DNR looks to reduce buck-only counties again this fall

The state Department of Natural Resources wants to again reduce the number of counties where hunters can shoot only bucks this fall in a sign Wisconsin’s herd continues to grow.

The agency’s board is poised Wednesday to approve a 2017 season structure that would designate Ashland, Iron and Vilas counties and the eastern half of Eau Claire County buck-only. The designation protects does so they can give birth, leading to larger herds.

The board designated 19 counties as buck-only in 2014, 12 counties in 2015 and 10 counties last year.

DNR officials said in documents attached to the season proposal that a series of mild winters has helped the northern herd recover. The winter of 2016-17 was the sixth mildest since the DNR began measuring severity in 1960.