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County Deer Advisory Councils

Meetings Set to Discuss Wisconsin's Deer Herd Size and Management Units

Every three years, County Deer Advisory Council’s (CDACs) provide recommendations to the DNR that help determine the herd size objective (increase, decrease, maintain) for their county. The fall of 2020 marks the end of the last three-year cycle and meetings are being held this winter to determine the herd size objectives for the next three years (2021-2023). Councils develop their recommendations using two meetings separated by a public input period to provide transparency and multiple opportunities for public input. The DNR will also discuss a review of deer management unit and zone boundaries as part of this process. Here are the upcoming steps and ways you can get involved:

1. December 7 – 18, 2020 – Preliminary objective setting

Councils will meet via teleconference to review deer herd metrics and harvest data from the last three years and to provide a preliminary recommendation on the herd size objective for the next three years. The DNR will also share preliminary recommendations on deer management unit and zone boundaries. You can find out when meetings will be held for each county and how to listen in by visiting the CDAC Find page. Please register to speak at a meeting or provide written comments using the Public Comment Sign-Up link, by December 3.

2. January 4 – 13, 2021 – Public comment period

Opportunity will be provided for members of the public to comment on the preliminary council recommendations on herd size objectives and preliminary DNR recommendations on deer management unit and zone boundaries.

3. January 19 – 25, 2021– Final objective setting

Councils will meet via teleconference again to review the public comments on the preliminary recommendations and formulate a final recommendation. Meeting dates and call-in options for these meetings will be provided soon.

4. February 24, 2021– Natural Resources Board meeting:

Final recommendations will be presented to the DNR Natural Resources Board.

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 3-year recommendations on county population objectives and create annual antlerless harvest quotas.

Watch your local biologist's 2020 CDAC presentation.

How are deer seasons set?

Each year, the DNR publishes timely news releases and email bulletins reminding the public of opportunities to engage in deer management through the CDAC process. Anyone interested in receiving these notifications can sign up to receive DNR press releases and CDAC email newsletter.

Members of the Natural Resources Board receive timely notification when press releases and email newsletters are sent.

 

EARLY FEBRUARY

The DNR publishes final harvest numbers for the prior year on the deer management page.

The DNR issues a press release and email newsletter reporting the final harvest numbers for the prior year.

MID-FEBRUARY

The DNR Deer Advisory Committee begins meeting to calculate population metrics for the current year.

EARLY MARCH

The DNR issues a press release and email newsletter announcing first round of CDAC meetings to be held in late March.

MID-MARCH

The DNR Deer Advisory Committee finalizes deer population metrics for each DMU based on biological data and harvest figures.

Population metrics are made available on the deer metrics page.

The DNR issues a press release and email newsletter with information on the updated population metrics.

The DNR issues a press release and email newsletter to announce upcoming public comment period and to remind public of first round of CDAC meetings.

LATE MARCH TO EARLY APRIL

FIRST ROUND OF PUBLIC CDAC MEETINGS

CDACs hold the first round of public meetings. CDAC members review the previous season's harvest numbers, population metrics and other relevant data and then put forth a recommended harvest quota for the coming season. The public has the opportunity to provide in-person input.

Public invited to give in-person input on preliminary harvest quota recommendations.

The DNR issues a press release and email newsletter reminding public of upcoming public comment period and to announce the second round of CDAC meetings.

MID- TO LATE APRIL

ONLINE PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD

Online public comment period open for members of the public to register their feedback on preliminary quota recommendations.

Public invited to give public comment through an online survey form available on this page.

DNR issues a press release and and email newsletter reminding the public of the second round of CDAC meetings.

DNR staff provide public comments to CDACs.

EARLY MAY

SECOND ROUND OF PUBLIC CDAC MEETINGS

CDACs hold the second round of public meetings. CDAC members review public comments and put forth their final harvest quota recommendations.

Public invited to give in-person input on preliminary harvest quota recommendations.

MID-MAY

The DNR Deer Advisory Committee reviews CDAC harvest quota recommendations.

LATE MAY

The DNR administration reviews CDAC harvest quota recommendations

The DNR provides deer season proposal to the Natural Resources Board.

Once posted, the public can find the proposal on the NRB agenda page.

The DNR issues a press release and email newsletter announcing that the department's season structure proposal is available to the public on the DNR website.

