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WI: Fewer deer killed, fewer hunting injuries

November 24, 2009

Fewer deer, hunting injuries

The opening weekend of Wisconsin's gun-hunting season was quiet on two fronts: The deer harvest was down 25 percent, and shooting mishaps were relatively few.

In the first two days of the 2009 season, hunters registered 100,330 deer, down from 133,828 in 2008, according to preliminary numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Opening weekend was marked by dense fog Saturday and warm weather Sunday, both of which did not help harvest numbers, according to a DNR press release.

The DNR expected lower harvest numbers because of smaller herds in many areas of the state, fewer herd control units and the elimination of the earn-a-buck program.

Numbers in Marathon County and the surrounding 19-county region also were behind 2008's harvest. Hunters here registered 2,472 deer during opening weekend, down from 3,943 last year.

Kevin Newman was one of the hunters in Marathon County who saw fewer deer.

Newman, 36, said his entire six-person hunting party in Knowlton killed only one small buck.

He blamed the fog and warm weather, but also a smaller deer herd.

But Newman and his hunting partners will be back out during the nine-day season, even if there are fewer deer from which to choose.

"You have to give it a shot at least," Newman said. "It's better than eating (deer) tag soup at the end of the year."

No hunters were wounded in Marathon County, and just five hunting accidents were reported across the state, none of them fatal.

Additional Facts Sales for deer hunting licenses Gun licenses:

626,000 sold in 2009 631,000 sold in 2008

Archery licenses: 205,000 sold in 2009 204,000 sold in 2008

*Figures are as of opening day.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

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