Wisconsin's gun-deer hunt season begins - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Wisconsin's gun-deer hunt season begins

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - It's the weekend many have been waiting all year for in Wisconsin. Hunters headed out to the woods Saturday morning for opening day of the gun-deer hunt.

This is the 161st annual nine-day deer hunt. DNR officials say they've sold nearly 615,000 licenses this year, a two percent increase over last year. They also say there's an increase in the number of female hunters headed out to the woods this year. But the temps in those woods were a little bit warm, which makes it more comfortable for hunters, but harder to bag that buck.

"Overall, pretty good hunting conditions, right now it's actually a little bit warm during the middle of the day which has probably dampened some of the rutting activity that we had hoped to see. I have gotten reports from people saying they are seeing bucks chasing does, but not all day long like you would kind of hope," says Kevin Wallenfang, a DNR Big Game Ecologist.

The DNR says because of the warm weather, there are concerns about venison spoiling. When the temperatures are above 40 degrees, harmful bacteria can grow quickly.  They say field dressing the deer immediately after harvest can prevent spoiling. Washing the body cavity with cold, clean water and putting it on ice or refrigerating it as soon as possible can also help. Leaving venison or other wild game in a car trunk or hanging it in the garage is not recommended. Even with the warm weather, the DNR is predicting the harvest will be good this year.

"In general, we would expect that the overall harvest would be up, we don't have any early numbers as far as the archery season went, but from what we've heard from hunters out there, they were seeing more deer, it seemed like they were taking an awful lot of them, and we would just simply anticipate that that's going to carry over into the overall harvest," Wallenfang says.

There are free deer carcass disposal returns in Eau Claire County again this year. There are two locations, open through December 10th. The Tower Ridge County Recreation area at the ski chalet parking lot in the town of Seymour, and Lake Eau Claire County Park at the east end of the parking lot in Augusta. Deer hides will also be collected. Proceeds from those hides help pay for the dumpsters.

The DNR says one hunter was injured in an accidental shooting in Manitowoc. That hunter was shot in the hand, and transported to the hospital.

 

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