GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – For hunters across Wisconsin, today is like Christmas Eve as Orange Friday marks the eve of gun deer hunting season.
Plenty will be stocking up on all the hunting necessities before they head out to camp, with Green Bay East Fleet Farm being one of those stops. It will surely be hunter’s paradise at Fleet Farms across the state as hundreds of hunters are expected to make pit stops.
Fleet Farm started Orange Friday in 2012 as a day to help hunters prepare to get into the woods early the next morning, fully equipped for a successful hunt. Stores invite DNR officials to locations as well so as to help on the busy day.
The opener is a big deal in Wisconsin, to say the very least. All Fleet Farm stores are expected to be busy– that’s why they have doorbuster deals throughout the day on the items hunters most seek (handwarmers, muffs, propane tanks, orange gear) set up with special displays in the aisles. The first 500 customers through the doors will receive a limited-edition Fleet Farm “Orange Friday” blaze orange hat.
“Well it’s Orange Friday, gotta come for Orange Friday and be with everyone else,” says Dan Delebreau from Denmark. “Like one guy says, it’s like a tradition here now.”
Deer hunters by the hundreds gathered at Green Bay East Fleet Farm for door buster deals. From bibs to ammo, shoppers sought shelves for all of those hunting necessities. It has all of the excitement like Christmas Eve, but for hunters statewide.
“A lot of people are running through the aisles, a lot of people over in sporting goods just shopping everything that we’ve got,” said Eric Halverson, General Manager of Green Bay East Fleet Farm. “There’s times where you’ve got 10 or 15 people in the clothing area so the atmosphere is great.”
“The amount of hunters that go out is just astronomical compared to our archery season and they’re all out in the field at the same time during that entire 9-day week,” says Joshua Martinez, Wildlife Biologist with the Wisconsin DNR. “Of course, there’s getting less and less people participating over the entire week so, really, that first week- opening weekend- is the biggest push of deer hunters that we have on the landscape.”
And with so many hunters expected this year, hunting licenses will be flying off the shelves. That’s why DNR officials have staked out more than 20 store locations across the state.
“It only takes a matter of two to five minutes to really get your license and to go through, depending on what you’re adding all to it if you’re doing more than your deer license,” said Martinez. “But you can get in and out real quick, just make sure you have your driver’s license with you and that will get you started in the program real easy.”
“I start talking about it in July,” said Delebreau. “I bow hunt and I start getting things ready, start getting my cameras out already in July, working the land, doing different things. It’s almost year round now.”
Just like Christmas has its big man bringing toys, hopefully a big buck is in store for these hunters. Green Bay East Fleet Farm will be open until 9 p.m. Deer gun hunting season begins tomorrow and runs through December 1.