It was a cold, windy opening day for gun deer hunters across Wisconsin Saturday, with the weather improving somewhat on Sunday.
According to preliminary figures from the Wisconsin DNR, the statewide opening weekend harvest was down from last year, but was up in the north central part of the state. The statewide deer harvest for opening day this year totaled 114,472 animals, including 63,700 bucks and 50,772 antlerless deer. Last year, hunters registered 120,276 deer shot on opening day, including 62,903 bucks and 57,373 antlerless.
Opening day tallies were down in all zones except for the Northern Forest, which includes Lincoln County. Northern Forest counties accounted for 19,335 deer harvested, compared to 15,274 last year.
In Lincoln County, hunters registered 822 bucks and 196 antlerless deer on opening day for a total of 1,018 animals. Last year, opening day saw 882 deer shot in Lincoln County, including 656 bucks and 226 antlerless.
As of last Friday, gun deer license sales were down from a year ago. According to the Wisconsin DNR, 591,783 licenses were sold by the day before the 2015 season opened. In 2016, that number was 575,363.