(WFRV) – The coronavirus pandemic has caused a number of events and traditions to be canceled or altered, but it has had a positive impact on Wisconsin’s gun deer season.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says preliminary figures show the number of deer hunters has increased compared to the same period for both 2019 and 2018.
As of midnight Monday, Nov. 23, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports, and patron licenses reached 810,233. Of that total, 559,591 were for gun privileges only, including gun, patron, and sports licenses. The year-to-date sales for all deer licenses are up 3.2% from the same time last year.
More deer have been harvested and registered this year during opening weekend than during 2019’s opening weekend.
In total, 95,257 deer were harvested by gun and registered statewide over the weekend. In 2019, 93,155 deer were harvested and registered over the weekend. This year, 49,025 bucks were registered for opening weekend compared to 48,252 last year.
Leading up to the nine-day season, harvest numbers for the archery and crossbow seasons show hunters are choosing to get out during that season and harvest deer as buck harvest was up 17% and antlerless harvest is up 17.5% statewide.
The DNR says that preliminary registration figures in northern and central forests showed a dip in harvest totals while the farmland zones saw an increase.
The DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement reports four firearm-involved hunting incidents occurred during opening weekend, including a West Bend man that shot and killed himself in Door County after tripping while exiting his blind, causing his firearm to discharge into his chest.
Other incidents include:
- Washburn County: On Nov. 21, 2020, at approximately 11:30 a.m., a 62-year-old male victim was struck in the upper arm and face by a rifle round. The 19-year-old shooter and victim were participating in a deer drive together. The victim was taken by helicopter for medical treatment.
- Saint Croix County: On Nov. 21, 2020, at approximately 2:55 p.m., a 14-year-old male victim was struck in the left leg by a shotgun slug. The 27-year-old shooter and the victim were participating in a deer drive together. The victim was taken to a hospital, treated, and released.
- Adams County: On Nov. 22, 2020, at approximately 1:00 p.m., the 40-year-old male shooter/victim was working the action of his pistol when it discharged into his left hand. The victim was treated at a local hospital.
To learn more about the hunting season in Wisconsin, visit the DNR website here.