DNR releases early numbers from the gun deer opener - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

DNR releases early numbers from the gun deer opener


Eau Claire (WQOW) – Enthusiasm was high, but the temperatures were low, and that left a mark on the Wisconsin Gun-Deer opener.

The DNR has released some preliminary numbers from the opening weekend harvest. Statewide, more than 110,000 deer were registered which is down 18% from a year ago.  Across Chippewa, Dunn and Eau Claire counties there were 6,686 deer registered over the weekend, compared to 7,890 in 2012.

The big difference between the two openers was the temperature.  Last year there was a high of 55 degrees compared to just 18 degrees on Saturday.

"With the cold conditions it was very difficult for a lot of people to stay out in the woods," says DNR Conservation Warden J. J. Redemann.  "But what we found is that the hunters that did stay out in the woods were fairly successful."

"The thing is you need to look at it from the long-term perspective, you can see fluctuations from year to year but really what's more important is the long-term view," adds Regional Wildlife Program Manager Kris Belling.  "Yeah this year's harvest was down from last year, last year's was up from the three years prior to that.  So in the west-central district, even though it was down from last year is still higher than it was 3 years previous to that."

A hunter from Baldwin died during opening weekend. He was found in the woods not far from his pickup truck.  Saturday night family members called law enforcement after they were unable to reach Mark Grognet by phone and were worried.

Saint Croix County deputies found his truck along Highway NN in Cady Township and his body nearby. The sheriff's office says there were no signs of physical trauma and foul play is not suspected. Grognet was 54. 

Hunter and actor Jay Leggett collapsed after returning from a deer stand over the weekend.  
It happened late Saturday afternoon near Tomahawk.  Family members and paramedics performed CPR without success. Legget, a Hollywood producer and actor has appeared with some of comedy's biggest names. He returns home to Tomahawk each year for deer camp to join family and friends. Legget was 50. 

At least two other hunters were hurt in opening weekend accidents. A 52-year-old man was shot in the leg in Sheboygan County.  In Grant County a 32-year-old man shot himself in the hand. 

"As of the close of opening weekend, we had 6 shooting accidents in the state, they were all non-fatal.  None of them were in the west-central region, they are all under investigation," adds Redemann.  "As of last year through the whole 9 day season we had 7 accidents and we are already up to 6, so we encourage everyone to be safe with their firearms and have a safe hunt out there."

The gun deer season runs through Sunday.


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