Effective management of wildlife populations often requires motivating hunters to harvest sufficient numbers of animals of prescribed sex and age classes to meet management goals. For cervids, it is convenient to design harvest regulations relative to presence (male) or absence (young and female) of antlers because harvest of females has a larger effect on population growth. We used regression techniques to evaluate effects of 2 supplemental hunting programs based on additional days of hunting opportunity and an additional incentive used to complement additional days on harvest of antlered and antlerless deer in Wisconsin, USA. Earn-a-buck regulations, an incentive-based program that requires hunters to register an antlerless deer before being authorized to harvest an antlered deer, were associated with an average increase of 2.04 deer/km2 in antlerless harvest and a 0.60 deer/km2 decrease in harvest of antlered deer. Providing more opportunity for hunting of antlerless deer in the form of 4- and 8-day supplemental firearm seasons was associated with 1.10 deer/km2 and 1.32 deer/km2 increases, respectively, in antlerless harvest with trivial (0.02 deer/km2 and 0.09 deer/km2) decreases in harvests of antlered deer. Our analysis suggests that extra days of hunting opportunity coupled with the earn-a-buck incentive was 56–88% more effective at increasing antlerless harvest relative to additional days of hunting without the incentive. Use of the earn-a-buck incentive resulted in decreased harvest of antlered deer and was disliked by many hunters. Quantifying these relationships is important for helping managers predict the costs and benefits of various hunting programs.
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Vol. 74 • No. 8