County Deer Advisory Councils
Each county in Wisconsin has a County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) to provide input and recommendations to the department on deer management within their county. Councils work with local department staff to schedule meetings, provide community outreach and an opportunity for public input, review population data and deer impacts on forests and agriculture, develop three-year recommendations on county population objectives and create annual antlerless harvest quotas.
- How are deer seasons set?
The DNR publishes timely news releases and email bulletins each year, reminding the public of opportunities to engage in deer management through the CDAC process. Anyone interested in receiving these notifications can sign up for DNR news releases and the CDAC email newsletter.
Members of the Natural Resources Board receive timely notification when press releases and email newsletters are sent.
The DNR publishes final harvest numbers for the prior year located on the harvest summary.
The DNR Deer Advisory Committee meets to review prior year harvest and population metrics.
Population metrics are made available using the deer metrics system.
The DNR issues a press release and email newsletter encouraging the public to participate in the upcoming public comment period and announcing the CDAC meetings.
Online Public Comment Period
An online public comment period is open for members of the public to register their feedback on prior year quota recommendations.
The public can comment through an online survey form on this page.
The DNR issues a news release and an email newsletter reminding the public to participate in upcoming CDAC meetings.
↓ LATE APRIL - EARLY MAY
The DNR staff provides public comments to CDACs.
CDAC members review public comments and discuss quota recommendations.
The public is invited to give in-person input.
The DNR Deer Advisory Committee reviews CDAC harvest quota and season framework recommendations.
The DNR administration reviews CDAC harvest quota recommendations.
The DNR provides deer season proposals to the Natural Resources Board (NRB).
Once posted, the public can find the proposal on the current NRB agenda.
The NRB approves the deer season structure at the June meeting.
Members of the public are invited to attend this and all NRB meetings. Those wishing to comment publicly may do so in writing or in person.
The DNR issues a news release and email newsletter release announcing the final season structure.
- CDAC Seats
Councils comprise a chair and alternate chair, members of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and seven citizens representing various stakeholder groups. See the position descriptions below to determine if you qualify to serve on your county's CDAC.
For deer management units in which any portion is located within the ceded territory, the Wisconsin Ojibwe bands may appoint a representative to the CDAC as described by the parties' stipulations in the case of Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Indians et al., v. State of Wisconsin, et al., Case No. 74-C-313-C in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.
A member representing agriculture should be actively engaged in the agriculture community within the county and should have experience and expertise regarding the biological and economic impact of deer densities on crop production and farm operations.
Additionally, the representative should be familiar with the Wisconsin Wildlife Damage and Abatement Claims Program and the techniques used to estimate wildlife damage to crops. Examples include individuals with professional expertise affiliated with or nominated by a land conservation or agricultural organization or a full-time agriculture producer.
A member representing forestry should be actively engaged in the county's forest industry and have experience and expertise regarding the biological and economic impacts of deer densities on tree regeneration and habitat quality, invasive species, and deer wintering areas.
Additionally, the representative should understand the basic principles of forest management and timber harvest methodologies. Examples include someone identified by the county forestry department (if applicable), loggers, private foresters, county or national forest managers, large industrial forest managers, etc.
A member representing tourism should be actively engaged in the county's tourism or deer tourism industry and should have experience and expertise regarding increasing awareness of unique hunting opportunities and experiences, promoting ecotourism, integrating recreational activities with wildlife uses, and enhancing recreational non-hunting opportunities for deer. Examples include local resort or motel owners, regional or county tourism council members, sporting goods retailers, deer venison processors, Chambers of Commerce employees, etc.
A member representing transportation should actively engage with highway safety and deer-vehicle collisions in the county and consider issues such as deer carcass disposal and deer-vehicle collision reduction and mitigation efforts. Examples include a County Highway Commissioner, a County Highway Department representative, a sheriff department or local police officer, local auto or motorcycle association, a deer removal contractor, etc.
- Local Government
The representative should have experience and expertise in urban deer issues and conflict resolution on land access, zoning, deer overabundance, deer/human interactions, deer feeding, ecological issues, and local weapon ordinances. Examples include municipal or county employees, electees and agents.
- Hunting Organization
A member representing a hunting organization should be affiliated with an organization actively engaged in local hunting interests and opportunities within their county. The representative should have experience and expertise in community involvement, recruitment and retention of hunters, and the perception of hunting by the non-hunting community. They should also be able to represent the interests of both private land and public land hunters.
- Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP)
A member representing DMAP must be enrolled in DMAP in the county to be considered for that county's CDAC. The representative should have experience and expertise regarding the interests of private landowners in the county, deer biology and management, wildlife management principles, and local deer densities.
- Learn more about CDACs
Share your views on deer management and help make a difference in your county.
- Gather public opinion on deer populations and goals, antlerless quotas and herd management strategies.
