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Outlook Outlook

Continued from page 8

one farmland antlerless authorization this year, just like 2019. The farmland zone has an antlerless harvest quota of 4,000 deer this year. There were 2,050 private-land and 50 public-land bonus authorizations offered for the farmland this year, down from 2,275 and 75 last year. Last fall, 15,738 farmland tags were issued for private lands with a success rate of 17% (2,678 filled). Success rates were even lower on public land farmland tags with only 9.6% of 4,200 tags being filled (403 deer).

Overall total harvests in 2019 for the Farmland Zone were steady, compared to the previous year. In fact, archery and crossbow harvests were both up last year. The buck gun harvest was down to 1,792 deer from 1,945 the year before, while the antlerless gun harvest dropped from 3,203 to 3,008.

In the Central Forest Zone of Clark County, the story was pretty similar. Crossbow and archery totals were up from the previous year. But the gun buck harvest dropped from 711 to 589 and the doe harvest was down from 626 to 474.

Antlerless authorization holders in the Central Forest Zone are more likely to use them. Last year’s overall success rate on those tags was 21.4% with a total of 609 antlerless deer registered in the zone, 180 on public land and 429 on private land.

So the question that should be answered in this year’s harvest numbers is was the drop in the 2019 gun harvest due to last year’s unfavorable hunting conditions in late November or were there not as many deer in the county as thought.

Through Nov. 3, hunters had registered 1,040 deer by crossbow and 531 deer by archery in the Farmland Zone of Clark County and an additional 292 deer by crossbow and 170 deer by archery in the Central Forest Zone.

As of Nov. 4, there were 544 privateland bonus tags still available in the Farmland Zone.

Chippewa County

The tone through the 2020 quotasetting and permit process in Chippewa County was to stay the course.

In the second year of a maintain population, deer harvest numbers were fairly steady in 2019. While gun harvest numbers were down –– slightly in the Central Farmland portion of the county and more significantly in the Northern Forest portion –– that was offset a bit by increased harvests by archery and crossbow hunters.

Quotas and permits levels for 2020 were set by the Chippewa County Deer Advisory Council with an eye toward keeping the population right where it is or even decreasing it by about 1%.

For the second straight year, one free farmland antlerless tag was offered with the purchase of every deer license in the county this year. One metro antlerless authorization was also available per license to be used in the metro unit surrounding Chippewa Falls.

The presence of the free farmland tags and a strong antlerless harvest in the Farmland Zone last year allowed the county CDAC to lower the harvest quota and bonus permit levels in that portion of Chippewa County. The quota is down to 1,900 compared to 4,000 last year. Privateland bonus tags were down to 2,250 from 8,275 last year and public-land bonus tags dropped to 100 after being at 1,125 last year.

About 11% of the nearly 14,000 farmland tags issued last year in Chippewa County were filled (1,528).

Overall, 4,046 deer were harvested in the county’s Farmland Zone in 2019, up from 3,912 in 2018. The antlerless harvest went up to 2,218 from 1,926 in 2018.

Antlerless authorizations went up slightly in Northern Forest zone, which makes up roughly the northern one-third of county land. The quota went from 300 last year to 675, resulting in 100 publicland tags and 2,100 private-land tags.

The Northern Forest’s overall harvest dropped from 1,130 in 2018, the first year the forest zone existed in the county, to 926 last year, mainly due to a gun harvest drop from 870 to 607. The crossbow harvest went up by 17 to 171 and the archery harvest went up by 40 from 106 to 146.

With the increase in permit levels this year, it’s expected last year’s harvest drop was more indicative of unfavorable hunting conditions during the nine-day gun hunt rather than a population drop.

As of Nov. 3 this year, Chippewa County hunters had registered 725 deer by crossbow in the Farmland Zone, with a nearly even buck/doe split. Crossbow hunters had taken an additional 168 deer out of the Northern Forest Zone with 109 of them being bucks. Archery hunters had registered 424 farmland deer (228 does) and 115 forest deer (70 bucks).

Private-land authorizations remain available in all three of Chippewa County’s deer management zones as of Nov. 4 and 89 public-land metro authorizations were unsold.

In Chippewa and Eau Claire counties, CDAC members reported many observations of bucks with good summer antler growth and does with fawns, with occasional reports of twins and triplets.

Doe-fawn ratios were reported to be strong in most areas of Wisconsin this year.