Hunters harvested 15% more deer in opening weekend than in opening weekend 2021

Hunters embrace winter weather conditions on day one of gun deer season
Hunters embrace winter weather conditions on day one of gun deer season(WMTV)
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 12:35 PM CST
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(WBAY/WSAW) - Hunters registered 103,623 on opening weekend, compared to 85,860 registered for the same period in 2021. That’s up 15%.

Hunters also bagged more bucks this opening weekend. A total of 56,638 bucks were registered in comparison to 47,529 bucks in the opening weekend of 2021. That’s a 14% increase from 2021 and a 2% increase from the 5-year average.

The number of deer hunters in Wisconsin is down this year compared to 2021. As of midnight on Nov. 20, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports, and patron licenses were at 779,123. Of that total, 421,474 were for guns only. Sales are also down 2% from this time in 2021.

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“Conditions for the opening weekend this year included some snow cover but were cold with high winds, particularly on Saturday, which suppressed some hunter activity. Conditions improved slightly on Sunday, but wind chill was still a factor in some parts of the state,” reads a statement from the DNR. “Despite the challenging conditions, hunters saw good deer movement overall, with some evidence of bucks still showing breeding behavior.”

“Throughout the state, warming temperatures during the week will likely lead to a loss of the snow cover in parts of the state. Where it doesn’t melt completely, it will result in crunchy conditions from daytime melting and refreezing at night. Beyond the potential for rain on Thanksgiving Day, conditions should be great for hunting during the remainder of the gun deer season.”

The gun deer hunt goes through Nov. 27.

OPENING WEEKEND INCIDENTS

  • Sauk County, Woodland Township: On Nov. 19 a 22-year-old man was the victim of a gunshot wound to the thigh. During a deer drive, a 20-year-old male shooter, who was a driver in the hunting party, shot at a running deer, striking the victim, who was a stander in the hunting party. The victim was transported to the hospital and treated.
  • Marquette County, Mecan Township: On Nov. 19 while in a ground blind in a field, a 69-year-old woman was the victim of a gunshot wound to the thigh. A 16-year-old male shooter was hunting from his ground blind in an open field, separated by a pond from the victim, when he shot at a deer, striking the victim. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital and treated. The shooter and victim were members of same hunting party.
  • Oneida County, Little Rice Township: On Nov. 19, a 24-year-old man suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the foot. The victim was repairing his rifle sling when his hand froze to the firearm. As he pulled his hand off the firearm, he hit the trigger, causing an unwanted discharge. The victim received medical treatment for the injury.
  • Iowa County, Mifflin Township: On Nov. 19 at the close of hunting hours, a 15-year-old male suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the foot. The victim was unloading his firearm while sitting in the passenger seat of a truck when the firearm discharged. The victim was transported to a local hospital and treated.
  • Green Lake County, Seneca Township: On Nov. 20 an 11-year-old male was the victim of a gunshot wound to the chest. A 41-year-old male shooter attempted to unload his firearm while the firearm was placed in the backseat of a vehicle. The firearm discharged, striking the victim. The victim was flown via Med Flight to a hospital where he died. The shooter and victim were members of same hunting party.
  • Forest County, Town of Hiles: On Nov. 20 in the afternoon hours, a 33-year-old male suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his little finger. The victim was manipulating his handgun when it discharged. The victim was treated for the injury.