Deer Management Program a Resource for Landowners

If you are managing land in Wisconsin, then you’re already dealing with the impacts that white-tailed deer have on your landscape. The Wisconsin DNR Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) would be happy to partner with you to help you meet your goals.

DMAP provides access to an extensive library on habitat management resources, as well as direct communication with professional biologists and foresters, and holds regular workshops on a wide variety of deer management topics.

Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) workshop in Columbia County.
Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) workshop in Columbia County.

“This program is open to everyone, and at Level One, there is no charge. It’s easy to enroll online, and you can be as involved with it as you want to be. If you are interested in wildlife and land management, I would encourage you to sign up,” says Bob Nack, who originated and oversees DMAP. You can sign up online on the DMAP page; instructions are linked here.

At levels Two and Three, DMAP cooperators get an on-site visit with a DNR biologist and forester who will listen to landowners and provide a property management plan based on what the owner wants to accomplish. Level Two is for landowners with 160 – 640 acres, with an enrollment cost of $75 for three years of service. Level Three covers landowners with more than 640 acres and costs $150.

“If landowners don’t have 160 acres but want a site visit, they can partner with their neighbors within a half-mile to create a DMAP cooperative,” Nack says. “Then a biologist and forester will come and do a site visit and management plan for their combined properties. It’s always a good thing when landowners work together on habitat and deer management.”

With over 300,000 acres of land enrolled across the state, one of DMAP’s goals is to bring landowners together to create healthy habitat for all wildlife.

DNR Foresters and Biologists discuss habitat
DNR foresters and wildlife biologists will write property-specific management plans to help landowners meet habitat goals.

“You can work up to your fence line, but it’s nice to have support and agreement from your neighbors,” says Nack. “We get people from the full spectrum of experience.”

“We support networking opportunities between new landowners and those with a lot of experience.

It’s an opportunity to help people to connect that way, and the department facilitates that. I just introduced a new landowner to a DMAP cooperator who has been in the program from the beginning and has a lot of experience. I expect they will get together and tour each other’s properties and see where it goes.”

DMAP also offers tremendous online resources and advice for land and deer management including a calendar of events. Nack sends out an update every few weeks to about 1400 landowners. “We share publications and videos in our updates, and then they are posted in our library, which includes material ranging from diseases affecting wildlife, to chainsaw safety, to monitoring deer and wildlife on your property.

Landowners in southern Wisconsin can find material on invasive plant species and their impacts on deer and wildlife through DMAP.

“A lot of landowners are working on invasive species control and some are challenged with trying to get tree regeneration going in light of browsing caused by high deer numbers,” says Nack. “They could find some of this information online themselves, but we do the searching for our cooperators, as well as creating our own material, and provide it all to their inbox to make it as convenient as possible.”

David Hataj and his father bought 239 acres in Iowa County 16 years ago. The woods had been grazed, and the fields were depleted. Hataj has had good experience working with Managed Forest Law on timber stand improvement for some time.

“We learned about DMAP in 2016, and thought, the more input and expertise we can get – the better. We wanted to know what a healthy environment would look like, and I wanted a holistic approach.”

“Tom Hill, an Iowa County-based DNR Forester, came out with a deer biologist, and we went into the forest together,” says Hataj. “It was really eye-opening. We have a lot more deer damage than I had realized. We are enrolling in their fawn tagging program this spring, so they can get a better feel for what’s happening with the deer population here.”

Hataj says he is benefiting from the information he is getting from DMAP, including “really good articles just about forest. Bob puts out a lot of great information,” he says.  “They are a really good group of people who really care about landowners.”

 

Written by Denise Thornton, Driftless Landowner and Environmental Blogger for digginginthedriftless.com.