Fort McCoy News December 13, 2013

Nearly 700 deer harvested during gun-deer season

Public Affairs Staff

Opening weekend harvest totals for the 2013 Fort McCoy gun-deer hunt were up almost 100 deer from 2012.

David Beckmann, Fort McCoy wildlife biologist, said the cold weather and lingering snow on Saturday and Sunday of the opening weekend likely played a role; 476 deer were harvested this year, 378 in 2012.

Photo for hunting article
Nathan Tucker (left) and Jim Raiten, Colorado State University contractors who work for the Fort McCoy Natural Resources Branch Wildlife Program, measure the vital statistics of a deer at the Fort McCoy registration station on South Post. Kristi Klubertanz, also of Colorado State University, collects hunting information during the nine-day gun deer season, which ran from Nov. 23-Dec. 1.

"The cold weather got the hunters moving, which in turn got the deer moving," Beckmann said. "The remaining snow allowed the hunters to better see the deer in the woods and made it easier to track the deer."

For the remaining seven days, the hunters pretty much matched the success of 2012, he said.

Beckmann said the 2013 harvest surpassed the previous harvest by 86 deer. The total of 692 deer harvested will allow the installation to maintain its overwinter deer population to meet desired levels.

The other big factor in this year's hunt was the introduction of the i-Sportsman website, he said. Hunters could sign-in for the hunt online or via telephone. A kiosk was set up that allowed hunters to sign-in onsite, as well.

Hunters still had to register their deer at the North Post or South Post registration sites, he said. The registration information is important to calculate the installation deer population and monitor deer health.

"The i-Sportsman rollout went very well, with very few glitches being reported," Beckmann said. "Most of the glitches were quickly fixed."

The new system also allowed the Natural Resources Branch (NRB) wildlife program personnel to post updated daily harvest totals online, he said.

Yearly harvest totals, dating back to 1978, and fall and overwinter population figures from 1984 to the present also are available at the website under the Deer Population tab.

"A lot of hunters are interested in this data," Beckmann said. "We like to share it because hunters are key to successfully managing the deer population. This system also will give us more-accurate data about hunting pressure during the various seasons."

Beckmann said Game Line updates also were easier with the automated system.

Beckmann said the deer archery season continues through Dec. 31.