GREEN BAY, Wisc (WBAY) Just three days and counting until the return of a deep-rooted Wisconsin tradition.
More than 600,000 hunters will head to the woods for the annual nine-day gun deer season, which opens Saturday.
And according to wildlife biologists, a number of signs point to hunter success.
"The archery harvest is running up a little ahead of last year, that's good, Minnesota just sent out a report on their gun season which was up 10%, the Midwest states tend to track together, so that's a good sign, so look at our deer number coming out of last year, it's pretty safe to project an increased harvest," says DNR Regional Wildlife Biologist Jeff Pritzl.
After three consecutive mild winters, Pritzl says deer numbers in farmland areas, which include most of Northeast Wisconsin, are higher than they should be, which is why hunters are again being encouraged to fill their antlerless tags as well as taking aim at a buck.
"Right across the mid section our our viewing area from Manitowoc, Kewaunee and Door, across to Brown, Outagamie, Shawano and Waupaca, deer densities that are recognized to be higher than they really should be, and so that message of increasing the antlerless harvest, we expect a buck harvest increase, which is good from an opportunity standpoint, the challenge that comes along with that is we need the antlerless harvest ratio to increase even more, so if the buck harvest goes up, the antlerless harvest needs to go up even more than that," says Pritzl.
A major variable is of course the weather, and Pritzl is preaching patience.
"If we've got a lot of rain on Friday and that precipitation ends early on Saturday, it's typical to see deer movement after that precipitation ends, so it could with a little patience, it might not be great at 6:30 Saturday morning, but things look like they'll be getting better as the weekend goes, like every year, someone is going to have their worst season ever and someone is going to have their best season ever and that's the magic of deer hunting," says Pritzl.