(WBAY) - In less than 48 hours, more than half a million hunters will head to the woods and fields for the opening day of Wisconsin's annual 9-day gun deer season.
A number of factors point to a very favorable opening weekend.
When hunters climb into their deer stands Saturday morning, it will mark the earliest possible date for a gun season opener.
"When we look at the history of harvest activity as it relates to the calendar, when we do have the early opener like we're going to have this year, it can have an influence on an increased buck harvest, that relates to the fact there's more overlap with the breeding season,"
DNR regional wildlife biologist Jeff Pritzl said.
"I'm sure we're still going to hear people having stories of they see bucks chasing does, bucks responding to grunt calls, a little rattling activity. It was working last weekend, I don't see why it won't be working again this weekend," Pritzl added.
Also on the good news front is the weather. Many areas have snow on the ground which makes it easier to see and track deer, and temperatures below freezing are forecast which cause deer to move more often.
"I think everyone is pretty excited. There's been years in recent history where it's been warm, wet, windy. Things are lining up to be relatively good," Pritzl said.
As of Thursday, license sales were up two percent from last year, and the countdown is on.
"Right now we're in the sweet spot of anticipation. That's what's great about this time of the year. It's that glorious thought of, could this be the year," Pritzl said. "Some of us, our primary pursuit is venison for the freezer, but really I think the main pursuit we all have is creating a memory that will last a lifetime, and could this be the year. There's going to be lifetime memories created in the next weekend and I think that's just exciting."
Hunters are reminded that in Marinette County -- a popular destination -- the boundary between the forest and farmland zone has changed this year. That affects where hunters can and can't use antler-less tags.