During opening weekend, Wisconsin deer hunters tagged an incredible amount of deer compared to last year. According to reports, hunters in the state harvested 15.1% more deer during the opening weekend of Deer Hunt 2022 than in 2021.
Recently released preliminary numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources revealed that hunters killed 103,623 deer on Saturday and Sunday. Of those figures, 56,638 were bucks. In addition, that is a 13.9% increase since last year.
In 2021, the total statistics from the opening weekend was 90,023. However, that figure was down 14% from 99,832 in 2020.
“Keep in mind that in 2021, we had a relatively slow opener. So, it isn’t so much a big jump from last year, as it is a return to more normal we’ve seen over a five-year average, said DNR State Deer Program Specialist Jeff Pritzl.
However, deer hunting license sales for all seasons, which include bowhunting and muzzleloader, are down 2% from last year. So far this year, hunters purchased 779,123 licenses, of which 421,474 were for gun hunting only.
Pritzl added: “This is a trend that we’ve seen going on for the last 20 years, and it’s not unique to Wisconsin. It’s national.”
Wisconsin DNR examines factors that led to an increase in deer taken
Additionally, Pritzl revealed that the area’s weather played a role. However, this is a typical factor in a hunter’s success. Luckily enough, snowfall allowed hunters to see deer. However, high winds on Saturday and Sunday obstructed their efforts.
“As it is now, about half of firearm harvest will happen on opening weekend, and then the other half will happen the remaining seven days of the nine-day season. And, specifically for bucks, about 60% happens opening weekend, with 40% spread out over the rest of the seven days,” said Pritzl.
According to reports, Wisconsin’s Central Forest Zone got the highest increase of about 37% over the last year. Pritzl said the state’s hunters were likelier to have better luck in densely wooded areas than open fields because the forest cover protected hunters from the intense winds.
The Central Forest Zone covers parts of Wisconsin’s Adams, Clark, Eau Claire, Jackson, Juneau, Monroe, and Wood counties. Sadly, at the same time, there were six shooting incidents over the opening weekend.
Recently, in Green Lake County, a young boy died after being accidentally shot by a member of his hunting party. The victim was identified as 11-year-old Easton Thom. If you’re interested in learning how to donate to support his family, click here.
In addition, there were shooting incidents in Sauk and Marquette counties. Thankfully, those victims survived any injuries. Three other hunters suffered self-inflicted gunshot wounds in Oneida, Iowa, and Forest counties. However, they all survived.