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Deer Hunt Totals Off From 2018 DNR Tells NRB

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Fewer deer were harvested last November during the nine-day deer hunt but other seasons showed an increase in the number of deer taken.

Preliminary numbers show roughly 288,000 deer taken across 7 seasons, a 14 percent drop from 2018.

At the state Natural Resources Board meeting Tuesday, DNR Big Game Section Chief Bob Nack showed the 9-day gun season was off 24 percent from 2018...

"..This year was the latest year we could hold firearm season. And it's on the heels of 2018 when it was the earliest year we could hold the season."

Nack showed when there's a season pattern like that the later season historically has had fewer deer than a season the year before with the earlier hunt. He says the later season this year meant the deer were past the rut when they are more vulnerable. The bow, crossbow, muzzleloader and holiday hunt all had an increase in deer, while the gun hunt, youth and December antlerless all had fewer deer taken than the year before.

Registrations were down about 12,000 from last year at 794,000 but spokesperson Mark Rappe said many gun-deer registrations came at the last minute...

"...almost 102,000 license sales on the Friday before(the opening). We continue to remind people to purchase early to get your stuff, and people continue to wait and delay longer and longer and longer..."

Most of the hunters came from Wisconsin and the Midwest, but hunters from states as far away as California and Florida registered. There were no deaths from gunshot, with four non-fatal incidents, including one in Oneida county. New DNR Chief Warden Casey Krueger...

"By and large a very safe season when you're talking about the amount of people out on the landscape at one particular time, especially condensed into that opening weekend...."

Reports indicated the numbers of CWD-infected deer are growing, especially in southern Wisconsin farmland.

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