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Deer hunt

Deer hunt Deer hunt

people are taking that opportunity.”

Statewide report

Preliminary figures show that hunters registered 188,712 deer during the nineday gun deer hunt, including 85,340 antlered and 103,372 antlerless deer. Since archery season opened Sept. 12, hunters have registered 305,171 deer statewide, showing the growing impact of earlier seasons on cumulative harvest.

Deer harvest trends since the beginning of the archery season were above 2019 levels, and this trend continued through the gun deer season. Compared to 2019, the total nine-day gun deer harvest was up 15.8% statewide, with buck harvest up 12.2% and antlerless harvest up 19%. All management zones showed harvest increases from 2019.

Current 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.

The 2020 harvest breakdown by Deer Management Zone (with percent change from 2019) includes:

_ Northern Forest Zone: 16,936 antlered (4.7% increase) and 12,260 antlerless (15.9% increase).

_ Central Forest Zone: 3,349 antlered (12.1% increase) and 2,562 antlerless (23.9% increase).

_ Central Farmland Zone: 45,060 antlered (12.9% increase) and 63,077 antlerless (17.4% increase).

_ Southern Farmland Zone: 19,995 antlered (17.5% increase) and 25,473 antlerless (24.3% increase).

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% from last year. The number of non-resident licenses decreased this year, likely due to COVID-19.

Hunting incidents

The DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement reports nine firearm-involved injuries and one fatality for the entire 2020 nineday gun deer season.

_ In Washburn County’s Bashaw Township on Nov. 21, a 62-year-old male victim was struck in the upper arm and face by a rifle round. A 19-year-old shooter and victim were participating in a deer drive together.

_ In St. Croix County’s Eau Galle Township on Nov. 21, a 14-year-old male victim was struck in the left leg by a shotgun slug. The 27-year-old shooter and the victim were participating in a deer drive together.

_ In Adams County on Nov. 22, a 40-year-old male shooter/victim was working the action of his pistol when it discharged into his left hand.

_ On Door County’s Washington Island on Nov. 22, a 65-year-old male victim/ shooter was exiting his blind with his shotgun when he tripped and the firearm discharged into his chest. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

_ In La Crosse County’s Onalaska Township on Nov. 24, a 62-year-old male victim was walking with a rifle when he slipped and fell on the snow, causing the rifle to discharge. A round entered his right foot.

_ In Richland County’s Sylvan Township on Nov. 24, a 68-year-old male victim was sitting in his vehicle when a loaded rifle discharged and the bullet grazed his forehead. The shooter placed the loaded firearm in the vehicle with it pointed at the victim. The victim pushed the muzzle away when it fired.

_ In Waushara County’s Coloma Township on Nov. 26, a 26-year-old female victim was walking on the Ice Age trail when she was struck by a bullet in the thigh. A 51-year-old male shooter was shooting at what he thought was a deer.

_ In Marathon County’s McMillan Marsh Wildlife Area on Nov. 27, a 30-year-old male victim was participating in a large deer drive. A 26-year-old male shooter was shooting at a running deer when his bullet struck the victim in the face and shoulder area.

_ In Green County’s Exeter Township on Nov. 28, a 15-year-old male victim was participating in a deer drive. A 45-year-old male shooter shot at a running deer and his bullet struck the victim in the leg.

Remaining hunts

_ Nov. 30-Dec. 9: statewide muzzleloader hunt.

_ Dec. 10-13: statewide four-day antlerless-only hunt.

_ Dec. 24 to Jan. 1, 2021: nine-day antlerless-only holiday hunt in select Farmland Zone counties.

_ Through Jan. 3, 2021: remaining archery and crossbow seasons.

_ Jan. 4-31, 2021: extended archery and crossbow seasons in select Farmland Zone counties.