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Hunters Kill 17.6 Percent Fewer Deer During the Gun Deer Season
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 11/29/2023

State wildlife regulators said hunters killed around 17.6 percent fewer deer compared to last year. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources cited a lack of snow and last year's harsh winter as factors reducing hunter success, especially in northern Wisconsin.

Hunters registered 173,942 deer over the nine-day gun deer season, including 85,390 bucks and 88,552 antlerless deer, according to preliminary DNR figures. That's down from last year's season, when 211,214 deer were killed. The overall harvest was down around 11.1 percent from the five-year average.

"We shared before the deer gun season that we did anticipate not meeting last year's harvest numbers due to that snow factor," said Jeff Pritzl, DNR state deer program specialist.

The season started Nov. 18 and ended Sunday.

Hunters harvested fewer deer across all regions statewide. The DNR said last year’s extreme snowfall likely contributed to a reduced harvest in northern Wisconsin. The northern forested region saw the largest drop with hunters killing around 30 percent fewer deer than last year.

"One thing we have to acknowledge is that impact that we had last winter, especially for the northern forest – and even the northwest part of the central farmland – certainly had an impact on deer populations," Pritzl said. "At least in that part of the state, there were probably fewer deer on the landscape than there were last year at this time."

In central forest and farmland areas, hunters bagged about 19.6 percent and 17.3 percent fewer deer respectively than last year. In the southern farmland region, hunters killed 7.1 percent fewer deer.

Overall, the DNR sold 0.8 percent fewer licenses to date. Hunters have purchased 788,697 licenses this year, including 553,479 licenses that permit use of a firearm. That was down from the 554,898 licenses sold for gun privileges last year.


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