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MADISON (AP)

The state Department of Natural Resources board has unanimously approved shrinking the number of counties where hunters can shoot only bucks this fall.

The board signed off Wednesday on a fall season framework that makes 10 northern Wisconsin counties buck-only. That's down from 19 counties in 2014 and 12 last year.

Buck-only designations are designed to protect does so they can give birth, leading to a larger herd. DNR Big Game Section Chief Bob Nack told the board that the northern herd appears to be growing again after harsh winters cut their numbers, enabling the agency to reduce the buck-only counties.

The framework also includes an antlerless-only, nine-day holiday gun hunt between Christmas and New Year's in 13 southern and central counties.

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