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2019 Gun Deer Final Numbers

12/3/19 @ 12:08 PM
User since 4/1/05

Just released, 2019 vs. 2018: Total buck kill down 28.6%, total harvest down 24.9%.  Northern Forest region was the worst: buck kill down 39.5%, total harvest down 38.2%.

Post opening weekend quote: "In 2018, we held the earliest possible deer season followed by the latest possible season in 2019. This occurred between the 2012-13 and 2007-08 seasons as well, and we saw similar declines in opening weekend registration totals," said DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang. 

2012 antlered harvest: 119,469

2013 antlered harvest: 102,221, drop of 14.5%

2007 antlered harvest: 133,107

2008 antlered harvest: 103,845, drop of 22%

Yes, there were decreases if you only look at the variable as stated by DNR above.  Total harvest of 75,236 bucks in 2019 tells another story.  Even in the worst years, the total buck kill was down 25% on top of the decrease "due to a late start to the season."  The buck kill was down 19% from the lowest buck kill numbers in the last 13 years.  We are on a continued and readily apparent trend downward.

As I posted in another thread, pick the year and you get the same excuses from DNR: standing crops, no snow, late start date to season, and the best of all "lack of hunter effort."

Most of us had record snowfalls late in the season which has never been seen before.  The Winter Severity Index does not properly account for deep snow or extreme cold.  -1 degree counts the same as -30 degrees, and 18" of snow counts the same as 40" of snow according to their system.  I feel a lot of deer died last winter/spring, but we were told we had a record population and a moderate winter even though hundreds of barn roofs collapsed from all the snow.

Since we as hunters failed, and did not do our part to reduce this out of control population as DNR has told us about, I suspect DNR will offer more doe tags, more seasons, more weapons, and longer seasons since we all obviously are failing at hunting.  

I am guessing the number of licenses sold next year will drop even faster with the winter we are already having.  

1/16/20 @ 4:48 PM
User since 11/29/01

Next year Wisconsin gun deer sales will be down another 15,000. Most of the 15,000 that quit will be hunters that hunted north of HWY 8. The  deer kill will be lower and the predator kill will be higher, and even more counties will have more wolf kills that gun kills.  This is exactly what they want. They are anti hunters to the core that infiltrated the DNR . Kathy Stepp didn't even hunt till she got her DNR job. The one now is likely as bad. There was a time when central Wisconsin was not seeing a decline in deer sightings, but now , in Shawano and Waupaca, I have been hearing hunters say the deer numbers are way down. We even had a wolf kill in Shawano co. on a piece of land our family owns. It is just south of Red River . We are quite certain  it was a wolf. 

1/16/20 @ 4:23 PM
User since 12/7/13

The Madison Clowns are doubling down? They’re going to stick with the 40 deer per square mile 2 million record deer population in the state of Wisconsin ? Holy hell using SAK one more year and they’ll be able to get that population to show 3 million deer. 

After a nearly 50% drop in buck kills in a lot of Northern counties  they still claim they know exactly how many deer are out here ? There’s not a chance there are even 10 deer per square mile up north right now and they know it . 

The baiting ban did exactly what it was intended to do by the environmentalist so called WDNR game managers and we employ to manage our state deer herd. It greatly reduced the deer herd in the north exactly as planned . With the winters and predation we have there should be zero antlerless harvest north of 8 and probably north of Hwy 64 for good , and any and all baiting and supplemental feeding should be welcomed as it used to be. There just aren’t enough deer left over after predation to allow any antlerless harvest whatsoever anymore .

Anyone in our WDNR with the arrogance and stupidity to double down on claiming a population of 40 deer per square mile in the entire state of Wisconsin should be fired on the spot  after the season we just experienced  . Remember this when voting for our next Governor also ,elections do have consequences and the far  left is NEVER in the sportsman’s corner. 

1/16/20 @ 3:59 PM
User since 4/1/05

"my prediction is they'll say "studies show CWD isn't impacting the states herd so we are allowing baitin statewide".  you watch,  it's gonna happen.  It's all big business.  "

I don't know where you get this from and what baiting has to do with it.  DNR has been adamantly against baiting for a couple of decades....pick a reason.  First time it was because "baiting artificially increases deer populations."  This was the first attempt to "control deer populations."  Now the reason is "CWD is spread from concentrated food sites" even though bans have obviously made zero difference in CWD rate of spread.  DNR will never support baiting, and baiting has little to do with license sales.  By the way, I thought banning baiting would solve the "nocturnal movement" argument for gun hunters and hunting would be so much better without it...according to the masses that have blamed baiting for ruining hunting in the state.  Obvious results.  Look at Lincoln County: nearly a 50% drop in buck kill, baiting banned 2-3 years ago.  People who think baiting is the devil have overrated the importance of the pro/con argument.

"I wish WI would manage the herd and stop managing license sales.  "

I am of the belief the opposite is true.  Had they been concerned about license sales, why would you slaughter the deer?  Three major factors why people no longer hunt: 1) lack of access to hunting land, 2) lack of success, and 3) increasing hunter age.  The second and third reason can be changed positively if more deer are out in the woods - they are not managing for license sales.  Matter of fact, they are managing the herd perfectly as designed - control the deer population - the main tenet of deer management in WI.  That is all the DNR cares about, with little regard for success rates, age distribution, etc.  

