It’s been a successful start to the 2018 season so far as the harvest numbers are up overall compared to last year.
More than 118,000 deer were harvested this opening weekend across Wisconsin. That’s 13,000 more deer than last year!
District Wildlife Supervisor Kris Johansen said, “The conditions make a world of difference when you have snow in the background and you’ve got light wind and nice temperatures that really helps and in most areas we do have an ample deer population. So, those things coupled together produced a harvest that’s above what we had last year.”
The Department of Natural Resource sold nearly 600,000 gun-deer licenses and is eagerly gathering results from hunters.
“Within the West Central District, so about 19 counties within our district, we’re up about 15 percent,” explained Johansen. “The statewide total is up over a 100,000 deer total. So generally when you can have an opening weekend with a harvest over 110,000 we’re very happy with that.”
As far as preliminary opening weekend numbers this year Eau Claire hunters harvested more than 900 antlered and antlerless deer. That’s compared to last season’s numbers which hung around 700.
“Deer mean a lot to different people but ultimately when it comes to harvesting and maintaining the population and keeping it healthy, hunters have the critical role there,” said Johansen.
The DNR says it’s also relying on hunters to help the organization test for chronic wasting disease by dropping off their deer heads.
Johansen added, “Hunters are always on the leading edge of conservation and we need them in this effort as well. It’s just as simple as shooting an adult deer and bringing us the head with about three-quarters of the neck attached and we have over a hundred cooperators from meat processors to taxidermist to self-serve kiosks so a lot of different ways that hunters can participate in that so we’re asking for their assistance.”
Additional results show hunters bagged more than 65,000 bucks this opening weekend. That’s 5,000 more than in 2017.
As far as antlerless deer go hunters took home more than 53,000 which is more than 8,000 than the 2017 opening weekend.