provide their personal input using an online herd status summary and survey, which will be active from March 25 to April 18. To participate, search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for keywords "Deer Hunter Forum." Comments and survey results will be compiled and provided to the wildlife biologist responsible for each county before final permit levels are set for the 2014 deer season.