‘Hunter Sight-In’ kicks off two weeks before deer-hunting season

WAUNAKEE, Wis. — Today marked the first day of the annual “Hunter Sight-In,” an event for hunters to register their gear in preparation for deer-hunting season.

The Dane County Sherriff’s Office organizes this tradition annually to provide a safe environment for local hunters to sight-in their shotguns, rifles and pistols.

“We’ve got targets set up, we’ve got spotting scopes and we’ve got deputies on sight to help with any adjustments that need to be made,” said Training Deputy Heidi Studnicka.

Despite the warm weather, organizers said they saw a smaller turnout than expected today. Studnicka said this may be due to a shortage in ammunition as a result of the pandemic, which has led manufacturers to be backed up for months.

“Factories are shutting down…maybe that shortage is keeping people from shooting excess rounds or maybe they weren’t able to get ammunition that they need,” said Studnicka.

Still, the range saw a boom in those coming to open shoot this summer. Sarah Eglin, one of the hunters in attendance today, said she always tries to sight-in early to beat the dear-hunting crowd in the fall.

“We found that the closer that is gets to the hunting season, that typically on weekends it gets to be a lot busier for sighting in guns,” said Eglin.

Eglin doesn’t anticipate COVID-19 affecting her hunting season, explaining that hunting safety measures already allow for social distancing: “…you don’t ever shoot at anything unless you’re certain that it’s a deer…so that alone is definitely more than six feet.”

The sight-in event, which ends on Nov 20., is additionally providing all essential hunting safety information. The center is located at  between Interstate 90/94 and Waunakee, at 5184 State Highway 19.