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Parts of Northeast Wisconsin see increased deer harvest numbers as statewide percentage drops

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 8:18 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin’s annual nine-day gun-deer season has now crossed the halfway point, and as Action 2 News reported Tuesday, harvest numbers from opening weekend showed a 14% drop statewide compared to last year.

Now, we’re getting a closer look at how hunters have fared so far in Northeast Wisconsin - who seem to have bucked the trend.

The deer harvest in the Forest Zone of Marinette County soared 55% - as well as 42% in Oconto County.

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DNR officials say one reason for the spike could be reduced concerns about the pandemic.

“It seemed last year in the Northeast counties there might have been more of an effect of people staying home because of the pandemic considerations and so we may have seen, that might be measuring a return of some people that decided to go north,” said Jeff Pritzl, a DNR deer program specialist.

It could also be part of the reason the area’s more southern counties had fewer deer taken.

While the statewide harvest for opening weekend fell, Brown, Calumet, Fond du Lac, Kewaunee, Sheboygan and Shawano Counties were all at least 20% down from last year.

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Pritzl says the weather, and the way more people are hunting - likely played a role as well.

“That’s one of the things that’s really kind of evolved with the gun season, is the tendency for hunters to hunt stationary, so we’re much more dependent on natural deer movement and if it’s a situation where the deer just aren’t moving naturally, we’re not going to see as many,” said Pritzl. “Sunday, the weather deteriorated so it’s not a big surprise.”

With more hunters participating in archery and crossbow season than ever before - and many late season hunting opportunities still to come - Pritzl says opening weekend of firearm season doesn’t quite carry the same weight it used to.

“It’s probably best to just wait until everything is done, add it all up, and then we can talk about potential variables that influenced the harvest this past weekend,” says Pritzl.

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