Wisconsin DNR reminds people to be conscious of safety as gun deer season kicks off

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 7:14 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -Gun deer season kicks off Saturday in the Badger State, and with the use of firearms and lower than average temperatures the Wisconsin DNR wants everyone to keep safety in mind.

The snow and below freezing conditions is what Kris Johansen with the Wisconsin DNR said makes hunting season exciting.

“I know as a hunter myself.... you hear of dreaming of a white Christmas, I always dream of a white deer season,” said Johansen.

He said as hunters head out tomorrow, it is important to first keep in mind the fundamentals of gun safety.

“First of all, with hunters that are out there with firearms, follow those four primary firearm safety rules,” said Johansen. “Treat every fire arm as if it’s loaded, always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, be sure of your target and what’s beyond it and keeping your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.”

Johansen also wants hunters to keep the weather in mind.

“It’s cold. There’s gonna be snow on ladders, there’s gonna be snow on tree stands and those types of things. It’s important for hunters to take a little extra time and be cognizant of that,” said Johansen.

In some part of the region, like Eau Claire and Dunn County where some deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, it is recommended but not mandatory to test the deer.

“Chronic wasting disease testing is not mandatory but we do highly encourage it,” said Johansen. “We have self-serve kiosks where hunters can come out and fill out the paper work and do it themselves and drop the head off.”

It’s tradition, but the gun deer hunting season also brings in quite the economic impact to Wisconsin.

“It’s really significant economically. Deer hunting in Wisconsin is over a billion dollar industry,” said Joahnsen.

And one business that benefits from the economic impact is the Fleet Farm.

“Sales have been great. This morning we had about 300 people lined up before 6 o’clock,” said Ty Parker, who works customer service at the Fleet Farm in Eau Claire.

“Pretty much the whole line ran from the front door all the way to the edge of the building.

Parker says heat producing products have been flying off the shelves.

“Hand warmers have been the number one, because it’s supposed to be pretty cold this weekend, so hand warmers are going out the door pretty quick.”

In the end, Johansen said it’s all about fun this gun deer season.

“I just hope that everyone will just enjoys themselves, being with their family and being with their friends. And being able to get out there and experience that in a beautiful setting here in Wisconsin.

“At the end of the day if we could all come home without any injuries, that’s really the main focus, safety, throughout this week.”

The Wisconsin DNR is running a deer donation program, with 54 processors across the state.

In 2021, Eau Claire county donated 49 deer. That translates to 1,960 pounds of venison.

The Wisconsin DNR says the 9-day gun deer season is where they see the most donations. All donations must be tested before processing.