Hunters registered nearly 8% more deer by the close of the 2012 gun deer season than last year. The DNR credits a growing herd in parts of the state.
A preliminary count by the Department of Natural Resources shows hunters registered 243,739 deer during the nine day gun deer season. That’s up 7.7% from 2011. More hunters trekked into the woods too bringing the total to more than 630,000. Kris Belling is a DNR Program Manager based in Eau Claire. She says the hunt was pretty productive though not everyone got a deer. She says the increase in deer registration numbers has a lot to do with management.
“For the last few years we have held off on the number of antlerless permits available and generally when you don’t shoot as many antlerless deer then you’re going to allow the herd to grow,” she says.
Belling says the DNR targeted certain parts of the state where herd numbers were faltering.
“We specifically tried to reduce the antlerless harvest to allow the herd to grow in the parts of the state where we knew the herd was a little bit low,” she says.
And though hunters lacked snow cover in much of the state Belling says the weather cooperated for the most part keeping hunters in the woods. Also, she says when the gun deer season started the rut was still on.
“So, when the deer are more active and more vulnerable that’s going to improve the chances of harvesting a deer," she says.
Belling says though the increase in the deer registration numbers is slight it means that the deer herd is growing, which is a plus for hunters but a bane for farmers and landowners.