LATE JUNE

The Natural Resources Board approves the final deer season structure at its June meeting.

Members of the public are invited to attend this and all NRB meetings. Those wishing to make a public comment may do so in writing or in person.

The DNR issues a press release and email newsletter release announcing the final season structure.

CDAC Seats

Councils are made up of a chair and alternate-chair, who are members of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, and seven citizens who represent various stakeholder groups. To find out if you qualify to serve on your county's CDAC, see the position descriptions below.

Agriculture

A member that will represent the agriculture interests is desired for all counties and is required if the county is 30% agriculture or more. The representative should be actively engaged in the agriculture community within the county and should consider issues such as the biological and economic impact of deer densities on crop production and farm operations.

Additionally, they should understand the Wisconsin Wildlife Damage and Abatement Claims Program and techniques used to estimate wildlife damage to crops. Examples include someone identified by the county Land Conservation Department, Department of Agriculture, UW Extension agriculture outreach specialists, full-time agriculture farmers, orchardists, farm cooperatives, representative from Farm Bureau or similar organization.

Forestry

A member that will represent the forestry interests is desired for all counties and is required if the county is 30% forested or more. The representative should be actively engaged in the forest industry within the county and should consider issues such as the biological and economic impacts of deer densities on tree regeneration and habitat quality, invasive species and deer wintering areas.

Additionally, they 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.

Tourism

The member representing tourism should be actively engaged in the tourism or deer tourism industry within the county including things such as increasing awareness of unique hunting opportunities and experiences, promoting ecotourism, integrating recreational activities with wildlife uses, and enhancing recreational nonhunting 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.

Transportation

The member representing transportation should be actively engaged with highway safety and/or deer-vehicle collisions in the county and should 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, deer removal contractor, etc.

Local Government (Urban)

A member representing local government is required in counties that contain any portion of a metro deer management subunit. An individual representing the local government seat should understand urban deer issues and conflict resolution on such matters as land access, zoning, deer overabundance, deer/human interactions, deer feeding, ecological issues, and local weapon ordinances. Examples of appropriate local government representatives include the county and local parks manager, local police chief, homeowner association representative, etc.

Hunting Organization

The member representing the hunting community should be actively engaged in local hunting interests and opportunities within their county while considering issues such as 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. If the county has a county-wide alliance, it is preferable that the alliance endorse the nominee. Similarly, if there is not a county-wide alliance, the nominees should have the endorsement of a local conservation club.

Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP)

The member representing DMAP interests must own or be the authorized representative of the property enrolled in DMAP in order to be considered for that county’s CDAC. DMAP council members will represent the interests of all private landowners in the county and be knowledgeable on deer biology and management, principles of wildlife management and local deer densities.

Learn more about CDACs

Share your views on deer management and help make a difference in your county.

CDAC charter:

  1. Gather public opinion on deer populations and goals, antlerless quotas and herd management strategies.
  2. Review and consider scientific metrics on deer herd trends, impacts to habitat and agriculture and human-deer interactions.
  3. 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 transactions of business and to ensure that all citizens of Wisconsin have an opportunity to be heard on deer hunting and deer management issues.

View the CDAC Governance of Operations [PDF]

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 who represent the large stakeholder groups in deer management and have a strong knowledge base on deer management issues affecting their stakeholder group. Each county council is chaired by a member of the Conservation Congress. At least three members must have purchased deer hunting licenses in seven of the past 10 years.

Deer population objectives

Every three years, CDACs meet to develop county-based deer population objective recommendations (increase, decrease or maintain the herd) that will guide deer herd management over the following three years. To form these recommendations, councils review current 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, though public involvement is particularly important 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.

Because deer population objectives are evaluated and set every three years, the next 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 as needed 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 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 put into action 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 [PDF]

Interested in becoming a CDAC member?

To apply for a CDAC seat:

1. Look up your county and identify if the seat you are interested in is vacant.

2. Determine if you are qualified to fill the vacant seat based on the position description above.

3. Fill out the CDAC application [PDF].

4. Email your completed application to DNR CDAC Webmail.

CDAC resources

Find county-specific contacts, meeting information and deer herd data.

Review county deer herd metrics and harvest information.

Locate member resources (meeting materials and templates)

Watch a CDAC regional meeting and training session.

View your county's 3-year deer population objectives (2018-2020) [PDF].

Apply to sit on your county's council or check the status of your application.