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Less Deer Harvested During 2017 Gun Season
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 11/29/2017

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has released its preliminary harvest estimates from the recent nine-day gun-deer season, which wrapped up on Sunday. A survey of deer registration stations and online submissions from across the state show that an estimated 195,738 deer were bagged during the annual hunt. That's down from 197,262 killed last year and 198,057 harvested during the 2015 season.

The DNR says 98,364 hunters were successful in their pursuit of a buck, which was up one percent from last year. The agency will release its final harvest numbers later in the winter.

For the second straight year, the largest change in buck harvest occurred in the Northern Forest Zone after three consecutive mild winters and limited antlerless tags.

"Except for opening day in some areas, we had pretty good hunting conditions throughout the season," said DNR Game Ecologist Kevin Wallenfang. "Some magnificent bucks were taken, it was a safe hunt, and overall most hunters that I have talked to were pleased to see more deer than in recent years, especially in the northern forest counties."

This year, 588,387 gun deer licenses were sold online or through retail outlets, compared to 598,800 last year.

Meanwhile, the season had its share of mishaps. Conservation wardens say seven hunters were shot during gun-deer season, of which five of the incidents were self-inflicted and a sixth hunter was shot by someone within his own party. The seventh victim was hunting ducks in when a stray bullet struck him. None of the accidents were fatal during this year's gun-deer hunt.

And wildlife officials says there are still other opportunities to hunt deer this year. The muzzleloader hunt is already underway for hunters holding unused gun buck and antlerless deer tags. There is also a statewide antlerless deer hunt December 7-10.

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