Promising signs ahead of state’s gun deer season

The archery and crossbow hunters' success so far points to a promising gun season.
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 12:31 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - More than half a million hunters will take to the woods and fields of Wisconsin this weekend.

Saturday marks the start of the state’s annual nine-day gun deer season, and there are some promising signs ahead of this year’s hunt.

With the gun deer season always centered around Thanksgiving, DNR Deer Program Specialist Jeff Pritzl says the calendar is shaping up to a friend of hunters this year.

“The opening day on the 19th is getting closer to it’s earliest possible opener which means it’s getting closer to the breeding season which is going on right now, and that can also positively affect natural deer movement over opening weekend,” explains Pritzl.

And for those hunting in farmland zones around the state, there will likely be less areas for the deer to take cover.

“Agricultural harvest right now is pretty much on track with the norms as well which is good news, it means most of the standing corn should be off in the farmland zones opening weekend, that’s good news for the farmland deer hunters, takes away a little bit of that extra hiding cover and sanctuary where deer like to hang out in standing corn,” says Pritzl.

When it comes to the hunt, Pritzl expects most hunters to simply stay put in their deer stands.

“Another thing that we’ve seen change over time with the gun season is that the hunting strategy has evolved and become more like the strategies that archers use throughout the year in as much as hunters tend to choose a strategic position and stay put and let the deer move and come to them as opposed to taking a more active role in trying to move the deer,” says Pritzl.

With half of the gun deer hunters also possessing an archery or crossbow license and already having spent time in the woods, their success rate so far points to a promising gun season.

“Tracking the harvest trends that we’ve seen so far this year, everything is right on course with our five year average harvest that we’ve seen in recent years, the antlerless deer harvest is actually running a little bit ahead of the five year average so that in itself portends well for the upcoming gun season,” says Pritzl.