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Chippewa County staying aggressive, issuing more farmland tags in 2019

With 2018 being Chippewa County’s first under the County Deer Advisory Council-mandated “maintain” population objection, harvest numbers within the county increased in 2018 and more of the same is expected for 2019.

In the spring, the Chippewa County CDAC upped its antlerless quotas and permit levels from a year ago in both the new Northern Forest portion of the county as well as the Central Farmland Zone.

New for 2019 in Chippewa County was the issuance of one free farmland antlerless authorization with the purchase of a deer hunting license. Last year, Chippewa County’s farmland zone was the only farmland zone in the state that did not offer at least one free authorization.

Through Nov. 5, according to Department of Natural Resources statistics, a combined 395 antlerless deer had already been registered in the county between the two management zones along with 470 bucks. An additional 66 bucks and 69 does were registered by youth hunters during their special hunt on the first weekend of October.

As of early November, plenty of farmland authorizations, both on public and private land were still available for purchase out of the 1,125 public and 8,275 private land authorizations that were initially put up for sale.

Also as of early November, more than 900 private-land authorizations were still available in the Chippewa Falls-area Metro Subunit.

The maintain objective means CDAC and DNR officials are aggressively going after antlerless deer to keep populations from rising in the current three-year period, which is in its second year.

The addition of northern Chippewa County to the area the Wisconsin DNR considers the Northern Forest Region has allowed the CDAC to be more conservative with antlerless harvests in that region of the county. This year’s Northern Forest quota was 300 harvested antlerless deer with 700 private-land and 50 public-land tags being issued and quickly scooped up by the hunting public. Last year, 544 bucks and 255 antlerless deer were harvested in Chippewa County’s Northern Forest area during the nine-day gun hunt, compared 1,284 bucks and 1,303 antlerless deer in the Central Farmland portion of the county.

In the DNR’s 2019 White-tailed Deer Hunting Preview, West Central District program manager Kris Johansen noted that despite some concerns early in the year about tough late-winter conditions, deer generally came out of it in great shape throughout the district.

The work being done to improve hunting on public lands was also noted.

“Public lands hunters in Eau Claire and Chippewa County should be encouraged by the reports and observations of rebounding deer herd numbers in the Eau Claire and Chippewa county forests,” the preview stated. “County forestry staff are working to sustainably manage timber on the forest which produces excellent deer habitat as regenerating saplings provide ample food for deer. Public land hunters should focus on recent timber harvests, including clear cuts and oak shelter woods, during their scouting efforts. This year, a modest number of antlerless hunting opportunities will be available in the forest zones, with an emphasis on private lands.”