Wisconsin opener down

Opening weekend for Wisconsin deer hunters was down.

The preliminary harvest for Saturday and Sunday was 133,828, down 22 percent from opening weekend from 2007. The nine-day season ends Sunday, Nov. 30.

The complete release is here.

Here’s the gist:

MADISON – In conditions that varied from sub-zero to chilly and overcast on opening morning, hunters participating in the traditional November 9-day gun deer hunt registered a preliminary tally of 133,828 deer over the first two days of the hunt a 22 percent decrease from 2007. Buck harvest statewide was down 25 percent and antlerless harvest declined 20 percent. A preliminary count for the two-day opening weekend in 2007 counted 171,584 deer registered. Department of Natural Resources officials stress that this is a preliminary call-around tally that will change when all registration stubs are submitted by registration stations and entered into the department’s registration data base. Wildlife officials say several factors likely contributed to the lower count including lower deer numbers after several years of herd reduction strategies, very cold hunting conditions on opening morning in northern units, a late opening weekend that missed the peak of the rutting season, poor fawn recruitment this year, and tough winter conditions last year after a string of mild winters. Although this is a preliminary count, we may be seeing the result of a tough winter and several seasons designed bring deer numbers down. DNR staff across the state reported that hunters were seeing fewer deer and hearing fewer shots this year, said DNR deer biologist Keith Warnke. Hunters’ efforts appear to be having a positive effect on lowering overpopulations of deer in many areas.

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