Outdoor retailers are busy as hunters get ready to head into the woods in hopes of nabbing that big buck. The nine day gun deer hunt begins Saturday in Wisconsin.
The DNR says the day before the opener is usually the busiest in terms of license sales in the state, and it’s already sold 5,000 more licenses than this time last year. Also, there are some new rules to make note of this year. One of which hopes to get more people hunting, and for new and old hunters alike, they do have some advantages this year compared to others.
The biggest advantage for hunters is that this is the earliest possible start for the gun deer season. "The deer are still in the rut. They're still mating. So they're more active. They're moving around. They're less cautious. They've got other things on their mind, so that's a bonus for hunters," says Ed Culhane with the Wisconsin DNR. The deer won't have many places to hide this year. The corn fields are down and because of the drought...marsh areas are smaller. "That’s really good because those are terrific hiding places for deer."
Dave Olinger and his son both got a buck last year and they hope these advantages will mean another good year for their family tradition. "It's just a good time to get out and spend some time together. We just enjoy that part of the year," says Olinger.
There are some new rules this year. You can leave trail cameras out overnight. You can also switch it up over the 9 days and use a crossbow if you have a gun deer license. Culhane says more people will be hunting this year, especially, first timers thanks to a new policy.
"If you haven't bought a license before you get a deer license for $5, which is a steal! Also, if you haven't been hunting for 10 years, you then qualify. We're certainly trying to make every opportunity available to people to learn hunting and go hunting, and I think we're seeing a little bit of the results of that."
The largest group of new hunters is actually young women. Ed Culhane attributes part of that to the hunger games books and movie.