- Review and consider scientific metrics on deer herd trends, impacts to habitat and agriculture and human-deer interactions.
- Provide the department with recommendations on deer population objectives, antlerless quotas and herd management strategies.
- CDAC Governance of Operations
The policies and procedures in the "Governance of Operations" are intended to guide the operation and organization of the County Deer Advisory Councils (CDAC). They are published for the guidance of individual council members, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (department) staff and the public to allow orderly and transparent business transactions and to ensure that all citizens of Wisconsin have an opportunity to be heard on deer hunting and management issues.
View the CDAC Governance of Operations
- Role of the department
The department provides administrative and technical support to councils by setting a date range for each set of meetings, publicly noticing all meetings, developing meeting materials, maintaining the CDAC webpage, facilitating the public comment period and promoting CDAC meetings through news releases and other media. Local department staff works with CDAC chairs to set meeting dates, times and locations, provide deer herd data and answer any questions CDAC members may have. Aside from these support roles, the department is not involved in developing CDAC recommendations.
- CDAC formation
In September 2014, each county in Wisconsin formed a County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) to gather and consider public input from citizens and provide recommendations to the department and the Natural Resources Board on deer management issues in their county. Membership for these councils consists of individuals drawn from the general public representing the large stakeholder groups in deer management. They have a solid knowledge base on deer management issues affecting their stakeholder group. A member of the Conservation Congress chairs each county council. At least three members must have purchased deer hunting licenses in seven of the past ten years.
- Deer population objectives
Every three years, CDACs meet to develop county-based deer population objective recommendations (increase, decrease, or maintain the herd) to guide deer herd management over the following three years. To form these recommendations, councils review county-specific data on fawn: doe ratios; antler development; herd health; deer impacts on agriculture, forest health, economics and vehicular collisions; and the deer hunter experience. Councils also welcome public input at every stage of the meeting cycle. However, public involvement is significant during the public comment period when preliminary recommendations are released for public review and feedback.
How it works:
- August: review and discuss deer herd metrics, including population objectives and Deer Management Unit (DMU) boundaries. Make preliminary recommendations.
- September: release preliminary recommendations for public comment.
- October: receive public comments and results of the public comment period; vote on final three-year population objective and DMU recommendations. Final recommendations are sent to the department for review by the Deer Advisory Committee.
- December: receive public comments and results of the public comment period; vote on final three-year population objective recommendation. Final recommendations are sent to the department for review by the Deer Advisory Committee.
- February: final, unaltered CDAC population objective recommendations are sent to the Natural Resources Board for approval.
Because deer population objectives are evaluated and set every three years, the following meetings to discuss population objectives will take place in the fall of 2020.
- Annual quotas, permit levels and season structure
To work toward their three-year population objectives, CDACs meet twice each spring annually to discuss and develop antlerless harvest quota, permit and deer season framework recommendations. Since these recommendations are reviewed and set annually, they can be adjusted in response to the previous year's deer harvest, winter severity and other factors. As with population objective recommendations, councils receive public feedback as they develop preliminary and final recommendations. These recommendations go into effect for the upcoming deer hunting season.
How it works:
- March: review and discuss the previous year's hunting season results and long-term harvest trends, accept public comments and develop preliminary antlerless quota, permit and season structure recommendations.
- Early April: release preliminary recommendations for public comment.
- Late April: receive public comments and results of the public comment period; vote on final recommendations. Final recommendations are sent to the department for review by the Deer Advisory Committee.
- May: final, unaltered CDAC recommendations are sent to the Natural Resources Board for approval.
- Summer-Autumn: approved quota, permit and season structure recommendations are implemented for the fall hunting seasons.
- Public participation
All CDAC meetings are open to the public; if you plan to provide written or spoken comments at a meeting, please fill in a comment card upon arrival at the meeting. Additionally, you may contact your local CDAC members to provide comments or submit feedback during the online public comment period, which occurs in September every three years for population objectives or in early April each year for quota, permit and season structure recommendations.
View the DNR public participation guidelines
- Interested in becoming a CDAC member?
To apply for a CDAC seat:
1. Determine if you are qualified to fill the vacant seat based on the position as described above.
2. Fill out the online CDAC application.
CDAC member resources
- CDAC Database - Contacts, Reports, and Meeting Information
- CDAC Database - Search for CDAC member contact information, upcoming meeting details, past meeting minutes and public input reports.
- 2023 CDAC Season Meeting Materials and Forms
- Meeting Guidelines and Management
- Metrics and Data
- General Resources
- 2021-2023 Population Objectives Map
- CDAC Governance of Operations Updated January 2019
- CDAC contact database
- CDAC implementation plan January 2015
- CDAC evaluation form Provide feedback on your CDAC experience
2023 CDAC Training Recordings