Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Wisconsin deer license sales, harvests down slightly in opening weekend

The preliminary deer harvest and license sale totals for the opening weekend of the 2023 gun deer season were down slightly compared to 2022, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Preliminary license sales data

As of midnight Sunday, Nov. 19, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports and conservation patron licenses reached 774,369. Of that total, 421,525 were for gun privileges only. The year-to-date sales for all deer licenses are down 0.61% from the same time last year.

The number of conservation patron licenses sold to date in 2023 is 1.5% higher than conservation patron licenses sold in 2022.

Of the total licenses sold, 65% were sold online, and 35% were sold in-person by DNR license agents and DNR service centers, which includes private businesses across the state.

Final license sales figures will be available in January, at which time DNR staff will perform a thorough analysis and interpretation.

Preliminary registration totals and future outlook

In total, hunters registered 92,050 deer statewide during the opening weekend of the 2023 gun deer hunt, compared to 103,623 registered for the same period in 2022. This is a 16% decrease from 2022 and 10% below the 5-year average. A majority of the decrease was due to a decline in antlerless deer harvest, which usually picks up over the second half of the season.

A total of 51,870 bucks were registered on opening weekend, compared to 56,638 in 2022. This is a 13% decrease over 2022.

Conditions for opening weekend this year were mostly clear and dry. Mornings were cold, crisp and quiet. Temperatures increased quickly each day, which seemed to suppress both hunter and deer movement somewhat in the afternoons.

Reports of breeding behavior were still coming from across the state, however not as common as some may have hoped, given the early start to the season on the calendar.

Registration of deer required with GameReg

All harvested deer must be registered electronically by 5 p.m. the day after the deer is recovered. Hunters have three options to register their deer:

Proper registration provides accurate harvest data for DNR wildlife managers and County Deer Advisory Councils for the management of deer in Wisconsin.

Opening weekend hunting incidents

The DNR reported two firearm-involved hunting incidents during the opening weekend of the 2023 gun deer season, Nov. 18-19.

  • Forest County, Argonne Township: On Nov. 18, 2023, in the morning hours, a 53-year-old male suffered a self-inflicted gunshot to the foot. The victim was walking to his tree stand on public property and adjusted his rifle sling when he accidentally pulled the trigger. The victim was transported to the hospital for non-life threating injuries.
  • Adams County, Big Flatts Township: On Nov. 19, 2023, in the morning hours, a 62-year-old male shot once at a dog, which he believed was an antlerless deer on private property. The 47-year-old female victim who was walking that dog was shot in her abdomen. The victim was transported via Med Flight for her injuries.

Comparatively, during the opening weekend of the 2022 gun deer season, the DNR reported six firearm-involved hunting incidents. Of those incidents, three were self-inflicted gunshots.

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