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Deer hunting during the pandemic

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 2:57 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - One of Wisconsin’s most storied traditions is set to resume this weekend when hundreds of thousands of deer hunters head for the woods.

An adaptive venture by nature, hunters know all about dealing with the elements.

But this year, there’s a new challenge, a pandemic to consider.

And that means many traditional deer camps won’t look the same.

“The Covid safety guidance that applies to everything in our life applies to deer hunting as well, the considerations we’re taking in for Thanksgiving, which really affects everybody, is the same for the whole week for deer hunters,” says Jeff Pritzl, DNR District Wildlife Supervisor.

With fewer hunters likely heading north, and instead staying closer to home, hunters may have some company in the woods.

“That is something to keep note of for everybody that hunts on public land, this is the year you may encounter, you may have your spot that you’ve always kind of had to yourself on public land, there very well may be people this year that are visiting that property for the first time,” says Pritzl, while also encouraging hunters to be respectful towards each other.

Like other outdoor activities have seen since Covid-19 arrived on the scene, interest in hunting is up.

For the first time in years, license sales are up, 10-percent over last year at this time.

What that means for the deer harvest though, is a little tricky to project.

“Speculating on a forecast of what’s going to happen might just not be worth doing because it’s going to be hard to see how this plays out,” says Pritzl.

What is encouraged of every hunter is to be safe and healthy during the nine day gun season.

“Come out of this on the back end of not having added to the burden that everybody is facing with our medical facilities and we don’t want deer hunting to add to that,” says Pritzl.

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