DNR Reports Productive and Safe Opening Weekend
Although preliminary at this point, the Department of Natural Resources reports a relatively productive opening weekend of the 2014 Gun Deer Season.
By midnight on Friday November 21st, 589, 830 licenses had been sold, 22,000 being sold to first time hunters or those hunting for the first time in the last ten years. The number of female hunters accounted for 35% of first-time hunters this season.
This year marked the first year of testing an electronic registration system, which will be available to all hunters in 2015.
1,500 deer kills were reported by those selected to participate in the program this past weekend.
This afternoon, the Department reported a total of 90,281 deer harvested; based on preliminary call-in numbers collected from registration stations by DNR staff. As projected, harvest numbers were down in the far northern counties.
“As we communicated throughout the past year, many factors influence deer numbers in the north that include severe winters, comparatively more large predators than in years past, land ownership patterns, and habitat issues to name a few,” said DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang.
“We are attempting to increase deer numbers in the north, so many counties have a buck-only season framework this year which is intended to allow herd growth.”
Perhaps the best news of all this year is the zero number of reported hunting related accidents or injuries statewide. This is just the second time in ten years such a feat has been accomplished.
Chief warden Todd Schaller credits the state safety programs for the accomplishment.
“Wisconsin is dedicated to providing hunters a safe and enjoyable gun-deer season which starts with education” Schaller said. “There are thousands of hunter safety instructors who give their expertise to others of all ages who participate in this tradition and hunters who follow the safety points taught (TABK) – and another safe opening weekend reflects this key educational aspect.”
The 2014 Gun Deer season concludes Sunday at dusk.