We’re getting a mixed picture of how successful the opening weekend was for Wisconsin deer hunters. Dane County hunters reported an increased harvest. Dick’s Quality Meats in Blue Mounds reported roughly a 25-percent increase from last year. “We’re just having a field day. It’s a lot of fun,” said Linda McCullick, who handles registrations.
Fred Loy, who was registering whitetails at Fred’s Village Market in Waunakee, told WIBA that registrations in Waunakee were up 20 percent from last year. “We’re seeing more doe than we are buck. But that’s in the earn-a-buck area. Everybody is shooting does to get the buck tag,” he said.
The DNR has suspended its controversial Earn-a-Buck requirement in all but southern Wisconsin, to try and raise the number of mother does.
Some stations in heavily-hunted northeast Wisconsin have reported a big increase from 2009. Others reported about the same numbers. A few report only a small fraction of what they’ve seen in the past.
The website Wisconsin Outdoor Fun said stations across Calumet, Outagamie, Waupaca and Winnebago counties reported seeing more bucks. But Mike Levezow of Manawa in Waupaca County said his station expected only a-third of their past harvests. He said the weather wasn’t the best, and many folks were still turned off by the DNR’s past management efforts.
Just over 100,000 animals were taken in last year’s opening weekend, down 25-percent from the previous year. Last year’s final harvest for the nine-day gun season, 196,000 deer, was the lowest in 27 years.
Today is the deadline for hunters to register the deer they took during the opening weekend.