The Rise and Fall of the Deer Population in Wisconsin

The Rise and Fall of the Deer Population in Wisconsin

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During fall of 2014, I began an attempt to put my own thoughts in order regarding the 20-year run-up (irruption) and decline in northern Wisconsin deer numbers from 1988 to 2007. There was public concern and loud debate about the causes of the population decline in the decade after 2000. However, I was especially interested in how it was possible for deer densities to reach the high levels that we saw. My outline grew into the accompanying article.

Three factors seem paramount in explaining the bubble in deer abundance: mild winters, supplemental feed and public distrust of deer population estimates.

The population correction after 2000 was imparted by liberal harvest…



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