Oh, deer! Overpopulation is taking a toll on Wisconsin’s forests, Isthmus, Oct 24, 2019By some estimates, there are now more deer on Wisconsin’s landscape than since the Ice Age. With 2019 herd estimates ranging between 1.9 and 2 million-plus animals, the annual fall hunt for the white-tailed deer — the state’s most iconic animal after the cow — should be a productive one for the more than half a million gun and bow hunters who will take to the field. But the abundance of deer, especially in the southern portion of the state but also in the north where the regeneration of certain tree species is now at risk, continues to be a fraught bio-political issue.
Studies by retired UW-Madison forest ecologist Don Waller, an expert on the effects of deer on forest ecosystems, have shown that plant species diversity due to an overabundance of deer has been reduced by 15 percent. Tree species such as hemlock, white cedars, yellow birch and pines, among others, are failing to regenerate, changing forest composition. Likewise, the native plant communities that make up the forest understory are listed by Waller as ‘losers’ in the deer vs. plant calculation. Native orchids, lilies and a litany of less flashy forest herbs rank high on the deer menu. “There are a lot of cascading effects on other species,” says Waller, adding that browsing deer often pave the way for invasive plants.
Delafield will purchase tower stands to help control deer population, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan 30, 2019In an ongoing effort to control the deer population, the common council on Jan. 21 approved the reallocation of funds in the 2019 Deer Management budget to purchase more hunting stands.
Disease on Deer Farms Spreads as Wisconsin Weakens Controls, US News, Nov 25, 2018MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Rapidly growing numbers of cases of chronic wasting disease are appearing on deer and elk farms and hunting ranches in Wisconsin at the same time the state has pulled back on rules and procedures designed to limit the spread of the fatal brain disease among its captive and wild deer. In October, months after Gov. Scott Walker announced “aggressive new actions” against CWD, lawmakers rejected an emergency rule to limit hunters from moving deer carcasses from counties affected by the fatal brain disorder.
Stevens Point outlines deer management plan for 2018, WSAU.com, Aug 23, 2018The city’s Deer Management Committee held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss plans for the upcoming harvest, with planners hoping to take as many as 45 bucks to help thin the urban herd. Any deer taken as part of the harvest will be processed and checked for Chronic Wasting Diseases. If they are clean, the meat will then be donated to food pantries across Portage County.
Stevens Point outlines deer management plan for 2018, WSAU.com, Aug 23, 2018The city’s Deer Management Committee held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss plans for the upcoming harvest, with planners hoping to take as many as 45 bucks to help thin the urban herd. “Our first concern is motor vehicle accidents,” said committee Chair John Okonek. “Secondly, we’re looking to deal with problem deer within areas of the community.” He says that means deer that are getting into people’s gardens and damaging other backyard fixtures.
The deer population is overwhelming Lake Country. Here are some ways you can keep them away., Journal Sentinel, July 12, 2018Municipalities around Lake Country are struggling with solutions to manage the deer population, which has become a somewhat polarizing issue.
Diseased Deer Farms Subsidized, Mercola, June 26, 2018When a deer farm tests positive for CWD and is depopulated, the business owner receives a subsidy or bailout from the government for each deer that’s euthanized.
How prevalent is Lyme disease in Wisconsin?, Wisconsin State Journal, June 18, 2018The eight states with higher infection rates in the U.S. are concentrated in the Northeast. Maine had the highest infection rate at 86.4 per 100,000, followed by Vermont at 78.1. Neighboring Minnesota rounded out the top ten with a rate of 23.6 cases per 100,000 people, according to the CDC.
Expert: Deer with CWD probably had disease most of her life, Leader Telegram, June 19, 2018A 2-year-old doe that died from chronic wasting disease in March in the town of Brunswick probably had the disease nearly all her life, a national CWD expert told heads of deer advisory committees Monday night at River Prairie Center. The incubation period for the disease is normally two years, although the symptoms of a “drooling, skinny” deer only show up during the last few weeks of the infection, said Bryan Richards of the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison.
Wisconsin deer herd put down due to disease, WBAY.com, June 11, 2018MADISON, Wis. (AP) – State agriculture officials say they’ve euthanized an entire herd of whitetail deer in southwest Wisconsin because of chronic wasting disease. The La Crosse Tribune reports that more than 100 deer in Iowa County were euthanized last month after about 20 tested positive for the disease.
