Deer harvest numbers up from 2014

This year’s preliminary nine-day gun deer hunt registration figures for Wisconsin indicate a total of 201,812 deer harvested during the nine-day season (Nov. 21-29), compared to 199,583 in 2014.

Since this is the first year using the GameReg system, department staff are verifying this preliminary data to make sure it is correct. It is possible that this number may change slightly following additional evaluation.

“I’m pleased to see an increase [of 1.12 percent] in deer harvest numbers from last year,” said Bob Nack, Department of Natural Resources big-game section chief.

“Hunters experienced varying levels of success throughout the state and had an enjoyable time with family and friends.”

In Sheboygan County, 2,069 deer (782 antlered and 1,287 antlerless) were harvested during the 2015 nine-day gun season. The overall total is a 5.62-percent increase over the 2014 total of 1,959 (713 antlered and 1,162 antlerless).

In 2015, preliminary nine-day harvest numbers were collected through the GameReg system. Hunters were required to register their deer by 5 p.m. the day after harvest, as opposed to 5 p.m. the day after the nine-day season closed in years past.

DNR customer service staff received positive feedback from hunters throughout the nine-day season as they learned to use the new system. Hunters who forgot to register their deer are required to do so, even if beyond the 5 p.m. daily deadline.

In 2015, 612,377 gun deer licenses were sold through the end of the nine-day gun deer season, compared to 608,711 in 2014. In total, 849,778 gun, archery and crossbow licenses (not including upgrades) licenses have been sold through the end of the nine-day gun deer season, compared to 835,583 (not including upgrades) in 2014.

Through the end of the nine-day season, 23,870 first-time hunters (or those who have not hunted in the last 10 years) have taken advantage of the first-time gun deer buyer license, compared to 17,644 archery hunters.

DNR investigated eight hunting incidents during the nine-day gun deer season: five nonfatal (in Rock, Marathon, Jackson, Polk and Manitowoc counties) and three fatal (in Columbia, Waushara and Marathon counties).

The department expresses sincere condolences to the family and friends of the victims of these tragic incidents. However, the trend of hunting incidents continues to go down.

The lower number of hunting incidents is a result of safer hunters, hunter education, the volunteer instructor corps and outreach efforts covering four rules of firearm safety, blaze orange clothing, tree-stand safety practices, and hunters planning their hunt and hunting their plan.

More than 600,000 gun-deer hunting licenses were sold this past season, with those hunters venturing to the field to enjoy a great tradition in Wisconsin. They included nonresident, resident and mentor hunters.

Eight hunting incidents resulted in 1.31 incidents per 100,000 hunters. Wisconsin’s 10-year average is 1.36 incidents per 100,000 hunters.

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