The 2016 Wisconsin deer harvest numbers are in, and all signs point to a healthy herd statewide, with a total deer harvest (to date) of almost 200,000 animals.

According to the Wisconsin DNR, Nearly 600,000 hunters were in the Wisconsin woods during the 9-day firearms season this year, and the official deer harvest report is quite interesting.

“The gun deer hunt is one of our more anticipated outdoor traditions, and it’s very important to Wisconsin’s economy and conservation while providing millions of hours of enjoyment in the field,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “White-tailed deer are one of our greatest natural resources, and it’s exciting to see the passion so many people have for hunting and conservation in our state.”

Preliminary registration figures indicate a total of 97,892 hunters were successful in their pursuit of a buck, an increase of 5,282 (5.7 percent) compared to 2015. Overall, preliminary registration figures show that 196,785 deer were harvested during the 9-day gun deer hunt, compared to 198,057 in 2016.

“While many factors influence hunter success, the buck harvest is one of our best indicators of how the population is responding to harvest strategies in the Forest Zones,” said DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang. “The harvest is never uniform just as deer densities aren’t uniform, but overall it is encouraging to see the increase in the northern counties, and statewide harvest levels similar to last year,” said Wallenfang.

In 2016, 598,867 gun deer licenses were sold through the end of the 9-day gun deer season, compared to 612,377 in 2015. In total, 834,092 gun, archery and crossbow licenses licenses have been sold through the end of the 9-day gun deer season, compared to 849,778 in 2015.

For the 9-day gun deer hunt, the 2016 regional harvest breakdown by region (with percent change from 2015) included:

  • Northern Forest Zone: 23,445 (30 percent increase) antlered and 8,955 (21 percent increase) antlerless;
  • Central Forest Zone: 5,067 (2 percent decrease) antlered and 2,943 (2 percent decrease) antlerless;
  • Central Farmland Zone: 48,872 (1.4 percent increase) antlered and 62,612 (8.2 percent decrease) antlerless;
  • Southern Farmland Zone: 20,508 (3.4 percent decrease) antlered and 24,383 (10 percent decrease) antlerless;
  • Total: 97,892 (5.7 percent increase) antlered and 98,893 (6.2 percent decrease) antlerless.

Image courtesy WIDNR Flickr

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