Antlerless-Only Deer Hunting Appears Likely in Door County

Published: Apr. 11, 2017 at 3:25 PM CDT
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Door County could be the first county in the state that won't allow hunters to shoot a buck.

The County Deer Advisory Council is considering an antlerless-only deer hunt next fall in an effort to curb the deer population.

With an estimated 67 deer per square mile of habitat, and a goal of 25 deer per square mile, Door County's citizen-based Deer Advisory Council has wrestled with how to reduce the county's deer population.

Last year, it provided hunters with three free antlerless tags, but according to CDAC Chair Dick Baudhuin it didn't do enough.

"And that being said we had 26,000 permits that were in the hands of the hunter last year and only harvested about 2,400 deer, so with the free tags we didn't get anywhere near the number we should be harvesting," says Baudhuin.

Last month, the county's 7-member council voted unanimously to recommend an antlerless-only hunt this year during the archery and gun seasons.

"I think they see it as the only tool that we have, if we had earn-a-buck that would be our first choice by far, but that's not an option," says Baudhuin.

Earn-A-Buck, which require hunters to harvest a doe before taking aim at a buck, was outlawed by state lawmakers in 2011 after hunting groups criticized the DNR for over-using it.

Baudhuin says beyond deer damage to crops and orchards, the county's forests are the council's top concern.

"Because they realize there needs to be something done to control that population, it's impacting the vegetation dramatically and if we don't have the habitat, we don't have the wildlife, it's just that simple and the habitat is deteriorating rapidly," says Baudhuin.

On Monday night, the deer advisory council will make its final decision.

Because a big crowd is expected, the 7 o'clock meeting has been moved to Sturgeon Bay High School.

But despite the expected opposition, Baudhuin expects the council, which is mostly made up of avid deer hunters, to stick to its guns.

"I don't think there's any of the people involved who want to have an antlerless season, it's a necessity to do what we feel needs to be done," says Baudhuin.

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