With the season opener just a few days away, officials with the state Department of Natural Resources say sales of licenses for the annual gun deer hunt are behind last year’s numbers. As of Monday, sales of licenses for the nine day season were down about 11,000 from where they were at the same point last year, or about two percent.
During a call with reporters Tuesday, State DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said there are several likely factors.
For example, she said several people have voiced concerns about the winter storm that hit northern Wisconsin last week, leaving behind deep snow in many places. As a result, some may be holding off on purchasing licenses until they are sure they are going to go out.
Stepp believes it’s also possible some hunters took advantage of the state’s new open crossbow season earlier this fall, so they are sitting out the gun hunt.
AUDIO: DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp (:30)
Agency officials note sales do tend to pick up in the week before the season opens, with about 50 percent of license purchases coming in the final days. The gun deer season opens this coming Saturday.