MADISON — The state Department of Natural Resources' board has signed off on a fall deer hunt structure that scales back the number of counties where hunters can shoot only bucks for a fourth straight year.
The 2017 season structure designates Ashland, Iron and Vilas counties and the eastern half of Eau Claire County as buck-only. The designation protects does so they can give birth and grow area herds. The DNR's board passed the structure on a unanimous voice vote Wednesday.
The board designed 19 counties as buck-only in 2014, 12 counties in 2015 and 10 counties last year. Fewer buck-only counties each year is a sign the statewide herd is growing. DNR officials say a series of mild winters has helped bolster the herd.