90,336 Wisconsin Buck Harvest Is Down Roughly 8 Percent

WISCONSINREPORT.COM (12/04/2014) – This year’s preliminary harvest figures indicate a total of 191,550 deer harvested. The overall buck harvest of 90,336 was down roughly 8 percent. Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa have seen a similar decline in overall harvest in 2014.

Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist, said the northeast and southern counties saw buck kills that were virtually unchanged compared to 2013. The largest decline in buck harvest figures was observed in the far northern counties, where it decreased by 18 percent compared to 2013. This area also saw a 58 percent decrease in antlerless harvest. This was a designed reduction in antlerless harvest in an attempt to increase deer numbers in the Northern Forest Zone. Overall, statewide antlerless harvest saw a 21 percent decline from 2013.

Western counties saw a decrease in buck harvest of roughly 8 percent, with the bulk of the decline seen in counties that are farthest north within the region and/or counties that include portions of the Central Forest Zone.

With new rule changes this year, deer hunters throughout Wisconsin embraced the excitement of another nine-day gun deer season. A continued commitment to safe hunting led to an all-time low for recorded hunting incidents during the nine-day season.

“Deer hunters throughout the state have been excellent partners in not only learning new rules, but passing on traditions to youth and first-time hunters out there in the woods,” said Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. “As always, we put safety first, and the efforts of hunters to do the same led to a banner year for safe hunting in Wisconsin.”

Preliminary nine-day harvest numbers are collected through a call-around survey of over 600 deer registration stations all across Wisconsin and likely will increase when all registration tags are officially counted.

During the nine-day hunt, there were an all-time low of three confirmed shooting related incidents reported.

Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources“Over one million hunters have attended a hunter education course since 1967, and with that many hunters knowing the firearm safety rules we will continue to see a safer hunting tradition in Wisconsin,” said Jon King, DNR conservation warden and hunter education administrator.

More than 28,000 students complete the hunter safety program every year, thanks to the work of more than 4,100 volunteer hunter education instructors. Before the hunter education course started, hunter fatalities during the season often reached double digits.

The Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey is still active until the end of all deer seasons and wildlife managers are asking hunters to send in a report of what they saw during the just completed nine-day gun hunt and during any hunting trips they make through the end of all deer hunting seasons. This information provides valuable data biologists use to improve population estimates for Wisconsin’s deer herds and other species.

The department’s license sales office reported 608,711 gun deer and 226,872 archer and crossbow (not including upgrades) licenses sold through midnight on Nov. 30, which signaled the close of the 2014 nine-day deer hunt. Deer license and tag sales will continue through additional hunting seasons.

Approximately 38,000 licenses were issued to hunters 12 years of age or older who were purchasing a license to hunt deer for the first time, or to those hunting for the first time in 10 years. Female deer hunters have continued to increase in number, and accounted for 35 percent of adults and 36 percent of juniors who purchased a first time resident gun deer license.

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