Wisconsin deer hunters harvested more than 30,000 fewer deer on the opening weekend of the state’s nine day gun deer hunt, compared to last year’s opening weekend, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Hunters registered a preliminary tally of 100,330 deer over the first two days of the hunt. That compares to a similar opening weekend count of 133,828 from 2008. This fall, wildlife staff indicated that they expected lower total harvest numbers – especially antlerless deer harvest numbers – due to several factors including lower deer numbers in many areas of the state, fewer herd control units and no earn-a-buck units outside of the chronic wasting disease management zone.
Warm temperatures and heavy fog in many areas greeted hunters on the opening weekend of Wisconsin’s 158th gun deer hunt. The department’s license sales office reported 626,404 hunters hit the woods with a license to participate in the 2009 nine-day gun deer season. The number of gun hunting licenses included a new category this year, 9,592 10- and 11-year-old hunters who for the first time were able to participate as mentored hunters under Wisconsin’s new Mentored Hunting Law.