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Outdoors, Leisure, and Sports

Buck harvest up nearly 15% in Northern Forest Zone, statewide harvest totals down at the end of 9-day gun deer hunt

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Hunters in the Northwoods saw some success this year. The same can’t be said for much of the rest of the state.

The Wisconsin DNR says harvest numbers are down nearly 8% compared to last year’s gun-deer hunt.

Statewide buck harvest was down about 1%, while antlerless harvest was down 13%.

Each zone, expect the Northern Forest Zone, saw decreases in deer harvest numbers.

In the Northern Forest Zone, buck harvest was up nearly 15%. Within that zone Oneida County registered the most deer per square mile at 4.5.

Overall, DNR Deer Program Specialist Jeff Pritzl described this year’s hunt as quiet.

“Quiet can be taken both ways as it relates to being peaceful and smooth. A lot of the comments we got were people just enjoying certainly the opportunity to be outside. It was comfortable conditions, but quiet also in terms of, as Eric shared, harvest numbers, in most cases, didn’t match up to last year,” he said.

While harvest numbers are down, license sales didn’t drop of significantly.

All deer license sales are down about 1.5% compared to this same point last year.

DNR Wildlife Management Program Director Eric Lobner said the state did see increases in the number of patron and non-resident license sales.

“People from all around, every state in the Union and as well as around the world come to Wisconsin to deer hunt. That tradition continued for this year,” said Lobner.

In total, more than 175,667 deer were harvested during the 9-day gun deer hunt.

Hunting Accidents

Six people were shot, and one person died in hunting accidents this 9-day gun deer season. All but two of the incidents were self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

As WXPR reported last week, Iron County deputies responded to hunter accident in the town of Saxon. A 65-year-old man from Minnesota died.

Captain April Dombrowski is the DNR Recreational Safety and Outdoor Skills Section Chief.

“Another hunter, who was also age 65, that was basically moving and knocked over his firearm causing that firearm to hit the ground and discharge. Unfortunately, this victim was pronounced dead at the scene,” said Dombrowski.

Last year, there were nine shooting incidents and one death during the 9-day gun deer season.

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