DNR releases figures on preliminary deer hunts

By: - November 25, 2021 6:14 am
white tailed deer buck with antlers

White tailed deer (photo by skeeze from Pixabay)

The Department of Natural Resources has released the preliminary deer harvest and license sale totals for the opening weekend of the state’s 170th  gun deer season. The regular deer season will continue through Nov. 28, following the statewide muzzleloader season (Nov. 29-Dec. 8). The statewide antlerless-only season will last four days, (Dec. 9-12).

A DNR press release noted that “Wisconsin continues to be a destination location for hunting white-tailed deer. People of all ages, genders, and races search out the great public and private land hunting opportunities across the state to pursue deer, make memories and to put a sustainable protein source on their table.” Preliminary numbers indicate that the number of deer hunters in Wisconsin decreased this year compared to 2020.

As of midnight Nov. 21, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports and patron licenses reached 795,039. Of those, 551,809 were for gun privileges only, including gun, patron and sports licenses. In all, deer license sales are down 1.5% compared to the same time last year. However, the number of non-resident licenses increased this year. Over the course of opening weekend for the nine-day deer hunt, 85,860 deer were taken by hunters. While reports varied around the state, most hunters reported favorable weather conditions. However, visibility was low due to a lack of snow cover.

There have also been a number of hunting-related incidents. In Door County near the Township of Brussel, a 40-year-old man suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the hand. He’d placed his hand on the muzzle after pulling the hammer back on his firearm. The victim sought medical attention and was released. In another Door County incident near Sturgeon Bay the following day a 10-year-old boy sustained a gunshot wound. A 45-year-old hunter was shooting at a deer from his residence. The firearm discharged inside of the house while he was attempting to unload the firearm. The 10-year-old was taken to a hospital and treated. In another incident in Waukesha County the same day a 30-year-old male suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the right leg. The man was in a tree stand and tried to hang the gun on a hanger. The victim in this case was also treated.

DNR game wardens are urging hunters to follow  firearm safety rules, using  the acronym TABK —  T: Treat every firearm as if it is loaded. A: Always point the muzzle in a safe direction. B: Be certain of your target, what’s before it, and what’s beyond it. And K: Keep your finger outside your trigger guard until you are safe to shoot. Hunters are also encouraged to test harvested deer for Chronic Wasting Disease and other ailments before consuming any harvested meat.


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Isiah Holmes
Isiah Holmes

Isiah Holmes is a journalist and videographer, and a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Holmes' video work dates back to his high school days at Wauwatosa East High, when he made a documentary about the local police department. Since then, his writing has been featured in Urban Milwaukee, Isthmus, Milwaukee Stories, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Services, Pontiac Tribune, the Progressive Magazine, Al Jazeera, and other outlets. He was also featured in the 2018 documentary The Chase Key, and was the recipient of the Sierra Club Great Waters Group 2021 Environmental Hero of the Year award. The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council also awarded Holmes its 2021-2022 Media Openness Award for using the open records laws for investigative journalism. Holmes was also a finalist in the 2021 Milwaukee Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards alongside the rest of the Wisconsin Examiner's staff. The Silver, or second place, award for Best Online Coverage of News was awarded to Holmes and his colleague Henry Redman for an investigative series into how police responded to the civil unrest and protests in Kenosha during 2020. Holmes was also awarded the Press Club's Silver (second-place) award for Public Service Journalism for articles focusing on police surveillance in Wisconsin.