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Great HD Findings, Crossbow Opportunity Expansion, and Other Whitetail News

Brow Tines and Backstrap

Great HD Findings, Crossbow Opportunity Expansion, and Other Whitetail News

Posted 2023-10-17  by  Mike Hanback

Also, one DNR urges hunters to shoot more does, and another reminds folks to stay abreast of baiting and feeding rules

Image: ImageBy_Realtree_Media_crossbow

Crossbow hunting continues to expand throughout the country. Image by Realtree

Wisconsin: Know the New Regs

In its continuing effort to control chronic wasting disease, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources urged hunters to pay strict attention to ever-changing baiting and feeding regulations this season.

“We have two counties that are having a baiting and feeding ban removed (in early) October,” said Erin Larson, a DNR herd health specialist. “We also have four new counties that will have a baiting and feeding ban this fall. We have a map available on our website with the current counties that have a baiting and feeding ban in place.”

Larson encouraged hunters to check the map frequently throughout the season, as baiting laws are fluid and could change at any time.

Minnesota: Hunt with a Crossbow

For the first time in history, Minnesota hunters who want to pursue deer with a crossbow can do so in archery season. Earlier this spring, legislators changed the state law, which previously limited crossbow use during archery season to people older than 60 or those who had a physical impairment that would prevent them from using a vertical bow.

The Minnesota DNR will monitor crossbow use during the next three seasons and report back to lawmakers about whether the expansion of the law caused any major issues with bowhunters.

Kansas: No Fall Turkey Season

A lot of whitetail hunters like to purchase a turkey tag and hunt for a Thanksgiving bird, but you can’t do it in Kansas this season. Kansas Wildlife and Parks has suspended the fall season because of declining turkey populations across the state.

“We’ve documented consistent declines in turkey populations over the last 15 years largely due to reduced production levels,” Kent Fricke, KDWP biologist, said in a news release. “These trends are not unique to Kansas. States across the Midwest and Southeast have experienced similar patterns in turkey populations.”

Great News on the EHD Front

In mid-September, the Missouri Department of Conservation confirmed hemorrhagic disease in dead deer found in Cole, Greene, Howell, Miller, St. Louis, and Webster counties. MDC has also received at least 305 reports of additional suspected HD cases from locations throughout the state.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission recently announced that 30 to 40 deer found dead in Crawford County succumbed to HD.

Only two states reporting HD this late in the year is great news, indicating that 2023 will be one of the lightest HD years in recent history. The first hard frost of fall, which will occur in many states that are prone to HD outbreaks, will happen in days or weeks. Frost kills the gnats that bite deer and infect them with HD — either epizootic hemorrhagic disease or bluetongue — effectively ending a disease outbreak for the year.

Michigan DNR: Please Shoot More Does

In an open letter to hunters this season, Chad Stewart, deer management specialist with the Michigan DNR, said, “We need to have some frank conversations about deer management in this state. … If you are in the Lower Peninsula, we simply aren’t taking enough does to control the growth of our deer herd. … We need to quickly and substantially increase our antlerless harvest (this season) across much of our LP.”


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