Officials at the Department of Natural Resources say the 2007 gun deer hunt is off to a strong start.
Initial estimates for opening weekend show 171,584 deer were registered during the first two days of the gun deer hunting season. That's about a two-percent increase over last year, according to the DNR's Keith Warnke. The big game specialist says that's not bad, considering factors such as the weather in some parts of the state.
Opening weekend figures have hunters claiming 70,021 bucks and 101,563 antlerless deer for the weekend. Warnke says the return of Earn-A-Buck in several regions of the state may have impacted those numbers. He says antlerless kills climbed by almost 54-percent in some areas where the program was brought back this year.
Overall, Warnke says hunters were mostly upbeat about the opening weekend, and favorable weather forecasts will hopefully get more hunters out in the woods for the rest of the gun deer hunting season, which runs through Sunday.