Wisconsin Deer Harvest Up Significantly So Far

Wisconsin’s opening-weekend gun deer kill was up 19 percent statewide over last year based on calls to registration stations, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials said late Monday.

A total of 134,772 deer were registered statewide. The harvest increased in all regions, according to a DNR news release.

The buck harvest was up 24 percent statewide over 2011.

Mark Liebaert Jr. (left) and his dad, Mark Liebaert Sr., both of South Range, watch the shoreline for deer during an opening-day float down the St. Croix River during Wisconsin’s gun deer season Saturday. (News Tribune file)

The news was even better in most of the DNR’s Northern District. Total harvest (bucks and antlerless deer) was up 38 percent in Douglas County, 38 percent in Bayfield County, 28 percent in Ashland County and 25 percent in Iron County. The harvest was up 12 percent in Sawyer County, 68 percent in Washburn County and 32 percent in Burnett County.

“It was very nice — a lot of happy, smiling faces,” said Josh McIntyre, a DNR forestry technician who worked the Trading Post registration station in Gordon Saturday and Sunday. “It was busier than in years past. And I saw a lot of first-time deer come in (from hunters shooting their first deer). That was nice.”

Registrations were brisk at Anglers All in Ashland, too, said Carolyn Swartz.

“It was definitely better than we’ve seen in the last two years,” Swartz said. “Whether that will continue through the season is yet to be known. Weather had a lot to do with it. People were out. They could sit all day.”

Opening-weekend weather was unseasonably warm, with highs up to 50 degrees.

Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season continues through Sunday.