Cold weather during the opening weekend of the recently ended gun deer hunting season may have been a factor in the overall harvest being down this year. Preliminary figures from the state Department of Natural Resources show hunters registered 226,582 deer during the nine-day season that wrapped up on Sunday. Those numbers were down about seven percent from the roughly 244,000 deer registered during the 2012 gun hunt.
DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang says the drop was not a surprise, after many hunters reported to the agency that they were not able to spend much time outside during the opening weekend because of frigid temperatures. About 60 percent of registrations for the annual season come during the first few days. As the weather warmed up through the week though, Wallenfang says “things got much better later in the season, and they got out and hunted.”
AUDIO: Kevin Wallenfang, DNR (:15)
The antlerless harvest held relatively steady compared to last year, with early numbers showing hunters harvested 128,817 antlerless deer. Buck registrations were down about 15 percent over 2012 levels, with 97,765 shot by hunters.