"If you want more money,  raise all the licences and double the NR licenses. "

Against Economics 101: Raising license sales will cause more people to drop out, especially in conjunction with a poor product.  

"I know many that correlate their lack of success directly to the inability to drop food piles at the bottom of their stands."

Baiting was blamed for poor hunting before since it somehow changes the deer to being "nocturnal."  Now, bait bans are being blamed for lack of hunting success.  I get it.

1/16/20 @ 2:31 PM
User since 2/6/06

Correct.  You can't thin the heard to ridiculous levels and keep license revenue close to the same without marketing.  After 20 years of liberal doe tags to even say this years herd was the largest ever was a bunch of bologna to anyone with half a brain.  The DNR's actions and words have been in direct conflict with each other for a while now.  Either that or they are just too stupid to realize the proper solutions.  Opening up all these new seasons, extra tags, etc. makes you think they want the deer all killed.  They then pump up the herd in all their marketing pieces, even though it isn't the same and anyone who takes a drive out in the country semi regularly can tell you that sans a few small areas where landowners have grouped together to manager differently it is not close to where it used to be.  If they want all the deer killed at least be honest about it.  If you want revenue, make it a better hunt.  Cut down on doe kill.  Cut down on tags. Eliminate the t-zones and Holiday hunts.  The thing the DNR seems to not realize is "quality hunt" is not necessarily deer killed.  It's actually seeing deer.  Most hunters can only take so much seeing nothing before they get bored with it. Seeing deer also gives you hope and gets your blood pumping.  It makes you want to come back. Make it a quality hunt and then charge non-residents 3 times what they pay now and residents double.  It isn't hard but it seems the DNR either is incompetent or simply not honest with us.  

1/16/20 @ 2:13 PM
.Long Barrels
User since 12/9/14

LittleLuck -  They want the deer dead...but the problem is they want the revenues also.  money comes in,  success goes down and they lose hunters . Just watch,  my prediction is they'll say "studies show CWD isn't impacting the states herd so we are allowing baitin statewide".  you watch,  it's gonna happen.  It's all big business.  I wish WI would manage the herd and stop managing license sales.  

If you want more money,  raise all the licences and double the NR licenses.  

I know many that correlate their lack of success directly to the inability to drop food piles at the bottom of their stands.

1/16/20 @ 1:53 PM
User since 11/11/15

a bleeping joke filled with excuses and lies

The dnr are like children stomping their feet and saying I am not wrong and I am going to keep saying so. 

In psychology that's called projection...

1/16/20 @ 1:30 PM
User since 2/16/17


I totally agree this report to the dnr board is a bleeping joke filled with excuses and lies that should be appalling to hunters. It was likely put together by Kevin Wallenfang or his cronies in the DNR. Again if it came from Wallenfang he should be fired for his continued bogus information, population guestimates and excuses. Why can't the dnr just admit the deer aren't there and they are wrong with their population guestimates?  The dnr are like children stomping their feet and saying I am not wrong and I am going to keep saying so. Give it up dnr, hunters are not STUPID. Hunters need to push back in huge numbers and contact the dnr secretary,  the dnr board and your state legislators to end this crap, make major changes in the dnr and get deer hunting moving in the right direction. 

1/16/20 @ 12:19 PM
.Long Barrels
User since 12/9/14

Got to have the quiet time I guess.  Ever watch some guys walk into the woods ?  I have,  I have one buddy you'd think he was training for the Iron man.  dude sprints to his stand almost.  I'd have to say if there are any deer in the timber come opening morning of gun,  they already have a good idea there are 7 dudes from all directions pushing into that piece of ground.  

Many of the strictly gun hunters i know are the farthest from savvy or stealthy.  it's not about quiet's about sheer lack of deer in many places.  

1/16/20 @ 11:46 AM
User since 6/20/13

J/C- Thanks for posting.

Come on LB, don't you know that being able bow hunt up to the gun season takes away the "excitement from opening day"   (quote from NRB chair-Brehn).. Of course being able to hunt for 5 months now has nothing to do with any perceived lack of anticipation for the gun opener. And of course the DNR will just focus on the 2019 vs 2018 numbers.. As hunters we need to remind them of the overall harvest trends from the last 4-5 years being the lowest for most counties in 30-35 years..  


1/16/20 @ 9:15 AM
.Long Barrels
User since 12/9/14

proposal to close the bow season 2 days prior so the rifle hunters can have "quiet days".  LMFAO.  what a joke!!

 I'm so sick of the dumb DNR ploys to keep hunters.  It's sickening.   If these gun hunters aren't seeing deer,  I'd keep going back to the same place year after year. That's brilliant.  Give the gun guys two days to walk around in the woods prior to the season....yeah,  that's what most will do.  Walk around,  put in heaters,  hang stands....HMMMM wonder why we saw no deer. 


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