State wildlife officials had sold more than half-a-million gun deer hunting licenses as of Friday afternoon, easily outpacing sales at the same point on the day before the opener last year.
The 2012 gun deer season begins Saturday at dawn. The Department of Natural Resources reports that as of 2:30 p.m. Friday the agency had sold 556,347 licenses authorizing hunters to take a deer with a firearm. That's 6,207 more licenses than at the same time on the afternoon before the 2011 opener.
The agency sold 603,913 licenses as of midnight on the eve of last year's opening day. Hunters would have to purchase more than 47,500 licenses to match that. DNR officials say sales typically peak in the early evening on the day before the opener.