Fort McCoy News Dec. 9, 2016

2016 Fort McCoy gun-deer hunt successful

BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

There were 1,487 hunters who took to the woods at Fort McCoy Nov. 19-27, harvesting more than 400 deer during the post's 2016 nine-day gun-deer season. A final harvest total for Fort McCoy will be known later in December after WDNR online harvest data is checked.

The annual hunt is important in helping to control the deer population on post, said Wildlife Biologist Dave Beckmann with the Directorate of Public Works Natural Resources Branch (NRB).

A hunter is photographed with a whitetail buck harvested during the 2016 gun-deer season at Fort McCoy.
A hunter is photographed with a whitetail buck harvested during the
2016 gun-deer season at Fort McCoy.
Contributed photo


A Colorado State University contractor who works for the Fort McCoy Natural Resources Branch Wildlife Program measures the vital statistics of a deer at an installation deer data collection station.
A Colorado State University contractor who works for the Fort McCoy
Natural Resources Branch Wildlife Program measures the vital
statistics of a deer at an installation deer data collection station.

Contributed photo

For the 2016 gun-deer season, 1,626 permits were purchased. In addition, 350 bonus antlerless tags were available and were sold out in 11 minutes earlier in the year.

"Even though there was some bad weather to start the season, we still had good hunter success, and we expect to reach our harvest goal to reduce the herd to management levels," Beckmann said.

Going into the season, Beckmann said it was estimated that Fort McCoy averaged about 35 deer per square mile.

"Our goal is to have approximately 20 to 25 deer per square mile," Beckmann said. "That's why these hunts are so important — they help us meet our wildlife management goal."

Many large bucks were taken during the hunt.

"At the South Post data-collection station, several large-racked bucks were brought through," Beckmann said. "They had plenty of fat on them, too, which tells me we have a healthy herd. It also tells me the herd is (likely) ready for winter."

The 2016 season was the first time carcass tags were issued electronically through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). It was the second year the WDNR used an all-electronic deer-harvest registration system. Hunters registered their deer harvests through a smartphone app, through the WDNR's webpage, or by phone.

At Fort McCoy, this was the first year permit notifications for hunters were issued through the i-Sportsman website.

"Those who received permits this year were first notified by email, then they could purchase it through the WDNR GoWild system and print off a copy of their approved tag," Beckmann said.

"We had some minor issues with the (i-Sportsman) system when the season started for hunters signing in and out, but it got worked out."

The archery deer hunt at Fort McCoy continues through Dec. 31.

Looking ahead to the 2017 season, Beckmann said he believes hunting possibilities should continue to be good. "It will depend on how the winter goes, but if this coming winter is anything like the last two winters, I think the deer will do well," he said.

Permit applications for the 2017 Fort McCoy gun-deer season will be available in late spring with an application deadline in June or July.

For more information about hunting on Fort McCoy, call the Permit Sales Office at 608-388-3337, or go online to https://ftmccoy.isportsman.net. For more information on hunting in Wisconsin, go online to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Web page at dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt.