Contact(s): Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist, 608-261-7589; Kimberly Currie, DNR Customer and Outreach Services Bureau, 608-267-7799; Jon King, DNR hunter education specialist, 608-575-2294; Sawyer Briel, DNR communications, 608-282-5334
MADISON - Nearly 600,000 hunters donned blaze orange attire and headed into the outdoors for opening weekend of the annual nine-day gun deer hunt in Wisconsin.
"From all accounts, it was a great opening weekend, despite very high winds which many hunters said reduced deer activity," said Kevin Wallenfang, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources big game ecologist. "Conditions and deer movement improved on Sunday, and the hunters that department staff talked to were in good spirits and took home some nice deer."
As of opening morning, 575,363 gun deer licenses had been sold, compared to 591,783 gun deer licenses as of opening day in 2015.
Hunters found success during opening weekend, with 64,311 bucks registered using the GameReg system, compared to 62,903 in 2015. In total, 115,640 deer have been registered through opening weekend of the gun deer hunt in 2016, compared to 120,276 during the opening weekend in 2015.
Hunter must register their deer by 5 p.m. the day after harvest. For more information on current registration and license sales numbers, search keywords "weekly totals."
The GameReg internet registration system and call-in phone option are working well overall, and hunters have continued to visit walk-in stations that offer these services. Overwhelming positive feedback was received throughout opening weekend as hunters enjoy GameReg's convenience in its second year.
Wallenfang said hunters who forgot to register their deer are still required to do so, even if beyond the 5 p.m. daily deadline. "Harvest registration is the most important information that we collect," he said. "If hunters want us to know what's happening and make the best management decisions possible, they need to comply with this requirement."
For more information, search keywords "gamereg."
DNR investigated three non-fatal (Waukesha and Taylor counties) hunting incidents during opening weekend. Through the continued efforts of hunters and hunter education volunteers, Wisconsin remains a safe place to hunt, and hunters are reminded to follow the Four Rules of Firearm Safety (TAB-K):
To learn more about safe hunting in Wisconsin, search keywords "safety tips."
Wisconsin's hunters share their weekend with DNR staff
Pictures and stories from all over Wisconsin have continued to flood in as hunters share their experiences. Be sure to follow DNR on Facebook and Twitter for more updates, photos and stories throughout gun deer season.