State blames weather for low deer hunt numbers

DNR: More than 90K deer registered opening weekend

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials blame winter weather for low deer gun hunt registration numbers during the beginning of 2014’s harvest.

“We had some icy roads and stuff that made it a little more difficult to get out there, little bit colder weather. Kind of brisk out in the woods,” State Conservation Warden Jake Donar said. “So the hunters weren’t out there typically as long as they’d like to be on opening weekend.”

Statewide, the DNR reports 90,281 deer were registered during opening weekend, an 18.5-percent drop when compared to the 110,797 registered during last year’s opening weekend. However Dane County’s 22-percent drop this year not only out averages the state drop but also the southern district’s 19-percent average change.

“A little bit slower on opening weekend. But from what I’ve seen from hunters that were able to get out during the week, and then this weekend too, there’s a pretty good number of deer getting harvested. And a lot of success stories,” Donar said.

While Jake Stiner and his four buddies were excited to get two bucks and two doe on the final harvest day, the last eight days brought the group a lot of frustration.

“I’d say something’s different this year than last year,” Stiner said. “Normally opening weekend you get up in your stand and expect success.”

“But we didn’t even hear shots. We didn’t even hear shooting this year,” hunter Dylan Syvrud said.

Of the four deer this group registered at Morgan’s in Pine Bluff, bar and grill employees say in total they have registered about 150 this year.

“We were successful to find one of those pockets and had a successful drive and got some meat for the winter,” Stiner said.

This group members said one of the bucks they shot is in honor of their friend Dan Lucey, who died while harvesting a buck on opening day.

While deer gun hunting season may be over, muzzleloader season starts Dec. 1 and continues through Dec. 10, while crossbow season continues until Jan. 4.