FITCHBURG – The Department of Natural Resources will be hosting two deer management Open Houses in south central Wisconsin preceding public hearings on the agency’s proposed revisions to its chronic wasting disease (CWD) rules and regulations.

The Open Houses covering herd status and CWD hearings will be on:

March 14, Jefferson – Activity Center, Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 503 N. Jackson St.

March 15, Mt. Horeb – Basement Conference Room, Karakahl Country Inn, 1405 Business State Highway 18-151.

Each Open House will run from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and during this segment of the evening’s program DNR wildlife biologists will discuss results from the 2004 hunting seasons, population estimates and deer hunting season prospects in area deer management units (DMU).

Most of south central Wisconsin is in a CWD Zone where deer population goals are set by rule “so our information will focus more on how we are progressing towards managing CWD and the herd in general rather than covering the more traditional format that dealt with overwinter goals for individual DMU’s,”noted Alan Crossley, CWD project leader.

Following the Open Houses and starting at 7:00 p.m., DNR will hold a formal, public hearing on its proposed revisions to the CWD permanent rule. Highlighting those proposals, which the public is asked to comment on, are recommended changes that would:

Expand the Western Disease Eradication Zone (WDEZ) around new positives near Plain and Argyle.

Remove most of the Richland County portion from the WDEZ.

Expand the Herd Reduction Zone (HRZ) to include all of DMU 76A rather than just the southern half.

Create a five-day split in the gun season in the DEZ so that there is no gun deer hunting five days prior to the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the traditional opening day of the gun deer season.

Apply either sex hunting regulations to the archery and gun seasons beginning on the Saturday before Thanksgiving through Jan. 3 in all CWD Zones.

Allow earn-a-buck hunting authority in any earn-a-buck DMU in the state by shooting an antlerless deer in any state earn-a-buck unit.

Establish a deer hunting season for Belmont Mound State Park, which is located in the HRZ in Lafayette County.