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Early Deer Hunt Numbers Down From 2016

Nearly 14,000 Fewer Deer Shot Opening Weekend Of Gun-Deer Hunt

deer hunter
Kevin Chang (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Wisconsin’s opening weekend gun-deer harvest was down 12 percent compared to last year.

Wisconsin hunters took home nearly 14,000 fewer deer last weekend than they did in the first days of the 2016 gun hunt. The numbers are preliminary and only offer a snapshot of the total deer hunting season which runs until Sunday.

State Department of Natural Resources Big Game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang said people shouldn’t put too much stock in the weekend numbers.

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“Two days into the season doesn’t really tell us a whole lot,” said Wallenfang. “But when we do start looking at the numbers there does seem that there’s a direct correlation between the weather, which a lot of folks will say that’s an excuse.”

But Wallenfang said areas with better weather on opening weekend did see higher harvests.

“As you went further north deer harvests seemed to be more on par with what we had last year,” Wallenfang said. “I talked to plenty of hunters down here in southern Wisconsin that said they were soaked to the skin and headed for home by nine o’clock in the morning.”

Wallenfang said he expects the total deer harvest for the gun-deer, archery and crossbow seasons to be on par or slightly ahead of last year when all is said and done. License sales and deer harvests have been declining since the early 2000s. Wallenfang said much of that is due to the state’s aging population.

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