- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 12, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Latest on a state Department of Natural Resources review of the 2017 gun deer hunt (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

Wisconsin hunters and conservationists will have to wait a few more months to see final updates to the state Department of Natural Resources‘ long-term chronic wasting disease plan.

DNR big game officials have been working for more than a year on updates to the plan. They had planned to present the plan to the agency’s board in December.

But DNR Big Game Chief Bob Nack said Tuesday the agency won’t present the plan until February. He says leadership changes at DNR and the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection have caused delays.

Gov. Scott Walker appointed former state Rep. Dan Meyer to replace Cathy Stepp as DNR secretary in late September and former state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf to replace Ben Brancel as DATCP secretary in November.

Nack says the DNR has been implementing facets of the plan, which calls for informing people about deer carcass transportation restrictions, improving public understanding of the disease and informing meat processors and taxidermists about proper carcass disposal.

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1:40 p.m.

A member of the state Department of Natural Resources board says the lack of a minimum hunting age in Wisconsin has created an embarrassing perception nationally that babies are hunting deer.

Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill just ahead of the nine-day gun season last month that eliminated the 10-year-old minimum age for participating in a mentored hunt, essentially eliminating the state’s minimum hunting age. The DNR sold 1,814 mentored hunt licenses heading into the nine-day season to children nine years old or younger, including 10 licenses to children under a year.

DNR Board member Fredrick Prehn said during a review of the season Tuesday that the license sales to infants generated national media attention that he found “rather embarrassing.” He told a reporter during a break that infants clearly aren’t capable of hunting and he’s worried that other people are using the children’s tags. He says that’s a loophole and it isn’t right.

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This item has been updated to correct that Prehn feels the law has created embarrassing publicity and a loophole for hunters, not that the law itself is embarrassing.

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10:00 a.m.

The state Department of Natural Resources board is set to review the 2017 gun deer hunt.

The board will hear a presentation from Chief Warden Todd Schaller during a meeting Tuesday afternoon in Madison.

Preliminary data shows hunters killed 195,738 deer, down slightly from 196,738 deer in 2016. The buck harvest increased by half a percentage point this year, though.

The DNR sold fewer licenses this year than last, 588,387 compared with 598,807. The agency sold 1,814 mentored hunt licenses to children nine years old or younger. Gov. Scott Walker eliminated the state’s minimum hunting age last month.

The board also was expected to vote on deer management unit boundaries for 2018 through 2020. The DNR is generally recommending most unit boundaries remain the same as years past.

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