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DNR: Statewide buck harvest was up for opening weekend

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Deer hunt

A white-tailed deer forages for food in 2014. Snow cover this year, too, helped hunters kill 14% more deer during the opening weekend of this year's nine-day gun season.

The state Department of Natural Resources reported Tuesday that the opening weekend’s deer kill for the 2022 gun deer season topped the 2021 opening weekend deer kill.

In total, 102,347 deer were registered statewide during the opening weekend, compared to the 85,860 registered for the same period in 2021. This is a 15% increase over 2021 and is on par with the average opening weekend harvest.

A total of 55,503 bucks were registered on opening weekend, compared to 47,529 in 2021. This is a 14% increase over 2021 and is 2% above the five-year average.

Following are the opening weekend’s deer kill numbers for the 12-county region in west-central Wisconsin:

  • Barron: 1,066 antlered and 1,090 antlerless for a total of 2,156.
  • Buffalo: 744 antlered and 960 antlerless for a total of 1,704.
  • Chippewa: 977 antlered and 934 antlerless for a total of 1,911.
  • Clark: 1,651 antlered and 1,625 antlerless for a total of 3,276.
  • Dunn: 1,215 antlered and 1,332 antlerless for a total of 2,547.
  • Eau Claire: 669 antlered and 578 antlerless for a total of 1,247.
  • Jackson: 1,243 antlered and 880 antlerless for a total of 2,123.
  • Pepin: 361 antlered and 430 antlerless for a total of 791.
  • Pierce: 595 antlered and 715 antlerless for a total of 1,310.
  • St. Croix: 519 antlered and 571 antlerless for a total of 1,090.
  • Trempealeau: 1,040 antlered and 1,259 antlerless for a total of 2,299.
  • Rusk: 908 antlered and 634 antlerless for a total of 1,542.

Preliminary figures indicate that the number of deer hunters in Wisconsin decreased compared to 2021.

As of midnight Sunday, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports and patron licenses reached 779,123. Of that total, 421,474 were for gun privileges only. The year-to-date sales for all deer licenses are down 2% from the same time last year.

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The number of conservation patron licenses sold to date in 2022 is 2.2% higher than all conservation patron licenses sold in 2021.

Of the total licenses sold, 62% were sold online, and 38% were sold in-person by DNR license agents and DNR service centers, which includes private businesses across the state.

The DNR reports six firearm-involved hunting incidents during the opening weekend of the 2022 gun deer season. One fatality was reported.

A 22-year-old man received a gunshot wound to the thigh in Sauk County. A 69-year-old woman received a gunshot wound to the thigh in Marquette County. A 24-year-old man received a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the foot in Oneida County. A 15-year-old male received a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the foot in Iowa County. A 33-year-old man received a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his little finger in Forest County.

In Green Lake County on Sunday, 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 to a hospital where he died. The shooter and victim were members of same hunting party.

Wisconsin’s 10-year average is approximately six hunting incidents for the gun deer hunt.

On this episode of Newsmakers, WisconsinEye Host Lisa Pugh interviewed Jeff Pritzl, Deer Program Specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. We are heading into that sacred time of year again - you guessed it, gun deer season in Wisconsin! The event contributes an estimated $1 billion to the economy. It kicks off November 19th - bow hunting is already underway. Deer harvest numbers had been down last year, particularly in some regions and Chronic Wasting Disease remains prevalent. We asked Mr. Pritzl what to expect in the 2022 season, what’s new this year, and his tips for hunters.

Watch the full program: https://wiseye.org/2022/10/31/newsmakers-previewing-wisconsins-2022-gun-deer-season-in-wisconsin/

Subscribe to the Morning Minute newsletter: https://wiseye.org/newsletters

Donate to WisEye: https://wiseye.org/donate

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This is the moment a hidden camera trap caught a happy deer jumping around in a muddy puddle.

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