Wisconsin nine-day deer kill down 6 percent
Posted November 29
MADISON, Wis. — Hunters killed nearly 197,000 deer during Wisconsin's traditional nine-day gun season this month, down 6 percent from last year's harvest, according to preliminary estimates the Department of Natural Resources released Tuesday.
The data show hunters killed 196,785 deer statewide during the season, down from 198,057 last year. If the data holds, 2016 would go down as the second-lowest harvest for the nine-day season since 2007. The smallest nine-day harvest during that span came in 2014, when hunters took 193,405 deer. The largest harvest was in 2007, when hunters killed 350,027 deer.
The DNR reported it had sold 598,867 gun deer licenses through the end of the nine-day season on Sunday. That's down about 13,510 licenses from the same point last year. The DNR offers a number of other gun deer seasons besides the nine-day, but the numbers suggest thousands fewer hunters took to the woods during this year's nine-day season than last year. Opening day was marred by cold temperatures, rain and gusty winds, which may have discouraged some hunters from heading out or forced them to go home early.
DNR officials were still holding out hope that the harvest might match 2015. Big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang said in an email that he expects the kill total to climb as hunters who failed to meet the Sunday deadline for registering their animals report in. He said the agency will assess the deer harvest when all the hunting seasons are over.
There was some encouraging news for hunters.
They killed more bucks this year than in 2015, taking 97,892 compared with 92,610 last year. The northern forest management zone, where herds have been struggling to rebound after harsh winters, was the only region where hunters killed more deer than last year, taking 32,400 deer compared with 25,444 in 2015. Those numbers suggest the herd has regenerated.
The agency issued a news release saying wardens are investigating five non-fatal hunting incidents in Waukesha, Oconto, Ozaukee and Taylor counties.
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