This is the second-worst time of year for deer accidents. Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable, and body shops are busy., JSOnline, May 30, 2018In 2017 in Wisconsin, nine people were killed in deer-related crashes. Six were motorcyclists. Anyone who traveled in Wisconsin during the Memorial Day weekend no doubt noticed the large number of vehicle-killed deer along the sides of highways. That keeps the folks who clean up highways very busy.
Patrick Durkin: CWD continues to spread in Wisconsin , Wisconsin State Journal, April 28, 2018Two wild deer far outside Wisconsin’s endemic zone for chronic wasting disease tested positive last week for the always-fatal disease, and yet the Department of Natural Resources downplayed the news in press releases, emphasizing instead that the discoveries renewed baiting and feeding bans for the areas.The new CWD cases were reported April 18 in Eau Claire County and April 20 in Oneida County. Both were those counties’ first CWD cases in wild deer. The Eau Claire County case is 120 miles from Wisconsin’s most CWD-infected areas.
For the record, the agency documented a record 599 CWD cases during the 2017-18 surveillance year, which runs April through March. The DNR tested more deer last year (9,879) than in 2016-17, a 62 percent increase from 6,095, but still documented a 6 percent infection rate. The infection rate for 447 positives in 2016-17 was 7.3 percent.
Smith: It’s time to pay hunters who kill CWD-positive deer in Wisconsin, JournalSentinel, Jan 31, 2018Chronic wasting disease is spreading geographically and increasing in prevalence in Wisconsin; the fatal deer disease has been linked to herd declines in the West; it is extremely difficult to control; all measures used to curb its spread in Wisconsin have failed. It’s beyond debate that CWD poses a threat to the future of our $1 billion deer hunting resource. Let’s pay hunters and landowners for killing CWD-positive deer.
Deer causes 10-car crash on I-94 in western Wisconsin, Pioneer Press, Oct 26, 2017The deer was hit near milepost 1 on the Wisconsin side of the interstate just before 6 a.m. The crash triggered a series of rear-end collisions in the westbound lanes, and five vehicles had to be towed, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.
Experts caution public leading up to peak season for Lyme disease, GazetteExtra, May 10, 2017Susan Paskewitz, an entomology professor and expert on Lyme disease at UW-Madison, said the number of Lyme disease cases could be as much as 10 times the reported number. Paskewitz said researchers nationwide believe there could be an increase in the disease this year because of a larger mouse population. White-footed mice, which are “very important” to the disease, are a food source for immature ticks that carry Lyme disease and serve as a reservoir for the pathogen, she said.
Lyme disease a threat no matter the deer tick forecast, Wisconsin State Farmer, April 25, 2017The wood tick, also known as the American dog tick, is one of the most commonly encountered. Wood ticks can be associated with certain human diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The tick of greatest concern in the Midwest is the deer tick, associated with Lyme disease, although it can also carry anaplasmosis, babesiosis and other diseases. Deer ticks are relatively new to the upper Midwest and were not spotted in Wisconsin until the late 1960s. Fast forward 50 years, and these ticks can be found in nearly every corner of the state.
The rate of infectivity, or percentage of ticks carrying a disease, is worryingly high. Approximately 20 percent of juvenile deer ticks and 40 percent of adult deer ticks in Wisconsin are carrying the microorganisms responsible for Lyme disease — multiple bacteria species in the Borrelia genus. In some parts of state, the rate of infectivity has been documented at closer to 60 percent.
Pets that have wood ticks attached for extended periods of time may suffer from tick paralysis, a serious reaction to components of the parasite’s saliva.
Eau Claire urban deer population decreases by 10 percent, WQOW.com, April 7, 2017The city parks department said since the urban deer management plan was implemented in 2015, the number of deer within city limits has dropped by 10 percent. Last year, the city held a managed hunt on the City Wells property for youth and disabled hunters, which staff said was a success, cutting the deer population in that area almost in half. The city plans to hold another hunt again this fall. The city attributes a large part of the decrease to relaxed bow hunting regulations within city limits set by the state.
