MADISON — The public will have an opportunity to comment on proposed deer hunting rules in zones established to control and eliminate chronic wasting disease in Wisconsin at a series of open house meetings and public hearings across southern Wisconsin.

The Department of Natural Resources will conduct five deer management open houses and public hearings for the 2006 CWD hunting season.

Alan Crossley, DNR chronic wasting disease project leader based at Fitchburg said DNR staff have “been listening to hunters and landowners in the CWD zones and we believe hunters will see what they’ve told us reflected in the CWD rule proposals.”

Highlights of the proposed changes include: unlimited either sex deer hunting in both the CWD Herd Reduction Zone (HRZ) and Disease Eradication Zones (DEZ); shorter and earlier gun seasons in the Eastern and Western DEZs; longer closed period for gun hunting in the DEZs; longer early gun season in the HRZ and shorter late gun season in the CWD Zones; and identical hunting seasons in the CWD Zones. The department is not recommending any boundary changes to the CWD management zones.

Each Open House will run from 5 to 7 p.m. Hunters will be able to talk with DNR wildlife biologists about the 2005 hunting seasons, population estimates, deer hunting prospects in area deer managements units (DMUs), and the proposed CWD rules. Following the open houses a formal, public hearing on the proposed revisions will begin at 7 p.m. The hearings will be held:

  • March 13, Waukesha, Waukesha State Office Building, 141 NW Barstow,
  • March 14, Prairie du Sac, Grand Avenue Elementary School Theater, 225 Grand Ave.
  • March 15, Jefferson, Jefferson Co. Fairgrounds Activity Center, 503 N. Jackson Ave., Kenosha, Kenosha Center, Kenosha County Administration Center, 1010 56th St.
  • March 17, Dodgeville, DNR Service Center, 1500 N. Johns St.