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Whitetail harvest is up over last year

Whitetail harvest is up over last year Whitetail harvest is up over last year

Harvest of whitetail deer during the Wisconsin gunseason is up double digits over last year, according to the Wisconsin DNR.

The agency reports that hunters in the nine-day hunting season harvested 2, 948 antlered deer and 3,721 antlerless deer, an increase over 2019 of 11.6 percent and 19.1 percent. The total gundeer season kill of 6,669 deer was up 15.7 percent over last year.

Statewide, the total gundeer harvest of 188,712 deer was up 15.8 percent, nearly identical to the Marathon County increase.

The department reported more hunters buying deer licenses. As of midnight, Sunday, Nov. 29, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports and patron licenses reached 820,299. Of that total, 569,203 were for gun privileges, including gun, patron and sports licenses. The year-to-date sales for all deer licenses are up 3.5% from the same time last year.

Female hunters remain the largest growing demographic in 2020, with the number of female hunters reaching nearly 92,312, up 12 percent from last year. The number of non-resident licenses decreased this year, likely due to COVID-19.

Accordin to the DNR, this year’s deer harvest totals have surpassed the total deer harvested in 2019, but harvest trends lag behind 2018, which had the highest total deer harvest since 2013. While many southern farmland zone counties saw double-digit increases in the buck harvest, the harvest was not evenly distributed across the state.

A number of units in the northern forest zone including Ashland, Florence, Forest, Iron, Lincoln, Marinette and Price counties, experienced another year of declining buck harvest during the nine-day gun deer season. However, total buck harvest in those counties appears to be similar compared to 2019 harvest for the same period.

While opening weekend saw mild temperatures throughout the state with some snow in the northwest, DNR staff across the state reported excellent hunting conditions and weather throughout the season except for a day or two of rain and wind midweek.