Outdoors blog: Wisconsin gun buck harvest down 11 percent
By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune
Final Wisconsin deer harvest: Gun bucks down 11 percent
Final figures were released today by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resourcs for the 2009 deer season. The gun season buck harvest, perhaps the truest measure of hunter success, was down 11 percent compared to 2008. The archery buck harvest was up 19 percent.
Overall, the buck harveset for all archery and gun seasons was down 3 percent.
Hunters registered 329,103 deer for the 2009 deer hunting seasons. This includes a total antlerless harvest of 191,715 and antlered (buck) harvest of 134,156. The grand total includes 3,232 deer recorded as unknown.
The 2009 archery buck harvest of 41,402 made it the fourth-best archery buck harvest in history. Archers accounted for 31 percent of the total buck harvest in 2009. This was up from the 2008 archery buck harvest which accounted for 25 percent of the total buck kill.
Gun buck harvest declined from 103,845 in 2008 to 92,754, the 29th highest gun buck total on record.
Antlerless harvest in gun season was down 40 percent. That harvest is carefully regulated on a unit-by-unit basis through the bonus permit process. In 2009, 13 deer management units had no antlerless permits available to gun deer hunters in an effort to promote strong deer population growth in those units. Gun bonus permits were limited in many other units that were near established population goals.
The greatest changes in antlerless deer harvest occurred in the northern forest where hunters registered 30,431 antlerless deer compared to 56,607 in 2008. This 46 percent reduction in antlerless harvest was due to a reduction in antlerless deer tags available in the northern forest.
The statewide post hunt population estimate is 990,000, down slightly from 2009.