March 23, 2018 – West Bend, WI – Three months after the city of West Bend tried using bow hunters to trim the deer population the Deer Management Committee is regrouping to discuss Plan B.
On Monday, March 26 the committee will talk about using sharpshooters for deer management. During a five day test program for deer management in West Bend in January 2018, five bow hunters killed a total of three deer. Their goal was 40.
Now the Deer Management Committee is regrouping.
Sharpshooters have been discussed in the past. Some of the concerns were cost and safety. Tom Isaac with the DNR presented some details during a meeting in August 2016.
Bullet points (pun intended) include:
-The average park size in West Bend is 14 acres up to 140 acres.
-Options to control deer include sterilization, sharpshooters, and trapping.
-Mayor Kraig Sadownikow said he had 38 direct contacts about bow hunting deer. “Two said no hunting at all, 5 said hunt now and 31 said more info.”
-One of the primary questions according to Sadownikow was, “How do we know if we have a deer problem.”
-DNR said there are a variety of way to determine deer numbers including monitor car vs. deer accidents, count how many plants are eaten, and pellet count or count via aerial survey with a drone video.
-Sadownikow said the ultimate goal is to manage the herd. Another suggested option was to get volunteers to qualify as sharpshooters and maybe close a park for 2-3 days to try and solve the problem.
In 2009 in neighboring Ozaukee County officials in the City of Mequon brought in sharpshooters for $11,000 to help cull the deer herd by 100. According to a report from the Parks Director the sharpshooters used bait, shot the deer from tree stands at night while the park was closed.
Monday’s meeting in the Conference Room at West Bend City Hall is open to the public and begins at 5:30 p.m.
On a side note – Hallway conversation in 2016:
After the meeting some of the neighbors in attendance talked about the huge problem of deer in their yards on Deer Ridge Drive. One suggestion that helped keep deer from destroying plants was Irish Spring soap.
Jan. 17, 2018 – West Bend, WI – Final totals are in for the Deer Management Program at Lac Lawrann Conservancy in West Bend.
Five bow hunters had five days to try to trim the deer population by 40 deer and while hunters saw a lot of deer the final results will surprise you.
The harvest after five days was three deer. All were shot by Brian Beck.
Beck hunted four days with 13 hours in the stand and saw 27 deer. Beck took a total of three shots, used and retrieved three arrows and harvested three deer. The deer were females and antlerless and he donated the animals.
Brad Zuba hunted four days, 15 hours in the stand and saw 27 deer and took zero shots.
Eric Esselman hunted for five days, 23 hours in the stand and saw two deer and took zero shots
Jeffrey Bach hunted for four days, 12.5 total hours in the stand and saw 17 deer. Bach mentioned he saw more than 20 deer walking out of Lac Lawrann Conservancy on to Schmidt Road. He took zero shots and recovered zero deer
Steve Kraker hunted for four days, 17 hours in the stand and saw 10 deer and took a zero shots.
“I wish people would realize how hard it is to hunt deer, even in a park,” said Bach. “It’s amazing; it’s nature.”
As far as moving forward, Bach said he wishes the city would try it again. “But I hope they do it at a different time of the year,” he said. “This time of year is very cold and a couple people were deterred by the weather.”
Hunters had rain and snow to deal with over the five days, Jan. 10-14. “A fall hunt would be good, when the regular hunt is on and deer are in rut,” Bach said. “Also if they could plan it ahead of time. To figure deer out in a week was difficult and giving hunters more time would help with the setup.”
While Bach saw about 50 plus deer in the vicinity of Lac Lawrann over the five days he believed they knew the hunters were there for a purpose.
“The deer knew we were there,” he said. “We did feed them corn but at one point in time they stopped eating it. The deer were moving around.”
The goal of the pilot hunt is to manage the deer population.
A followup meeting will be held Jan. 23, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. at West Bend City Hall.