Deer numbers up ahead of Wisconsin’s gun deer season

Wisconsin's annual nine-day gun deer season opens this weekend.
Wisconsin's annual nine-day gun deer season opens this weekend.(WRDW)
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 3:24 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2021 at 7:06 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - In just a few days, Wisconsin’s woods and fields will be filled with blaze orange.

When roughly 600,000 hunters head to the woods Saturday for the start of the nine-day gun deer season, they’ll be greeted by weather conditions, that while maybe not ideal, won’t be too bad.

“We hope for that white background, it looks like opening weekend it’s going to be brown and maybe a little bit on the warm side, but if it’s relatively calm and crisp in the morning, we’ll take it,” says DNR Deer Program Specialist Jeff Pritzl.

And according to Pritzl, signs point to more deer on the landscape at which hunters can take aim.

“In general our deer numbers coming out of last year are trending upward due to the mild winter we had last year across the state and our harvest figures last year indicated population growth,” explains Pritzl.

After a three-percent bump in license sales last year, attributed to the pandemic, Pritzl says sales this year are about one-percent off that pace.

But retaining a two-percent growth from previous years, further adds to the impact deer hunting generates and offers.

“There’s a lot of discussion about the benefits of the deer season as it relates to the economy of the state, and to the deer resource itself and the funds that are generated for conservation work, but one of the other things and I think that’s what people are really seeking is the personal health and wellness benefits of just getting outside, reconnecting with nature and each other in a safe environment and a growing interest in procuring their own food from start to finish,” says Pritzl.

And even though half of the deer hunting population now participates in the archery and crossbow season as well, the majority of deer harvested occurs over the upcoming nine days.

“The gun season is still king and we’re going to take between half to two-thirds of the deer in the whole year in a very short window of time here,” says Pritzl.

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