By Rob Schuette, Fort McCoy Public AffairsDecember 9, 2010
FORT McCOY, Wis. -- Deer hunters helped Fort McCoy meet its 2010 goals with a harvest of 697 animals during the Nov. 20-28 gun-deer hunt, right on pace with the target of 650-700 deer, said David Beckmann.
Beckmann, installation wildlife biologist, said the opening day total of 312 deer harvested for the Nov. 20-28 hunt surpassed the 303 deer registered in 2009.
After the banner opening day, inclement weather, including rain Nov. 21-22, slowed down the hunt a bit so that the Nov. 22 total of 455 deer harvested was about 40 deer behind the 2009 count of 493.
The hunt seemed to turn the corner Nov. 23, when good weather returned for the final six days of the hunt. Beckman said 242 deer were registered compared with 219 over the same period in 2009.
"The Green Bay Packer/Minnesota Viking football game and the rainy conditions seemed to reduce the hunting pressure Sunday afternoon through Monday," Beckmann said. "Hunters returned to the woods as soon as the weather conditions improved and were very successful."
Of the 697 deer killed, 288 were antlered and 409 antlerless, according to Fort McCoy Wildlife Program figures. Beckmann said slightly more bucks were taken in 2010, which could be the result of fewer bonus tags being issued - 600 in 2010 versus 750 in 2009. It also may have been attributable to more bucks in the overall population, he added.
"Hunters reported seeing plenty of deer, many of which were does," Beckmann said. "Some hunting parties met their goals. Several first-time hunters were successful and harvested some nice bucks."
The late archery season continues through Dec 31. The muzzle-loader season and a deer hunt for disabled hunters added 38 deer to the total, while about 100 deer have been taken by archery to date.
Beckmann said observations of the deer fat content, which is an important factor for survival, indicated the herd looks healthy going into the winter months.
"Preliminary analysis of the harvest data show average deer weights being up about 4 percent from 2009; antler development also has increased compared to 2009. These increases suggest deer habitat and food sources are in good condition," said Beckmann.
The total deer kill, in conjunction with the pre-hunt estimate of 35-40 deer per square mile, should allow the post to reach its overwinter deer-population goals.
"We will know more about the deer herd size after all the data is analyzed in our deer-population model," Beckmann said.
For more information about hunting or fishing at Fort McCoy, call the Permit Sales Office at 608-388-3337 or visit the Fort McCoy public website at http://www.mccoy.army.mil and click on recreation opportunities.