Deer kill numbers spike despite dip in license sales

Deer Bucks Mndnr
A total of 56,638 bucks were registered on opening weekend, compared to 49,721 in 2021. This is a 13.9% increase over 2021 and is 2% above the 5-year average.

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin DNR today announced the preliminary deer harvest and license sale totals for the opening weekend of the 2022 gun deer season.

In total, 103,623 deer were registered statewide during the opening weekend of the 2022 gun deer hunt, compared to the 90,023 registered for the same period in 2021. This is a 15.1% increase over 2021 and is on par with the average opening weekend harvest.

A total of 56,638 bucks were registered on opening weekend, compared to 49,721 in 2021. This is a 13.9% increase over 2021 and is 2% above the 5-year average.

Review a detailed summary of preliminary registration totals.

Preliminary figures indicate that the number of deer hunters in Wisconsin decreased compared to 2021.

As of midnight Sunday, Nov. 20, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports and patron licenses reached 779,123. Of that total, 421,474 were for gun privileges only. The year-to-date sales for all deer licenses are down 2% from the same time last year.

The number of conservation patron licenses sold to date in 2022 is 2.2% higher than all conservation patron licenses sold in 2021.

Of the total licenses sold, 62% were sold online, and 38% were sold in-person by DNR license agents and DNR service centers, which includes private businesses across the state.

Final license sales figures will be available in January, at which time DNR staff will perform a thorough analysis and interpretation.

The regular gun deer season continues through Nov. 27, followed by the statewide muzzleloader season (Nov. 28 – Dec. 7), the statewide antlerless-only four-day season (Dec. 8-11) and antlerless holiday hunts in select farmland zone counties later in December.

Conditions for opening weekend this year included some snow cover but were cold with high winds, particularly on Saturday, which suppressed some hunter activity. Conditions improved slightly on Sunday, but wind chill was still a factor in some parts of the state.

Despite the challenging conditions, hunters saw good deer movement overall, with some evidence of bucks still showing breeding behavior.

Throughout the state, warming temperatures during the week will likely lead to a loss of the snow cover in parts of the state. Where it doesn’t melt completely, it will result in crunchy conditions from daytime melting and refreezing at night. Beyond the potential for rain on Thanksgiving Day, conditions should be great for hunting during the remainder of the gun deer season.

Opening weekend hunting incidents

At the publication time of this news release, the DNR reports six firearm-involved hunting incidents during the opening weekend of the 2022 gun deer season, Nov. 19-20.

  • Sauk County, Woodland Township: On Nov. 19, 2022, at approximately 11:10 a.m., a 22-year-old male was the victim of a gunshot wound to the thigh. During a deer drive, a 20-year-old male shooter, who was a driver in the hunting party, shot at a running deer, striking the victim, who was a stander in the hunting party. The victim was transported to the hospital and treated.
  • Marquette County, Mecan Township: On Nov. 19, 2022, at approximately noon, while in a ground blind in a field, a 69-year-old female was the victim of a gunshot wound to the thigh. A 16-year-old male shooter was hunting from his ground blind in an open field, separated by a pond from the victim, when he shot at a deer, striking the victim. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital and treated. The shooter and victim were members of same hunting party.
  • Oneida County, Little Rice Township: On Nov. 19, 2022, at approximately 1:30 p.m., a 24-year-old male suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the foot. The victim was repairing his rifle sling when his hand froze to the firearm. As he pulled his hand off the firearm, he hit the trigger, causing an unwanted discharge. The victim received medical treatment for injury.
  • Iowa County, Mifflin Township: On Nov. 19, 2022, at the close of hunting hours, a 15-year-old male suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the foot. The victim was unloading his firearm while sitting in the passenger seat of a truck when the firearm discharged. The victim was transported to a local hospital and treated.
  • Green Lake County, Seneca Township: On Nov. 20, 2022, shortly after 9 a.m., an 11-year-old male was the victim of a gunshot wound to the chest. A 41-year-old male shooter attempted to unload his firearm while the firearm was placed in the backseat of a vehicle. The firearm discharged, striking the victim. The victim was flown via Med Flight to a hospital where he died. The shooter and victim were members of same hunting party.
  • Forest County, Town of Hiles: On Nov. 20, 2022, in the afternoon hours, a 33-year-old male suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his little finger. The victim was manipulating his handgun when it discharged. The victim was treated for the injury.

Wisconsin’s 10-year average is approximately six hunting incidents for the gun deer hunt. The decline in incidents is the direct result of hunter safety education given by Wisconsin’s volunteer instructors and conservation wardens.

 

Categories: Firearms, Hunting News, Whitetail Deer

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