Waupaca County is traditonally one of Wisconsin’s leading counties when it comes to white-tailed deer harvest.
That trend continued this year, as hunters bagged 3,667 deer – 2,139 bucks and 1,528 antlerless deer – during the first two days of the nine-day gun deer hunt, according to preliminary figures from the state Department of Natural Resources.
Only Polk (4,359) and Sauk (3,817) counties had higher totals.
Totals for other area counties include Waushara, 1,729 (921 bucks, 808 antlerless); Portage, 1,965 (1,276 bucks, 689 antlerless); Winnebago, 534 (274 bucks, 260 antlerless); Outagamie, 1,319 (741 bucks, 578 antlerless); and Shawano, 2,183 (1,364 bucks, 819 antlerless).
More than 600,000 hunters were on their stands Saturday, Nov. 19, for opening day. By the end of the weekend, a preliminary call-in tally showed hunters registered 112,581 deer over the two day period.
“As I listened to deer hunters over the opening weekend, there is a lot of excitement about the changes implemented this year, particularly the fact that hunters are no longer required to harvest an antlerless deer before harvesting their first buck in the CWD zone,” DNR Executive Assistant Scott Gunderson said. “As we all expected, this change is extremely popular amongst hunters, which is important, as the DNR wants the hunting public to buy-in to our herd management structure.
“It is also important to remember that harvesting antlerless deer remains an important part of deer management in Wisconsin,” he added. “I would encourage hunters to keep this in mind as they hunt the remaining days of the traditional season and when they return to the woods during the December statewide antlerless hunt and the holiday hunt in the CWD management zone.”
“We want to remind folks that these preliminary numbers come from a staff call-around to deer registration stations this morning,” said Tom Hauge, director of the DNR’s wildlife management program. “The final opening weekend tally will likely be somewhat larger, when all the registration stubs are entered into the data base over the next couple of months.”
Hunters experienced mixed weather throughout Wisconsin, including snow, rain turning to snow and moderate temperatures. The 2011 preliminary count was up about 5.8 percent from the opening weekend count of 106,404 from 2010. Preliminary buck harvest statewide in 2011 was 57,977 (54,263 in 2010) and preliminary antlerless harvest was 54,604 (52,141 in 2010).
“This is Wisconsin’s 160th modern era deer gun season,” Hauge said. “It is a fall family tradition cherished by over 600,000 hunters. These preliminary numbers are just a small part of the event we know as opening weekend. I suspect for every deer reported, there are 10 great deer camp stories out there. It appears that this season is well on its way to creating lifelong memories.”