W hitetail hunt 2019
Following statewide trends, the Marathon County opening weekend gun season deer harvest was sharply lower than in 2018.
The Wisconsin DNR is encouraging hunters, however, to take advantage of colder and snowy weather this week when hunting conditions will predictably improve.
Statewide, hunters registered 90,286 deer for the opening weekend of the state’s nine-day gun-deer season. This compares with an opening weekend harvest of 123,090 in 2018. Hunters bagged 46,866 bucks this year compared with 67,636 last year.
This same scenario played out across Marathon County.
Local hunters harvested 2,985 deer over the opening weekend split between 1,513 antlered deer and 1,472 antlerless deer. Last year, the whitetail harvest was significantly higher. County deer hunters bagged a total of 4,319 deer. That included 2,362 antlered deer and 1,952 antlerless deer.
DNR game officials said the lower deer kill was consistent with when the state scheduled the gun-deer season.
“In 2018, we held the earliest possible deer season followed by the latest possible season in 2019,” said DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang. “This occurred between the 2012-13 and 2007-08 seasons as well, and we saw similar declines in opening weekend registration totals.”
The DNR reported that while many hunters reported excellent deer activity, other reported little, including in areas where there is an abundance of deer. Reports of rutting activity were far less common compared to last year, the agency said. This was anticipated given the late deer season.
The DNR said hunters may have better luck given a change in the weather.
“With temperatures staying low and snow coming to many parts of the state mid week, hunters can expect more opportunities for success and are encouraged to head out to enjoy the remainder of the nine-day hunting season hunting with family and friends.”