Gun deer hunt forecast looking bright - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Gun deer hunt forecast looking bright

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Eau Claire (WQOW)- The nine-day hunt is part of Wisconsin's fabric and it is big business; generating more than $1 billion for the state's economy. 

"This is the earliest that the deer season will ever be," points out DNR Wildlife Supervisor Kris Belling.

The earlier the season starts, the closer hunters will be to the heart of mating season; which can be a very distracting time for deer.

"The rut is still in process and so you've got deer that are more active," Belling explains.  "Bucks in particular are a little bit dumber this time of year.  They are focused on things other than necessarily surviving the hunt."

For some area bow hunters, the season can't begin early enough.

"I've been seeing a lot of deer; a lot of them just out of range or they turn around before they walk into my shooting lane or whatever.  Deer that would have been very easy to harvest with a shotgun or rifle." remembers DNR Wildlife Biologist Jess Carstens.

The DNR says west central Wisconsin should be a very good destination for hunters this gun deer season.  That's because in a majority of areas where people will hunt, deer numbers in those areas are more than 20 percent higher than population goals.

The DNR gives Mother Nature some of the credit for the increase.

"With everybody kind of knowing that all the deer made it through last winter in very good health and fawn production should have been very good this spring," Carstens says.

As far as the weather goes, it's just cold enough to take away some of the cover deer like to hide behind.

"The corn is down," points out DNR Spokesman Ed Culhane.  "In those years where we have had corn standing at the beginning of the deer season, that's very bad because deer love to hide in corn fields."

But there is one thing that could improve the conditions: snow.  Deer are easier to track in the snow.

"You can pick out a brown deer in the brown woods a little bit better if there is a white background," points out Carstens.

The gun deer season begins Saturday.  The DNR says the mild winter allowed more fawns to survive this year, which could further help deer numbers down the line.

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