WISCONSIN - Opening day for the 2012 gun deer season is in the books. In a conference call Saturday afternoon, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said the 161st season opener was a success.
Wildlife staff say the weather cooperated in most parts of the state, however some areas saw fog in the morning which may have hindered the harvest for some.
Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist said calls to wildlife managers around the state indicated good numbers of deer were being registered across the state.
"From a first day perspective it seems we have a lot of happy people out there," Wallenfang said. "As far as conditions go, I heard from some hunters that the only thing that would have made conditions a 10 would have been snow on the ground. It got a little warm in the afternoon, which probably slowed rutting activity, but I did hear from hunters in the morning who said they were still seeing bucks pursuing does. The fact that we are seeing good antler growth across the state, with most yearling deer showing forked antlers, is probably a result of the mild winter and early spring green-up."
DNR conservation wardens reported that there had been a shooting incident in Manitowoc County that involved two members of a hunting party with non-life-threatening injuries. There were also two reported incidents involving falls from tree stands, one of which resulted in injuries.
The DNR says 614,435 licenses have been sold so far. That's an increase of 2% over last year. A total of 25,703 were sold to first time buyers. Sales of gun deer licenses will continue throughout the season.
If you have a question about the hunt, the DNR's call center is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m during the season. The number is (888) 936-7463. Or click here for more information.
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