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DNR: Almost 100,000 deer harvested on opening weekend of gun-deer season

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 12:48 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Deer hunters had a very successful opening weekend for the gun-deer season.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced 95,257 deer were harvested and registered, including 49,025 bucks. That’s about 2,000 more deer and 800 more bucks than the opening weekend in 2019.

Hunters were having success even before the start of the gun-deer season. The DNR says archery and crossbow harvests are up about 17% statewide.

The numbers were lower than 2019 in northern and central Wisconsin. The DNR is hopeful light snow predicted this week will improve conditions for tracking and hunting deer in those regions.

The number of deer hunters grew from last year. Through midnight Saturday, 810,233 gun, bow, crossbow, sports and patron licenses were sold -- 3.2% more than last year. There were 559,591 licenses specifically for gun privileges.

License sales for female hunters was up 9% from last year, nearing 90,000 licenses.

The DNR says the number of licenses bought by hunters from outside the state declined. The DNR suspects the pandemic is to blame.

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.

There were four hunting accidents involving firearms over the weekend, including one fatality when a deer hunter on Washington Island apparently tripped and shot himself in the chest Sunday evening (see related story). Saturday, a 62-year-old hunter in Washburn County and a 14-year-old boy in St. Croix County were shot and wounded while participating in deer drives. In Adams County, a 40-year-old man shot himself in the hand while working the action of his pistol, according to the DNR.

The gun-deer season runs through November 29.

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