MADISON, Wisconsin — Hunters killed more than 90,000 deer during the opening weekend of Wisconsin's nine-day deer season, a drop of 18 percent from 2013, the state Department of Natural Resources said Monday.
Based on preliminary call-in numbers collected from registration stations, the DNR said 90,281 deer were registered over opening weekend. That compares with 110,797 deer killed during the opening two days of last year's season.
Many hunters described Saturday's conditions as ideal, with snow cover and comfortable temperatures, but rain and fog made for a quiet Sunday, the DNR said.
As expected, the statewide deer kill was down most significantly in the far northern counties. The DNR is trying to increase deer numbers in the north, so many counties have a buck-only restriction this year to help the herd rebuild.
"As we communicated throughout the past year, many factors influence deer numbers in the north that include severe winters, comparatively more large predators than in years past, land ownership patterns, and habitat issues to name a few," DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang said in a news release.
Hunters statewide registered 48,926 bucks, down 9 percent from opening weekend of 2013, and 41,355 antlerless deer, a drop of 27 percent, according to the DNR report.
The department's license sales office reported 589,830 gun deer licenses sold by midnight Friday, before the start of the season Saturday. Deer license and tag sales will continue through the hunting seasons.
About 22,000 new hunters have purchased licenses to deer hunt for the first time, or for the first time in 10 years. Female deer hunters continue to increase in number, and accounted for 35 percent of resident first-time gun deer licenses and 36 percent of resident first-time junior gun deer licenses, the DNR said.
No hunting-related incidents were reported during the first two days of the season, marking the second time in the last 10 years there were no hunting incidents investigated during opening weekend.
The season runs through Nov. 30.
Wisconsin DNR: http://www.dnr.wi.gov
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