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Final Wisconsin deer registrations up 14% statewide, nearly 20% in north

Registrations from the nine-day firearms deer season that ended Sunday were up 13.5% in Douglas County.

A buck stands in the woods near Gordon
A buck stands in the woods near Gordon on Oct. 16.
Jed Carlson / 2022 file / Superior Telegram
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MADISON — Wisconsin deer hunters shot 203,295 deer during the state’s nine-day firearms deer hunting season that ended Sunday.

That total is up 14.4% over 2021 and up 8% from the recent five-year average.

DNR officials on Tuesday credited good weather, with no major storms, for allowing hunters to spend more time in the woods. Snow on the ground also helped many northern hunters.

All four deer management zones showed harvest increases from 2021 for both antlered and antlerless harvests. The Northern Forest Zone was up 19.3% over last year and up 11.3% from the five-year average. The Central Forest Zone was up 30.6% from 2021 and farmland areas were up 10%-13%.

The state sold 554,898 firearms hunting licenses this year, down about 2% from 2021. There were eight firearms-related accidents and one victim: an 11-year-old boy who was fatally shot in the chest by a member of his party near their vehicle.

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DNR officials said hunters from all 50 states purchased Wisconsin deer licenses this year, with the most coming from Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois. Hunters from 20 countries bought licenses this year.

In Northwestern Wisconsin during the nine-day firearms season:

  • Douglas County hunters shot 1,643 bucks and 723 antlerless deer, for a 13.5% increase from 2021 and up 1.5% from the five-year average.
  • Ashland County hunters shot 780 bucks and 193 antlerless deer, for a 14.2% increase from 2021 and up 7.1% from the five-year average.
  • Bayfield County hunters shot 1,733 bucks and 1,059 antlerless deer, for a 4.5% increase from 2021 and down 5.5% from the five-year average.
  • Burnett County hunters shot 1,641 bucks and 1,496 antlerless deer, for a 6 % increase from 2021 and up 4.8% from the five-year average.
  • Iron County hunters shot 336 bucks and 105 antlerless deer, for a 17% increase from 2021 and up 18.9% from the five-year average.
  • Washburn County hunters shot 1,629 bucks and 1,454 antlerless deer, for a 19.2% increase from 2021 and up 12.1% from the five-year average.

There are several deer hunts still to come in Wisconsin in coming weeks, including ongoing archery/crossbow hunting, a muzzleloader hunt and special antlerless seasons.

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Final Minnesota firearms deer harvest down 9% statewide

Minnesota deer hunters bagged 124,330 deer over the state’s various firearms deer hunting seasons in November.

With the final season ending Sunday in southeastern Minnesota, the statewide tally was down 9% from 2021 and off 16% from the five-year average.

DNR wildlife managers said weather during the seasons was an issue, with snow, wind and rain keeping hunters out of the woods more than usual. The final 300-unit hunt that ended Sunday in southeastern Minnesota saw better weather and a 10% increase in deer shot compared to 2021.

But in Northeastern Minnesota, the culprit was the weather for several of the recent past winters, with heavy snow causing increased deer mortality and far fewer deer on the landscape. Combined with reduced doe permits issued by the DNR, that lead to a 12% drop in deer registered in the 100-numbered units compared to 2021 with registrations 26% off the five-year average.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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