Opening weekend by the numbers

Posted at 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday, November 25, 2020


The Brillion News


Oh Deer ... Opening weekend numbers.

Wisconsin's 169th gun deer season kicked off Nov. 21 and runs through Nov. 29.

Preliminary figures indicate that the number of deer hunters in Wisconsin increased compared to the same period for both 2019 and 2018.

As of midnight Monday, Nov. 23, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports and patron licenses reached 810,233. Of that total, 559,591 were for gun privileges only, including gun, patron and sports licenses. The year-to-date sales for all deer licenses are up 3.2% from the same time last year.


Female hunters are the largest growing demographic in 2020, with the number of female hunters reaching nearly 90,000, up nine percent from last year. The number of non-resident licenses decreased this year, likely due to COVID-19.


{<< photo at left was a selfie taken by the buck on his new Android smart phone]



Preliminary Registration Totals and Future Outlook

In total, 95,257 deer were harvested by gun and registered statewide during the opening weekend of the 2020 nine-day gun deer hunt, compared to 93,155 in 2019. A total of 49,025 bucks were registered on opening weekend, compared to 48,252 in 2019.

While hunter reports of deer activity varied around the state, most regions experienced excellent hunting conditions with cool temperatures, high visibility and low wind. Many reports indicated that the two things that would have made the conditions better would have been a coating of snow as well as cooler conditions freezing some of the wetter locations which would have increased access.

Preliminary registration figures in the northern and central forests showed a dip in harvest totals compared to the opening weekend in 2019 while the farmland zones saw an increase. Light snow is expected much of Wisconsin mid-week, potentially improving conditions and opportunities for hunters to stay afield through the remaining season.


Registration of Deer Required

As a reminder, hunters are required to register their deer by 5 p.m. the day after harvest through GameReg, the game registration system. All deer harvests must be reported online (fastest and easiest method) or by phone at 1-844-426-3734.


Hunting Incidents

The DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement reports four firearm-involved hunting incidents during the 2020 nine-day gun deer season opening weekend Nov. 21-22.

  • Washburn County: On Nov. 21, 2020 at approximately 11:30 a.m., a 62-year-old male victim was struck in the upper arm and face by a rifle round. The 19-year-old shooter and victim were participating in a deer drive together. The victim was taken by helicopter for medical treatment.

  • Saint Croix County: On Nov. 21, 2020 at approximately 2:55 p.m., a 14-year-old male victim was struck in the left leg by a shotgun slug. The 27-year-old shooter and the victim were participating in a deer drive together. The victim was taken to a hospital, treated and released.

  • Adams County: On Nov. 22, 2020 at approximately 1:00 p.m., the 40-year-old male shooter/victim was working the action of his pistol when it discharged into his left hand. The victim was treated at a local hospital.

  • Door County: On Nov. 22, 2020 at approximately 5:00 p.m., the 65-year-old male victim/shooter was exiting his blind with his shotgun when he tripped and the firearm discharged into his chest. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

DNR VIOLATION HOTLINE: Anyone with information regarding natural resource violations may confidentially report by calling or texting: VIOLATION HOTLINE: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trained staff relay the information to conservation wardens.

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