Hit with a major blizzard in the north and lots of standing corn in the south, Wisconsin deer hunters shot 25% fewer deer during the recent nine-day firearms season than they did in 2018.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported Tuesday that the overall harvest statewide this year was 160,769, down from 213,972 last year.
Hunters harvested 75,236 bucks statewide, down 29% from 2018.
In the northern forested region, hunters took 16,051 bucks this year, down 40% from 2018. Hunter access to much of the woods in the area was hampered by a major snowstorm on Nov. 26-27 and full-fledged blizzard on Nov. 29-30.
The antlerless harvest in the north was 10,470, down 36% compared to last year, in part because fewer permits were issued.
The nine-day season, which ran from Nov. 23 to Dec. 1, was the latest possible under current regulations.
In total, 792,548 gun, archery and crossbow licenses have been sold through the end of the nine-day gun deer season, compared to 803,772 in 2018, a 1.4% decrease. Firearms license sales hit 564,664 through the end of the nine-day gun deer season, compared to 576,277 in 2018, a 2% decrease.
Standing corn proved to be an additional factor that likely influenced success in the field. At the end of the nine-day season the Wisconsin statewide corn harvest was only 66% complete, 22 days behind the 2018 harvest.
There were only a few major firearms accidents reported statewide and no fatalities.
“This is the fourth consecutive nine-day deer gun season without a fatality,” said Todd Schaller, the DNR’s chief conservation warden. “Four incidents are tied with the lowest on record. This is certainly a tribute to our hunters and volunteer safety education instructors.”
Wisconsin deer hunters aren’t done yet. If they can get into the woods, the muzzleloader rifle season runs through Dec. 11; the statewide four-day antlerless-only hunt runs Dec. 12-15; and archery deer season runs through Jan. 5.