11/29/17 – Wisconsin hunters have shot their second lowest number of deer since 1982, and the state sold its fewest gun licenses since 1976. In preliminary data released Tuesday, the DNR said almost 196-thousand deer were registered for the nine-day gun season that ended Sunday. That’s the lowest since 2014, when 192-thousand were shot.
In Dodge County, there were 2576 deer harvested this year compared to 2907 last year. Columbia County hunters 3412 deer, 238 less than last year. Jefferson County had 1448 deer taken this year, around 200 below the 2016 total. Fond du Lac County recorded 2301 this year after 2448 were shot last year. Washington County’s total was down by 118 to 1280.
Media reports cite an increase in crossbow hunters, and sociologists have predicted a drop-in hunting across the country as people spend less time outdoors. More than 588-thousand-gun deer licenses were sold, ten-thousand fewer than last year — just the second time in 41 years that fewer than 600-thousand licensed hunters were in the woods. The buck harvest rose by one-percent in Wisconsin this year, but the antlerless total fell by two-percent, and the Northwoods was the only region to report an increase with a jump of 28-percent from last year due to mild winters and a now ended ban on doe hunting that was credited for increasing the deer herd.