Wisconsin firearms deer hunters had a busy opening weekend: 134,772 whitetails were registered on the first weekend of the nine-day season.
The Wisconsin DNR reports the statewide harvest is up more than 19 percent from 2011, with registrations rising in all regions. Buck registrations rose 24 percent.
It's possible that deer that typically would hang in Wisconsin camps for a few days were brought to towns and registered because of the warm weekend weather, perhaps accounting for the harvest increase, officials said.
Notwithstanding the higher harvest this opening weekend than last, some hunters in northern counties are reporting low deer sightings.
The DNR said in a press release Monday that almost 26,000 new hunters bought licenses to deer hunt for the first time, or for the first time in 10 years, this year. Females represented 32 percent of resident First Time Gun Deer licenses.
“I find this statistic particularly exciting. If we get the women involved in hunting, we get the family involved. It is so important to be getting youth out there in the tree stand. We will all be looking to them to keep our wonderful hunting heritage alive,” said Wisconsin DNR secretary Cathy Stepp. “But I also want to recognize that 66 first-time licenses were sold to hunters 80 and older. The involvement of so many generations in the deer hunt truly illustrates how deep the deer hunting tradition runs in Wisconsin.”
The DNR noted these facts about Wisconsin hunters in its press release:
• 614,435 Total Deer Gun Hunter, up 2 percent from last year
• Resident deer licenses (568,831) are up 1.5 percent
• Nonresident deer licenses (32,554) up 2 percent
• 10/11 year old Mentored Gun Deer licenses (13,050) are up 10 percent
• 60 percent of gun deer licenses were sold in the month of November
• Females represent 9.5 percent of total gun hunters
• 78,604 (or 13 percent) were youth (under age of 18)
• 61,276 (or 10 percent) were senior citizens (65 years of age and older)
• Hunters come to Wisconsin from all 50 states and several foreign countries
• 25,703 First Time Buyer Licenses were sold
• 13,511 resident gun deer
• 8,976 resident junior gun deer
• 3,216 nonresident gun deer
• 9,001, or 35 percent of First Time Buyers were youth (17 years of age and under)