Wednesday - November 22, 2017 2:07 am

Deer hunt down 12% on WI opening weekend

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La Crosse County saw 20% drop in deer registered

MADISON, Wis. — Hunters killed nearly 14,000 fewer deer during opening weekend of Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season this year than last.

That’s according to preliminary data the state Department of Natural Resources released Tuesday.

Hunters registered 102,903 deer from Saturday through Sunday compared with 116,615 deer during opening weekend in 2016. That’s a decrease of 11.8 percent.

La Crosse County hunters registered 20 percent fewer deer, while Monroe County saw a 17 percent drop. In Vernon County, which just recorded its first confirmed case of Chronic Wasting Disease, the number was down nearly 25 percent. 

The decreases come after changes to the state deer registration system. Hunters no longer have to tag deer when they're killed. The DNR had forecast higher harvest numbers for the opening weekend.  

The opening weekend buck kill also was down, from 64,828 last year to 59,142 this year.

The DNR said more than 582,800 hunters had purchased a license but didn’t offer a specific figure or clarify whether those licenses included archery licenses or licenses for other gun deer seasons.

Agency spokesman Andrew Savagian said he would check what licenses that number included but hadn’t provided any additional information.

Last modified on Wednesday - November 22, 2017 5:12 am
Associated Press

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