Deer, bear numbers up statewide


Bill Van Lannen

The whitetail in flight is an extraordinary leaper.

Ty Schelvan

Driving through the country in Wisconsin, there is a ton of wildlife to offer. From small animals like birds and bugs to large animals like bears and elk, Wisconsin has it all. Whitetail deer are very common in Wisconsin. Whitetail deer are all over the state. There are over 1.8 million whitetail deer in Wisconsin. 

There are close to 700 species of wildlife living in Wisconsin. This includes elk, whitetail deer, black bears, wolves, redfox, badgers, coyotes, turkeys, pheasants, grouse, and many others. There have been a few sightings of moose in Wisconsin, only a few each year. Some people believe that there is an overpopulation of some kinds of animals in Wisconsin. Recently the gray wolf population has gone up, making the prey’s population go down; some prey include deer and elk. 

There are 24,000 black bears currently in Wisconsin. There are 15,000 more black bears now then in 1989. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, “Black bears are found primarily in the northern third of the state, but as their population grows, they’re becoming more common in the southern two-thirds as well.” 

Wisconsin’s whitetail deer population is the highest it has been in decades. Advocates say that the overpopulation of whitetail deer is taking a toll on the health of ecosystems and the deer themselves. Whitetail deer eat 2-4 pounds of food in the spring, summer, and fall months. But they will eat 4-5 pounds of food each day in the winter because food can be hard to find. 

According to the DOT (Department Of Transportation), “Deer-vehicle crashes are a major safety concern for Wisconsin motorists. Over the past 5 years, reported crash data shows over 19,000 deer are killed annually by vehicles on Wisconsin roadways. With abundant deer, motorists should be aware of the potential for deer to cross roadways at any time.”

Vehicle crashes caused by deer are increasing every year, if we dont keep the whitetail deer population under control, those numbers will just increase more and more every year. Deer play a huge impact in Wisconsin’s ecosystems, more than anyone could imagine. The DNR needs to keep their population in check, they do this by selling deer tags to residents in Wisconsin so that they can hunt the whitetail deer.