Early Deer Numbers Show Increase After First Electronic Registration Season

More than 600,000 deer hunters embraced the excitement of another nine-day gun deer season in Wisconsin, and preliminary numbers show an increase in both deer registration numbers and license sales through the end of the nine-day season.

With the end of another Wisconsin nine-day gun deer season, Gov. Scott Walker and Stepp have shared a video message with hunters and their families.

“I would like to thank each and every hunter for another great nine-day deer hunt – we at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources rely upon your feedback and support,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “I’ve heard some great stories from the field so far, and I want to remind hunters that opportunities remain to continue your hunt and enjoy more time with family and friends.”

Preliminary harvest summary
This year’s preliminary nine-day gun deer hunt registration figures indicate a total of 201,812 deer killed during the nine-day season, compared to 199,583 in 2014. Since this is the first year using the GameReg system, department staff are verifying this preliminary data to make sure it is correct. It is possible that this number may change slightly following additional evaluation.

“I’m pleased to see an increase in deer harvest numbers from last year,” said Bob Nack, DNR big game section chief. “Hunters experienced varying levels of success throughout the state and had an enjoyable time with family and friends.”

To view the current registration total visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords “weekly totals.” To access harvest statistics from previous years, search keywords “harvest summary.”

In 2015, preliminary nine-day harvest numbers were collected through the GameReg system. Hunters were required to register their deer by 5 p.m. the day after harvest, as opposed to 5 p.m. the day after the nine-day season closed in years past.

DNR customer service staff received positive feedback from hunters throughout the nine-day season as they learned to use the new system. Hunters who forgot to register their deer are required to do so, even if beyond the 5 p.m. daily deadline.

For more information, search keywords “electronic registration.”

Payton Specht killedhis first deer Nov. 22 on his 11th birthday in Price County.  Photo Credit: WDNR

Payton Specht killedhis first deer Nov. 22 on his 11th birthday in Price County.
Photo Credit: WDNR

2015 license sales
In 2015, 612,377 gun deer licenses were sold through the end of the nine-day gun deer season, compared to 608,711 in 2014. In total, 849,778 gun, archery and crossbow licenses (not including upgrades) licenses have been sold through the end of the nine-day gun deer season, compared to 835,583 (not including upgrades) in 2014.

Through the end of the nine-day season, 23,870 first-time hunters (or those who have not hunted in the last 10 years) have taken advantage of the first-time gun deer buyer license, compared to 17,644 archery hunters. Deer license and tag sales will continue throughout the remaining hunting seasons.

This year’s muzzleloader season is open through Dec. 9, and the late archery season is open through Jan. 3, 2016. A four-day antlerless-only hunt will take place Dec. 10-13 – any legal firearm, crossbow or archery equipment may be used during this hunt. The holiday hunt will not be offered in 2015.

The gun deer season will remain open through Dec. 9 in metro sub-units, while archery hunting in these areas is open through Jan. 31.