Cold and snowy conditions to greet Wisconsin deer hunters

Wisconsin deer hunters

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Hunters can expect near-perfect conditions when Wisconsin’s annual nine-day gun deer season opens Saturday.

Wisconsin Public Radio reported Thursday that temperatures in the 20s and 30s will allow hunters to sit in one area comfortably if they choose and snow-covered ground will make deer more visible and easier to track.

The only issue could be wind, which could affect deer movement and make things tougher for hunters, said Jeff Pritzl, state Department of Natural Resources deer program specialist.

DNR officials told WPR that they expect to sell about 550,000 licenses this year. The agency sold 564,440 licenses last year. License sales have been trending down for more than 20 years, slipping about 1.5% annually since 2000 as older hunters age out of the sport faster than young people are taking it up.

Dwindling participation coupled with aging northern forests — deer prefer younger growth — have translated to fewer deer killed. Hunters took 182,783 deer during last year’s nine-day season, down about 7% from 2020.

The DNR estimates the deer herd has been increasing since the early 2000s and now stands at more than 1.5 million animals.