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Statewide harvest numbers down during gun deer hunt opening weekend, up in the Northwoods

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Preliminary numbers from this opening weekend of the nine-day gun deer season shows mixed success across the state.

License sales are down slightly from last year. The Wisconsin DNR did see an increase of nearly four percent in people from out of state buying licenses.

Overall, deer harvest is down about 14% from opening weekend last year.

The decline is mostly in the farmlands.

Harvest in the Northern Forest Zone which includes counties north of Highway 64 is up 9% from last year, but still down 17% from the 5-year average.

“We may have seen a bit of return to the north. Some people that may have taken a year off last year,” said Jeff Pritzl, DNR Deer Program Specialist. “Again, from a population standpoint, the Northern Forest herd went through a mild winter last year.”

Pritzl doesn’t believe the ammo shortage is making an impact in deer harvest totals.

He says weather is a more likely factor.

Saturday was a warm day where hunters could sit in their stands all day, but there was no snow on the ground, making it harder to see deer.

Snow returned in the Northwoods Sunday, but so did the cold.

Looking to the rest of the week, Pritzl says it’s hard to say how much success hunters will see.

“I think, unfortunately, we’re going to lose the snow that we have up north, but it’s relatively cool and it’s dry access should be good. Keep in mind that the season is still young so to speak. Opportunities will continue to abound,” he said.

Three people have been injured in gun-related incidents.

Two of the wounds were from hunters accidentally shooting themselves.

The gun deer season ends Sunday.

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