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Lee Fahrney: Season sticks to schedule
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MADISON - The state legislature opted not to seek changes to the 2008 deer season rules as approved by the policy-making Natural Resources Board at its April meeting. Thus, the season structure and rules for the newly formed Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone are set in stone, according to a Department of Natural Resources press release.

The new boundaries will encompass all of the former Herd Reduction and Disease Eradication Zones. The CWD-MZ includes all of Iowa, Green, Rock and Lafayette counties, plus all or parts of more than a dozen other counties in southern Wisconsin.

The change came as a recommendation from the Stakeholder Advisory Group convened last year to examine strategies for combating CWD.

"We supported this recommendation because a single zone will help reduce confusion over hunting season dates and simplify communication with the public," said CWD project leader Alan Crossley.

Several new seasons have been added to the mix for 2008. In addition to a four-day antlerless only hunt in October, hunters may take advantage of a 10-day muzzleloader hunt in early December, a late firearm season in mid-December and a special holiday hunt, Dec. 24 to Jan. 3. The archery season runs continuously from Sept. 13 to Jan. 4.

Also new for 2008, landowners will no longer be able to purchase a $2 permit. In the past, other hunters could also purchase $2 tags to be used with permission of the landowner. These tags will no longer be available as well.

The cost of continuing landowner permits with the new combined CWD zone would be more than $850,000, according to the DNR. Officials are developing alternative landowner incentives.

"We recognize the important role that hunters and landowners play in managing CWD, but we need to consider more cost effective ways of supporting that role," Crossley said.

Hunters may use rifles within the CWD-MZ except in Metro 76M, which will remain shotgun only. White and albino deer may be harvested throughout the new CWD-MZ (previously limited to the Disease Eradication Zone).

Earn a Buck rules will be in place for 2008. However, many hunters will have already qualified to harvest a buck by having shot an antlerless deer last year. Those hunters will receive their buck authorization sticker in the mail in mid-to-late August. The stickers will be valid in any EAB or CWD unit.

Hunters can visit the DNR website at for more information on CWD regulations and management.