Lottery for Ely area deer hunters, public meeting in Tower on August 15

by Nick Wognum -

If you rifle hunt for deer in permit area 118, be aware this year that is a lottery area for antlerless deer.
This and other info will be discussed a public meeting at the Tower DNR office on Aug. 15 from 6-8 p.m.
DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch said 400 antlerless permits will be made available through the lottery.
To apply, just purchase your license prior to Sept. 6, list area 118 and you will be automatically entered into the lottery.
Rusch said numbers in 118 are still down and after a tough April, the DNR decided to go back a step from last year’s Hunter’s Choice designation.
“This would allow for controlled growth,” said Rusch. “I would expect a 50 percent success rate so we would kill 200 does. That would cut the antlerless harvest in half from last year.
“April was tough up here. When you have multiple snows anytime in April, that is hard on the deer.”
Rusch said last year’s harvest would’ve been higher if not for terrible weather on opening weekend when the most hunters are in the woods.
“We had snow up here, rain and drizzle elsewhere, not good deer hunting weather. Anytime you get weather like that it’s tough to sit on the stand so the harvest is going to be down.
“Bucks didn’t move well and when there’s nothing on the pole Sunday or Monday it gets be brown it’s down so the antlerless kill is up and the buck kill goes down,” said Rush.
Temperatures dropped to 14 below zero during the first week of the season.
“How many guys hit the alarm and said the heck with that?” asked Rusch.
“For 118 I thought we should back off this year in combination with a high antlerless harvest last year. We’re not trying to wipe deer out, we’re trying to get on top of deer growth in the moose range.”
With the deer population on the low end of the goal range, the DNR decided to be conservative despite 118 being in the moose zone where the policy has been to continually reduce deer numbers.