MADISON – A survey of Wisconsin deer registration stations conducted by the state Department of Natural Resources has yielded a preliminary tally of 218,144 for the just-ended, nine-day November gun deer hunt, an 11 percent increase over the 2009 nine-day season. The opener was highlighted by good hunting conditions on opening day and no firearm-related fatalities for only the second time on record (see related news release).
Statewide, hunters registered 102,006 bucks (a 17 percent increase over 2009) and 116,138 antlerless deer (a nearly 7 percent increase over 2009). Gun deer license sales totaled 621,094 at the close of the hunt.
The nine-day harvest numbers are preliminary and are expected to change before a final report is published in late winter. It does not include harvest information from the archery, October antlerless gun deer hunt, muzzleloader, December antlerless deer gun hunt or late archery seasons. The preliminary nine-day gun harvest count in 2009 was 196,688.
A table of county by county (pdf; 39kb) harvest broken down by DNR region, with a comparison to the 2009 preliminary harvest is available on the DNR Web site.
“This season included more regular units with a substantial number of buck only units as many units in the northern and central forest regions are close to population goals or are below goals,” said Keith Warnke. “Wildlife management and especially deer management is a process of continual adjustment. This season’s structure was influenced by deer hunters, population goal changes, last year’s deer harvest, and the resulting estimated local deer populations.”
Late seasons now open
“There are still days to hunt in 2010,” said Warnke. “The muzzleloader hunt is already underway for hunters holding unused gun buck and antlerless deer tags and there’s the statewide antlerless deer hunt Dec. 9-12.”
Hunters are reminded that the antlerless deer hunt Dec. 9-12 is open only to hunters with a valid antlerless deer tag for the unit in which they are hunting. That means that in many units in northeast Wisconsin, there will be little or no hunting during that four-day season.
There is the Holiday hunt in CWD zones in south central Wisconsin that starts Dec. 24 and lasts until Jan. 9, 2011.
In February, DNR biologists will use unit-level harvest numbers to develop overwinter population estimates and will propose season structures for 2011 in March. The Natural Resources Board will approve season structures at their April meeting.
Hunters asked to participate in online Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey
The Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey is still active until the end of all deer seasons and wildlife managers are asking hunters to keep sending in reports or to send in a report of what they saw during the just completed 9-day gun hunt.
“The observations of over 600,000 hunters spread out all across Wisconsin are invaluable to biologists watching for trends in wildlife populations,” said Brian Dhuey, DNR research scientist who compiles most of Wisconsin’s wildlife harvest and survey statistics. “The more observations the better in terms of tracking trends in species abundance and distribution.”
Hunter volunteers being recruited for deer research starting this winter
Following the close of the 2010-11 deer hunting seasons, DNR and UW researchers will shift into high gear with several multi-year deer research efforts.
Volunteers are needed to accompany and assist researchers in obtaining permission to access private property, live-capturing deer, fitting them with radio transmitters and then observing the marked deer for causes of death, fawn production and fawn survival. This research effort is intended to answer hunter questions regarding the role of predators on deer populations, factors affecting fawn recruitment and hunter harvest rate of bucks. Interested volunteers can find out more information and sign up on the White-tailed Deer Research Projects page of the DNR website.
Young hunters prove themselves safe and responsible
“What is really exciting, is the 11,331 mentored gun deer hunting licenses purchased by 10- and 11-year olds,” said Diane Brookbank, chief of DNR’s licensing and customer service unit, “an increase of more than 1,400 licenses over 2009. These are the future hunters who will step into the woods in place of the hunting ‘retirees’ as our population ages.”
Wardens reported no firearm incidents among these young hunters.
More than 621,000 gun deer licenses sold
DNR’s automated License Issuance System, known as ALIS, peaked at 330 transactions per minute at 5:30 p.m. on the Friday before gun season. The 621,094 gun licenses sold through the end of the season on Nov 28 was a 3 percent drop from 2009 gun deer sales.
Archery license sales stayed with recent trends and increased by 510 licenses compared to the same period in 2009.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke – (608) 264-6023, Jason Fleener - (608) 261-7589 or Bob Manwell – (608) 264-9248
Source: Wisconsin DNR