Warmer start to gun deer season

Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 5:24 PM CST
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ELEVA, Wis. (WEAU) - Gun deer hunting season kicked off yesterday so you may be seeing spots of bright orange and pink in the woods throughout Wisconsin.

So far, hunters have experienced warmer than typical weather. Becker’s Processing in Eleva says due to the warmer than typical weather, they’ve had more deer through their doors on opening weekend this year.

“Weather gets a deer here in a hurry,” owner of Becker’s Processing Jeff Becker says. " Last year we took in 50 deer opening day. Yesterday, we took in 80.”

For two employees, the second day of processing has been hectic for them.

“Busy, very, very crazy busy,” Jana Tucker describes it.

“We’re over 100 deer for the weekend and that number will only climb,” Nancy Bartholomew says.

The processor expects to be getting even more deer early on in the nine day gun season.

“52 (degrees) is not a good friend for us, we like (the) thirties,” Becker says. “When it’s cold out, they (the hunters) hang on to (the deer) longer. They can put them in their garage or put them in their truck, and it doesn’t hurt the meat. But when it’s warm weather, they gotta do something. Nobody’s got the cooler space like a processor does.”

Deer hunter Chris Hazen describes a similar concern when hunting in regards to warmer weather.

“Generally, the deer don’t like to move a whole lot when it’s warm,” Hazen says. “I’m playing the watching game right now, waiting for one of the bigger ones to come running out.”

Another hunter had better luck and already harvested a 12-point deer.

“I’ve been hunting for 57 years and (it’s) by far the biggest deer I have ever shot,” says deer hunter Glenn Ebersold.

Although, what’s enjoyable for hunters is beyond the adrenaline rush of harvesting a big buck.

“A lot of (it) has to do with being with family and friends. It’s nice getting a deer, but just the camaraderie and the bonding is a great experience,” Ebersold says. “I think it’s a great way to do something that maybe they don’t normally do as much (with) electronics nowadays and screen time and here you’re out in the woods and just enjoying nature.”

Hazen echoes similar thoughts and wishes hunters a successful season.

“Good luck to everybody, shoot straight and hope the big one walks through.”

Wisconsin DNR reported in a press release it’s unlikely this season will match last year’s harvest as in 2022 snow covered much of the state. All harvested deer must be registered electronically by 5 p.m. the day after the deer is recovered.

Hunters have three options to register their deer: