Hunters bagged more deer in 2022 opening weekend than previous gun deer hunt
correction: The DNR initially reported incorrect figures for the 2022 opening weekend harvest and bucks registered.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Despite fewer hunters in the fields and woods, more than 100,000 deer were registered in the first weekend of Wisconsin’s 2022 nine-day gun deer hunt, up 15% from last year.
Hunters registered 103,623 on opening weekend (updated figure), compared to 85,860 registered for the same period in 2021.
That’s a 15.1% percent increase from 2021, and on par with an average opening weekend harvest, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Hunters also bagged more bucks this opening weekend. A total of 56,638 bucks were registered in comparison to 47,529 bucks in the opening weekend of 2021. That’s a 13.9% percent increase from 2021 and a 2% increase from the five-year average. The DNR refuted multiple reports received on Sunday of a potential slowdown in its electronic registration system.
“There may have been situations where the process was going slower, and we apologize for that. If they got frustrated and hadn’t registered their deer, they still should go back in and do so,” the DNR’s Jeff Pritzl said.
Sales of hunting licenses is down 2% from this time in 2021.
As of midnight on Nov. 20, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports, and patron licenses were at 779,123. Of that total, 421,474 were for guns only.
CLICK HERE for the DNR’s preliminary deer hunt summary.
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“Conditions for opening weekend this year included some snow cover but were cold with high winds, particularly on Saturday, which suppressed some hunter activity. Conditions improved slightly on Sunday, but wind chill was still a factor in some parts of the state,” reads a statement from the DNR. “Despite the challenging conditions, hunters saw good deer movement overall, with some evidence of bucks still showing breeding behavior.”
“Throughout the state, warming temperatures during the week will likely lead to a loss of the snow cover in parts of the state. Where it doesn’t melt completely, it will result in crunchy conditions from daytime melting and refreezing at night. Beyond the potential for rain on Thanksgiving Day, conditions should be great for hunting during the remainder of the gun deer season.”
The gun deer hunt goes through Nov. 27, 2022.
OPENING WEEKEND INCIDENTS
- Sauk County, Woodland Township: On Nov. 19, 2022, at approximately 11:10 a.m., a 22-year-old male was the victim of a gunshot wound to the thigh. During a deer drive, a 20-year-old male shooter, who was a driver in the hunting party, shot at a running deer, striking the victim, who was a stander in the hunting party. The victim was transported to the hospital and treated.
- Marquette County, Mecan Township: On Nov. 19, 2022, at approximately noon, while in a ground blind in a field, a 69-year-old female was the victim of a gunshot wound to the thigh. A 16-year-old male shooter was hunting from his ground blind in an open field, separated by a pond from the victim, when he shot at a deer, striking the victim. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital and treated. The shooter and victim were members of same hunting party.
- Oneida County, Little Rice Township: On Nov. 19, 2022, at approximately 1:30 p.m., a 24-year-old male suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the foot. The victim was repairing his rifle sling when his hand froze to the firearm. As he pulled his hand off the firearm, he hit the trigger, causing an unwanted discharge. The victim received medical treatment for injury.
- Iowa County, Mifflin Township: On Nov. 19, 2022, at the close of hunting hours, a 15-year-old male suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the foot. The victim was unloading his firearm while sitting in the passenger seat of a truck when the firearm discharged. The victim was transported to a local hospital and treated.
- Green Lake County, Seneca Township: On Nov. 20, 2022, shortly after 9 a.m., an 11-year-old male was the victim of a gunshot wound to the chest. A 41-year-old male shooter attempted to unload his firearm while the firearm was placed in the backseat of a vehicle. The firearm discharged, striking the victim. The victim was flown via Med Flight to a hospital where he died. The shooter and victim were members of same hunting party.
- Forest County, Town of Hiles: On Nov. 20, 2022, in the afternoon hours, a 33-year-old male suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his little finger. The victim was manipulating his handgun when it discharged. The victim was treated for the injury.
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