State officials say two gun related fatalities have made this year the deadliest gun deer season in Wisconsin in the last five years.
The pair of gun fatalities ended a three year string of hunting seasons without firearm related deaths. Four more people were injured in other firearm related incidents.
The first of the deaths was caused the Sunday of opening weekend when a 39-year-old Alaska man was shot in the armpit while handing a rifle to a woman in a tree stand. The rifle was loaded at the time, and the woman accidentally pulled the trigger.
The second death was caused when a stray bullet struck and killed 56-year-old Gregory Welk of Wild Rose. Welk was able to call 911 and his wife for help. He died at a Neenah hospital a short time later. That shooting remains under investigation.
Department of Natural Resources officials said both of those incidents violated the basic rules of gun safety.
The nine-day gun deer hunt ended Sunday evening. Through last Friday, hunters had registered 175,398 deer. Final figures for the season are expected in the coming days.
Contributed by Raymond Neupert, WSAU