DNR to present final CWD plan changes in December, Herald Daily Tribune, March 1, 2017Wisconsin wildlife officials said Wednesday that they don’t plan to make any revisions to the state’s long-term chronic wasting disease plan until at least the end of the year. A committee spent the fall developing about 60 changes to the existing 15-year plan. Their top priorities include informing people about deer carcass transportation restrictions, improving public understanding of the disease, informing meat processors and taxidermists about proper carcass disposal and collaborating with outside researchers. Lower priority recommendations include double-fencing for infected deer farms, implementing local herd reduction in newly infected areas and maintaining the state’s current deer hunting season structure.
Smith: Deer research done, not forgotten, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan 28, 2017Researchers placed radio collars on the whitetails to help determine the animals’ home ranges, habits and causes of death. If a collar gave a “mortality signal” researchers traveled to the site as quickly as possible in an effort to determine what killed the animal. Outside of the hunting season, juvenile and adult deer were most likely to die in March or April, regardless of location. If they were in the north, when averaged across the four years, the leading cause of mortality outside the hunting season was predation followed by starvation.
Urban deer a growing problem in Waupaca, Fox11 News, Jan 23, 2017The newly-formed Deer Management Committee asked people if archery hunting was a way to control the population of city deer. “They will open it up and allow people to get a permit from the Department of Natural Resources, and then also permits from our city police department too, that allows them to hunt. The D.N.R. believe there’s probably 200-300 deer within our city limits. So, it’s pretty substantial, quite honestly,” said Brian Smith, Waupaca Mayor.
Manitowoc plans another urban deer hunt, WBAY.com, Sept 12, 2016MANITOWOC, Wis. (WBAY) – The City of Manitowoc is set to resume efforts to control what police say is a booming deer population within the city limits. When archery season opens Saturday across Wisconsin, more than 80 bow hunters will climb deer stands in Manitowoc, including Glen Michalek.
Deer seriously threatening Northwoods oak, GreenBay Press-Gazette, Aug 19, 2016 If you have mature oaks and abundant deer, realize that whitetails can prevent the oaks from regenerating. Whether you cut them for lumber or watch them die of old age, they might be the last of their species. Amman said Bayfield County’s county-owned forests hold 14,867 acres of oak, of which 80 percent is 86 years or older. To regenerate oak, forestry textbooks recommend large-scale logging followed by prescribed burns. That process jump-starts young oaks, which soon cover the forest floor. Unfortunately, the region’s deer herd has been overpopulated for much of the past 30 years, so traditional oak-growing systems simply produce deer food, not trees.
Deer study aims to improve habitat at County Parks, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 23, 2016Russart, natural areas coordinator for the Milwaukee County Parks Department, and Robinson, wildlife biologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, made notes of the plant species and sizes present in Barloga Woods. Just a few miles to the east, another segment of the parks system — Cudahy Nature Preserve — revealed a markedly different picture. The parcel also had mature trees, but the ground beneath them was thick with a wide variety of wildflowers, shrubs and small trees.
WI deer disease spreads, as does Walker distraction strategy, The Political Environment, May 13, 2016 According to DNR records, 9.4% of deer tested in Wisconsin in 2015 were CWD-positive, the highest rate since the disease was discovered in the state in 2002. The agency also tested the fewest animals in 2015 since 2002. Forty-one of the state’s 72 counties are now considered CWD-affected by the DNR.
Ticks that can carry Lyme disease becoming abundant in Madison, Wisconsin State Journal, May 11, 2016Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that in Wisconsin was mostly confined to the northwest part of the state years ago, has become a statewide problem. More than 3,200 cases were reported in people last year, a tenth of what health officials believe actually occurred.
Other diseases carried by deer ticks, such as anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis, also appear to be on the rise. Like Lyme, they can cause fever, chills, fatigue, muscle pain and severe headache. All of the conditions can be treated with antibiotics, but they sometimes cause serious complications.
Chronic wasting disease spreading among Wisconsin deer , Twin Cities Pioneer Press, April 14, 2016Chronic wasting disease is spreading among Wisconsin’s deer, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. More than 9 percent of white-tailed deer that were tested last year had the disease, compared with about 6 percent the previous year.
