Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Although figure from the DNR are not released until tomorrow, preliminary estimates put the overall harvest down from 343,644 last year. Opening weekend numbers came in last week at 133,828.
From the DNR:
MADISON - The march of deer hunting seasons continues over the next few weeks in Wisconsin. The traditional nine-day deer hunting season in Wisconsin closes on Sunday, Nov. 30, but a statewide muzzleloader season runs from Dec. 1 through Dec. 10, followed by a statewide antlerless deer only hunt Dec. 11 - 14.
The muzzleloader season is held statewide except in some state parks units.
Keith Warnke, deer ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources, says a steady growth in the number of deer registered during muzzleloader seasons is an indication of the growing popularity of muzzleloader hunting.
Muzzleloader seasons offer more relaxed and less crowded hunting in a more traditional style with hunters participating limited to firearms that are only capable of being loaded from the muzzle and without a scope that provides any magnification. Hunters should refer to the current Wisconsin deer hunting regulations pamphlet for specifics on caliber and other restrictions.
Blaze orange is still required clothing for all hunters, except waterfowl hunters, during any gun deer hunt, and blaze orange is required to be displayed on ground blinds used on DNR lands. The last of the 2008 waterfowl seasons close on Dec. 18, 2008.
In 2007, muzzleloader hunters registered 10,403 deer, down slightly from the 10,235 deer taken during the 2006 muzzleloader season. In 1991, the first year a special muzzleloader season was held, only a few more than 200 deer were taken.
Hunters who plan on participating in the muzzleloader deer hunting season should check the 2008 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulation Pamphlet for muzzleloader restrictions and deer tagging options.
Tim Lawhern, DNR hunter safety administrator, says muzzleloader hunters need to be aware of the possibility of misfires, in which powder does not ignite, or "hangfires," and there is a delay in the discharge.
"It is very important that muzzleloader hunters keep their powder dry. Misfires or hangfires can and do happen. When this happens they should point the muzzle in a safe direction for at least 30 seconds. By doing so, should the muzzleloader go off, it will not harm anyone."
More information on muzzleloader safety is available on the DNR Web site.
December 11-14 antlerless deer only gun hunt
The Dec. 11-14 antlerless deer only gun hunt is statewide and includes the central forest deer management units (DMUs 53, 54A, 55, 56 and 58). These central forest units were not part of an earlier October antlerless hunt because hunters there met a benchmark of two antlerless deer for every buck harvested ratio during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Hunters will need to maintain the 2:1 ratio or these units will again be part of the October antlerless hunt in 2009.
Additional gun hunting seasons in CWD units in late December
Residents and others recreating in the chronic wasting disease management zone may also hear and see signs of deer hunting during a Dec. 24 to Jan. 4, 2009 "Holiday" gun hunt. The Holiday hunt has an unlimited earn-a-buck structure.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke - (608) 264-6023 or Tim Lawhern, DNR law enforcement - (608) 266-1317