With the deer hunting season fast approaching, license sales are up over a year ago.
Greg Mathews of the DNR says they're up by two to three percent. They've been showing steady increases, since sales plummeted in 2002 after the discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer killed near Mount Horeb. Mathews says they dropped to about 618,000 that year, largely over concerns about the safety of eating infected venison. However, he also believes some people used it as an excuse to stop hunting.
Matthews says there's sort of a comfort level now with hunters being pretty sure CWD is not transmitted to humans. The DNR is expecting over 640,000 hunters in the woods with the nine-day gun deer season opens Saturday.