Hunters register 312,519 deer over nine-day season
MADISON – A preliminary total of 312,519 deer were registered by hunters at the close of Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season. Hunters registered a preliminary 303,162 deer during the same period in 2004.
“A number of factors came together nicely for this year’s hunt making it a memorable one,” said Keith Warnke, DNR deer ecologist. “The rut was still on, there was snow on the ground in many areas, the corn harvest was ahead of schedule and in general, weather was good on opening day.
“The increase in this preliminary harvest count makes this a pretty good hunt in terms of statewide herd management,” he said, “but as for what impact this will have on individual deer management units, we won’t have a picture at that level of detail until we have final harvest figures for all seasons. It’s clear that some units had good antlerless harvests and can expect movement toward population goals while others can be expected to see population growth due to weaker than desired antlerless harvests.”
It’s not too late for hunters to make an impact on unit population numbers, according to Warnke. The late Zone T antlerless deer only hunt is coming up Dec. 8-11 in selected units south of Highway 8. Not only can hunters add meat to the freezer or donate it to the food pantry program, this is one of the last chances to prequalify for a buck harvest authorization for the 2006 season in units that are on the watch list for Earn-a-Buck in 2006.
“EAB is a possibility next year in many units statewide,” says Warnke. “Hunters have asked DNR to make it easier to qualify for EAB and we have. You can pre-qualify by killing an antlerless deer in a watch unit this year, including CWD units. There are four days of gun hunting remaining to do that.”
Wildlife officials remind hunters and citizens that the muzzleloader gun deer season opened Nov. 28 and runs through Dec. 7. The late archery season also opened Nov 28 and runs through Jan. 3. The late Zone T antlerless deer hunt will take place Dec. 8-11 in selected deer management units south of Hwy. 8.
Three hunters died and 10 others suffered injuries as a result of hunting accidents during the nine-day gun deer hunt.
The department tracks deaths and injuries from firearm accidents only. The data reported does not include falls from tree stands, heart attacks and other potential causes of injury or death people may experience while hunting.
Hunting license sales totaled 641,771 through the end of the nine-day hunt compared to the 2004 total of 649,955 according to Diane Brookbank, director of the DNR customer service and licensing bureau.
Statewide as of Nov 29, approximately 18,377 heads had been sampled for CWD testing. With tests complete on 5,538 of those heads 20 new CWD positive deer have been identified bringing the statewide all time total to 80,837 deer tested and 490 positives. Updated collection and testing figures are expected daily as laboratory and data entry workers catch up on the heavy flow of sample deliveries produced by the hunt. Information is posted on the CWD pages of the DNR Web site.
Deer registration numbers broken down by DNR Regions and by county are available in portable document format on the DNR Web site.
One of the best ways to scout your hunting area is to look for signs that mature animals leave behind. Wallows, scrapes, rubs and areas littered with tracks are great evidence that game are using your area. But why not look for the single piece of evidence that you are hunting for when fall rolls around anyway... antlers. Game animals in the family cervidae shed their antlers annually. Why not use these unique souvenirs as a way of helping you fill your tag next fall?
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