Deer hunts slated for city well field, Leader-Telegram, April 3, 2016Herd management plan permits sharpshooters, youth and disabled bowhunting on city site in ’16-’17 season
Humbird Man Dies in Motorcycle vs. Deer Accident, Central Wisconsin Broadcasting, March 23, 2016Initial investigation indicates a motorcycle, driven by 49-year-old David Reesman, was traveling south on Shiners Road when a deer entered the roadway and struck the motorcycle. Reesman lost control and was ejected.
Controversial antlerless deer regulation takes center stage in Waupaca County, Journal Sentinal, March 26, 2016The CDAC members voted for antlerless-only regulations for its 2016 deer hunts. If implemented, hunters would be allowed to shoot only antlerless deer this year in all bow and gun seasons in one of the state’s top deer hunting counties. Not a single buck allowed. Think about that for a minute. The goal, obviously, is to take more female deer and reduce the reproductive capacity of the herd.
Woman dies in accident after swerving to avoid deer, KWWL.com, Nov 7, 2015The Grant County Sheriff’s Office says, the driver, Kaila M Fouks, 25, of Lancaster and formally of Hudson, drove off the road after seeing a deer. The vehicle then drove up the embankment, struck a utility pole, and overturned. Fouks was partially ejected and was killed in the crash.
Deer crash risk expected to rise,Shawano Leader, Sept 26, 2015Last year, Wisconsin law enforcement agencies reported a total of 18,312 deer vs. motor vehicle crashes, according to the DOT. Motorcyclists must be especially careful because deer crashes can be fatal. Motorcycles were involved in eight of the 10 fatal deer vs. motor vehicle crashes in Wisconsin last year.
Deer hit by car crashes through second car’s windshield, killing driver, WBAY.com, Oct 2, 2015The deer was thrown from the impact through the windshield of a passing westbound car, hitting the driver, Dolores Tachick. Tachick’s car then went down an embankment. Tachick’s injuries were fatal. Barber and her passenger weren’t hurt.
Wisconsin deer hunters have the opportunity to get their deer tested and help with CWD surveillance, Wisconsin DNR Weekly News, Sept 8, 2015New for 2015, wildlife staff will be sampling in the Fairchild/Augusta area in Eau Claire County, where the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection discovered a CWD-positive deer on a private deer farm earlier this year.
Commission OKs urban deer hunting plan, Leader-Telegram, Aug 27, 2015Report recommends opening Putnam Park, City Wells Area to bowhunting, winter sharpshooting
Urban deer causing issues in Eau Claire, WEAU.com, May 26, 2015“We learned from citizens that the deer herd has become a burden and a menace in this community,” said Mitchell. “I would say it’s a city wide problem, city wide.”
Mitchell says deer are destroying gardens and landscapes but more than just being a nuisance, retired DNR biologist John Dunn says the problem is dangerous. “There’s times that you can drive along Clairemont Avenue and see four deer that were hit overnight,” said Dunn.
Online fundraiser helps raise money for father of eight killed in deer crash, WAPW.com (WI), April 17, 2015Michael Rogan was killed Friday morning, after a car hit a deer and the deer flew into Rogan’s van. The family was on their way to the hospital to have their eighth child.
Deer disease keeps worsening in Wisconsin, as predicted, WisconsinWatch.org, March 21, 2015More alarming still, the disease rate among adult male deer has reached 40 percent in north-central Iowa County and around 25 percent in two other sectors. And CWD is no longer found only in southern Wisconsin.
Ashwaubenon board endorses deer cull, Fox11 News, January 30, 2015The village board endorsed a deer management plan this week, which would allow culling of deer within the village.
Just Hit the Damn Deer: Expert advice about how to drive safely among North America’s most dangerous animals, The Slate, Jan 4, 2015White-tailed deer are the deadliest animals in North America. Every year an estimated 1.25 million deer-vehicle crashes result in about 150 human fatalities, more than 10,000 injuries, and insurance payouts approaching $4 billion… Assuming everyone’s unharmed, the next issue is the deer. If it’s injured but still alive, it will need to be euthanized—not just to end its suffering, but also to make sure it doesn’t get back up and stumble out into traffic.
Deer account for almost half of long-term forest change, study finds, U Wisconsin-Madison News, Jan. 2, 2015A study released this week has linked at least 40 percent of species changes in the forests of northern Wisconsin and Michigan over the past 60 years to the eating habits of white-tailed deer.
Urban deer vs. car crashes on the rise, Channel300.com, Nov 12, 2014“All I could see was the body and the horns, and just slammed on the brakes,” Perry said. “And all I was thinking was, ‘Oh my gosh, that cannot come into my windshield.'”
Portage police could be used to kill deer, Portage Daily Register, Sept 17, 2014City Administrator Shawn Murphy told city budget-makers this week to expect a proposal to buy equipment and acquire permits and certifications necessary to allow city personnel to act as sharpshooters to control the local deer population.
Altoona changes regulations to make deer hunting easier within city limits, City of Altoona, Sept 16, 2014Altoona used to require that residents have at least a 1-acre parcel to hunt on and have permission from their neighbors. But when the Altoona City Council approved its new regulations in August, it decided permission from neighbors and a minimum lot size are no longer hunting requirements. However, trespass laws still require permission to go on a neighbor’s land to retrieve a deer.
The new law requires that arrows from bows or crossbows be shot toward the ground from an elevated position, so if the hunter misses, the arrow hits the ground. The law also allows municipalities to limit how close hunters can be to neighboring buildings. Like Eau Claire, Altoona set that distance at 50 yards.
Motorcycle passenger dead in crash with deer, Fox11 News, Sept 7, 2014A motorcycle driver with a passenger hit a deer heading east bound on County Road D around 2pm Sunday.The driver was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The passenger of the motorcycle died at the scene.
1000 Islands Deer Cull 2014, One Thousand Islands Environmental Center, July 15, 2014Currently, the heavy canopy of leaves overhead and the extremely high concentration of white-tailed deer have severely limited the re-growth of new trees, causing an excessive growth of invasive plants not native to the woodlot. The deer are especially damaging to the potential new growth because of their browse habits, consuming any vegetation within reach, killing or stunting any new growth.
Fear the deer: City looking at solution for urban deer complaints, WQOW.com, July 21, 2014“What was once wonderful is now a pest,” said Larry Sullivan. “Annually I pick up about 2 ice cream buckets full of deer feces. Last year I had Lyme disease I believe it’s from a tick I picked up in my own back yard.”
Deer ticks, Lyme disease among the hazards of Wisconsin summers, Wisconsin Gazette, June 10, 2014
… Not only is the number of ticks carrying Lyme disease on the rise, but also the number of diseases carried by the ticks is greater than previously believed.
Authorities warn drivers to beware of deer this fall, Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, April 2, 2014
In 2013, Wisconsin had reported 18,338 deer vs. vehicle crashes. Motorcycles were involved in six of the eight fatal car-deer crashes in Wisconsin last year. Many car-deer accidents are not reported.
Crossbow bill approved; urban archery is in play, Wisconsin Outdoor News, Dec 26, 2013Assembly Bill 194 that expands crossbow hunting opportunities to anyone eligible to buy a hunting license in Wisconsin. Related Bill 8 promotes hunting with bow and arrow or crossbow within urban areas by prohibiting local governments from imposing further restrictions on hunting with these weapons except within 100 yards of a building. The owner of the building may allow such hunting if he or she chooses to do so.
Locavore, meet hunter, Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine, Oct 2011Research has shown time and again that when hunters are polled they list ‘quality time in nature’ and ‘time with friends and family’ as being far more important than the bones growing from a deer’s head. But you don’t see bumper stickers with a doe head and ‘Size Doesn’t Matter,’ or better yet ‘Delicious’ written underneath. My main goal is to try to tear down some of those stereotypes. In my opinion, the hunting community would benefit from being more vocal about the real reasons many of us actually hunt.
Urban Deer Management in Wisconsin, WI Dept of Natural Resources, Spring 2000 There is no quick fix to deer population problems. Given the deer’s ability to reproduce, the lack of hunting in urban areas and the fact that urban areas offer fantastic deer habitat, even if a community implements a program that successfully brings their numbers down to a level they are happy with, deer numbers will almost inevitably begin to rise. Experience shows us that communities that make a long-term commitment to maintain deer at a desired level may be more effective than those who go through cycles of allowing the herd to grow to high levels over a few years, then trying to bring it under control, then allowing it to grow again.