Newly-formed advisory councils to make recommendations to DNR on gun deer hunt

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The 2014 gun deer season is in the books, and now, the attention turns to future hunts.     The state's Natural Resources Board will soon take on deer hunting quotas for the next three years, and newly-formed county advisory councils are getting set to make their recommendations.

Hunters harvested more than 5,000 deer in Shawano County this gun season. That's down about 8%. The County Deer Advisory Council says there are still too many deer.

"We're looking at trying to decline, or reduce the deer herd in Shawano County," Shawano County Deer Advisory Council Chairman Brian Heins said.

Heins chairs the council of seven, made up of officials from the county, the DNR and conservation groups.

"What we're trying to balance out is farmers are losing a lot of money with ag damage. Foresters are seeing that landowners, after they log their land, they're losing a lot of money and their forests are not regenerating," Heins said.

Brown County saw deer harvest increase this season by 11%, but council members say urban deer have become too much of a problem.

"Brown County is in a unique situation for two purposes. Due to the number of issues associated with deer having becoming a nuisance in Brown County, but as well as the issue associated with that we have a metro unit," Brown County Deer Advisory Council Chairman Aaron Frailing said.

The advisory councils were created out the Deer Trustee Report a few years ago, and replace areas managed by traditional deer management units. Councils can recommend to increase or decrease the herd, or do nothing.

The Department of Natural Resources says this is the first time quota input will come from counties.

"It may not make things more uniform, because it gives each county the power to go in the direction that that county thinks is best for it. We may see more uniformity. We may see different counties going in very different directions based on local interests and concerns," DNR District Wildlife Supervisor Jeff Pritzl said.

The councils will meet in the coming weeks. Council members say people are encouraged to contribute to the discussion.

"I just don't have enough input from the general public. The last couple of meetings there was only a couple people from the general public there. I would like to see more people from the general public show up to help us," Heins said.

The recommendations are for three years and will go before the state Natural Resources Board in March for inspection.