Gun deer season harvest down 14% from last year

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 5:24 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Nearly halfway into the 170th gun deer hunt deer license sales are down 1.5%. The DNR said more hunters are taking part in archery and crossbow hunting. Overall, deer registration is low.

“Antlered and antlerless registration is down about 14% overall,” said Eric Lobner, DNR Wildlife Management Program Director.

That’s not the case for out-of-state hunters.

“Wisconsin continues to be a key destination location. We did see an increase in the number of non-resident licenses this year,” said Lobner.

There was a 3.8% increase in non-resident hunters. That’s about 2,000 people.

Jeffery Pritzl, DNR Deer Program Specialist said he received a lot of comments from hunters that the deer activity was low on opening day despite the good weather conditions.

“One of the trends we’ve seen with gun season is that as more hunters’ strategy is to be stationary, we don’t move deer in our own activity so we’re more reliant on natural deer movement,” said Pritzl.

Captain April Dombrowski, DNR Recreational Safety and Outdoor Skills Section Chief, said there were three gun-related injuries last so far in the 2021 season.

Two were in Wisconsin Rapids and one was in Waukesha. Thankfully Nobody was killed.

In one Door County incident, a 40-year old male shot his left pinky. In the other Door County incident, a 10-year-old was shot by a 45-year-old when attempting to unload a gun. The Waukesha county incident involved a 30-year-old male who shot his leg.

The average amount of injuries during gun deer season is 6 incidents.

Dombrowski urged safety for the rest of the season.

“Remember the four rules of firearm safety related to TABK. Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded. Always point your mussel in a safe direction. Be certain of your target, what’s in front of it and beyond it. And keeping your finger outside of that trigger guard until you’re ready to shoot,” said Dombrowski.

Another concern this season was the potential for hunters to catch COVID-19 from deer.

“We have no evidence that people can get Covid-19 from eating food or consuming meat, including wild game meat,” said Rachel Klos, DHS Vectorborne Diseases Epidemiology Section Manager.

DHS still advises following safety guidelines which you can find here. You can also find more 2021 gun-deer season data and safety information here.

The season runs through November 28th. Then the statewide muzzleloader season takes place Nov. 29th through December 8th. After that is the four-day antler-less only season.

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