10/29/2019- The turning of the seasons has many Wisconsin hunters anxious to get out to their stands and DNR officials say the odds of filling your freezer this gun-deer season are good in Marinette and Oconto Counties. Caroline Ward is a wildlife biologist with the Wisconsin DNR and says there aren’t any structural changes in our region to be aware of for the 9-day hunt that kicks off November 23rd. She also notes that despite last year’s bitterly cold winter and wet spring, the local deer herd is still doing well- maybe even a little too well in some areas.
“Both Marinette and Oconto Counties still have plenty of tags available for their Central Farmland zones. In fact, when you buy a buck permit in Marinette County you get two free antlerless tags for the Central Farmland Zone and in Oconto County you get three free antlerless tags…There’s plenty of deer out there and it looks like hopefully it will be a good harvest season, weather permitting.”
The most prevalent concern among hunters and wildlife experts alike in Wisconsin is the threat of chronic wasting disease. Ward says although a captive deer tested positive in 2018, CWD has not been discovered in the wild deer population in our region yet and they’re working to implement a few new strategies to keep it that way.
“We have self-service kiosks where hunters can go and drop off deer heads. Basically, you drop the head off, it’s free of charge, and in two weeks, you should have your results back. The DNR has a new program and we’re trying to get it implemented in Oconto County where hunters can go and drop off deer body parts in a dumpster, rather than leave those potentially contaminated materials on the landscape to transmit to other deer.”
You can find a full list of CWD testing and deer carcass disposal sites by visiting the Wisconsin DNR website and searching “CWD.” Additionally, hunters with questions about CWD or any other deer-related issues can meet directly with DNR representatives at the Pembine Ranger Station and Pelkin’s Smokey Meat Market in Crivitz on opening day, November 23rd.