In 2015, 612,377 gun deer licenses were sold through the end of the nine-day gun deer season, compared to 608,711 in 2014. In total, 849,778 gun, archery and crossbow licenses (not including upgrades) licenses had been sold through the end of the nine-day gun deer season, compared to 835,583 (not including upgrades) in 2014.
Through the end of the nine-day season, 23,870 first-time hunters (or those who have not hunted in the last 10 years) had taken advantage of the first-time gun deer buyer license, compared to 17,644 archery hunters. Deer license and tag sales will continue throughout the remaining hunting seasons.
In Lincoln County, hunters registered 957 bucks and 483 anterless deer. The number of bucks was up slightly from the 955 registered in the 2014 hunt, while anterless numbers were up from the 233 registered last year. Lincoln County sold out of the 1,000 antlerless tags offered this year. Overall, the Lincoln County harvest was up by about 15 percent.
In Marathon County, the harvest numbers were about the same as last year with 8,014 animals registered compared to last year’s 8,005; bucks were up 2 percent while antlerless numbers were down .27 percent. In Langlade County, the overall harveset was down four percent with 1,309 deer registered, compared to last year’s 1,365. Oneida County was down 10 percent, with a 13 percent drop in bucks registered. Taylor County was up 45 percent overall. That county showed a nine percent increase in bucks registered and a 146 percent increase in antlerless deer (1,286 compared to last year’s 522). In Taylor County, all 3,525 available alterless tags sold.
Electronic registration was new this year and as with any new system, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conducted a thorough verification process to make sure everything was working properly. The system itself has worked well, but a number of inadvertent duplicate entries by hunters in the field were discovered. As a result, the deer registration count for the 2015 nine-day gun deer season currently stands at 201,812. System updates are in place to prevent any further duplicate entries.
DNR investigated eight hunting incidents during the nine-day gun deer season: five non-fatal (Rock, Marathon, Jackson, Polk and Manitowoc) and three fatal (Columbia, Waushara and Marathon).
The trend of hunting incidents continues to go down. This is a result of safer hunters, hunter education, the volunteer instructor corps and outreach efforts covering four rules of firearm safety, blaze orange clothing, treestand safety practices, and hunters planning their hunt and then hunting their plan.
More than 600,000 gun-deer hunting licenses were sold this season, with those hunters venturing to the field to enjoy a great tradition in Wisconsin. They included non-resident, resident and mentor hunters. Eight hunting incidents resulted in 1.31 incidents per 100,000 hunters. Wisconsin’s 10-year average is 1.36 incidents per 100,000 hunters.
“As long as every hunter remembers and practices the Four Firearm Safety rules, hunting can and will get safer,” said Jon King, DNR conservation warden and hunter education administrator.
Additional deer hunting opportunities continue through December
Hunters are reminded of additional opportunities to hunt deer in Wisconsin after the close of the nine-day season. This year’s muzzleloader season is currently open through Dec. 9, and the late archery season is open through Jan. 3, 2016. A four-day antlerless-only hunt will take place Dec. 10-13 – any legal firearm, crossbow or archery equipment may be used during this hunt. The holiday hunt will not be offered in 2015.
The gun deer season will remain open through Dec. 9 in metro sub-units, while archery hunting in these areas is open through Jan. 31.
Hunters asked to participate in online Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey
The Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey will remain active until all deer seasons have ended, and wildlife managers ask that hunters submit a report of what they saw during their time in the field. This information will provide valuable data used to improve population estimates for Wisconsin’s deer herd and other species.
County Deer Advisory Councils
As a reminder, those interested in providing important feedback regarding deer management are encouraged to participate in County Deer Advisory Councils. These councils use a number of resources, including deer population data, harvest data, public input and other information to provide recommendations regarding deer management in their county.
Additional information regarding CDAC recommendations, agendas and membership can be found at keyword “CDAC” – any additional questions can also be sent to DNRCDACWebMail@Wisconsin.gov.