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2019 vs 2020 Opening Weekend Harvest Comparison

12/1/20 @ 9:44 AM
USER SINCE 4/17/07

Still waiting on the final 9 day harvest numbers but it is interesting to compare opening weekend from this year to last year. Overall harvest is up 2.3% from 2019, but 2019 harvest was down 25% from 2018 so not much of an improvement. A disturbing trend in my opinion. Makes me sick to see how many doe tags are still available for purchase.


12/1/20 @ 9:41 PM

The temporary numbers for the gun kill are in, Wisconsin hunters did well as a state. up from last years kill thanks to the rut still being in progress and for such beautiful weather. One of the nicest gun season for weather in my hunting career. The department can not use weather as an excuse for a lower than expected harvest. They are going to be doing a big push to get hunters to pound the does in the upcoming seasons. I was taught that we are harvesting conservationists, it is ok to take what you can use/eat, but save some for next year. If you are still looking for some venison good luck, if you were fortunate enough to harvest some congrats.

12/1/20 @ 4:18 PM
phishin phool

Well, I have a totally different perspective then, I bet the better part of ya'll. I am gonna post it anyway. I am an older person with disabilities, and now use a crossbow. I grew up hunting but did not go after deer until later in life. Being in the military I was "lucky" to be stationed different places. I learned to bow hunt in South Dakota. Then got stationed in Germany. Whole different concept over there. After "retiring" in '89 and moving to Wisconsin I began deer hunting. Tags were "hunters choice" and since you can not eat antlers I always shot does. Learned in what you shoot. Genes and all that. I will NOT shoot a young buck!!! Anything less than 2 years gets a "free pass". This is the 2 year I (so far) I have not filled a "tag". There were 5 different bucks on my trail cams. I let every one of them walk. Does, still have their fawns. They get a pass. All the bucks I had on my trail cams are "gone". This has gone longer then I intended...not sure what was trying to say...Maybe it is the concept of..."if it has antlers over 3 inches I can shoot it"!!! Or, maybe it is all how you were taught or your ethics. LOL, yeah I know, you can not eat ethics...but, you can't eat antlers, either. I'll sign off, for now, and let all ya'll ponder on what I have written. Be it good or not, I figure it could be enlightening. Be careful and stay safe!!!

12/1/20 @ 1:38 PM
USER SINCE 7/20/09

I'm right there with you on that.  I don't get nearly as excited for gun season anymore.  The people who only hunt that time of year, sure I get it.  I'm that way too in early September before archery.  By the time gun season roles around I usually have a few deer and am less motivated.

I can always tell its gun season by my cameras.  When they stop getting pictures, it means its gun season.  I could never gauge deer numbers by gun season alone.

12/1/20 @ 12:09 PM
USER SINCE 5/19/06

The troubling and continuing trend of bucks getting shot before rifle season is increasing as crossbow/archery kills were up in most counties.  More deer don't even make it to rifle season to begin with.

Why is this trend troubling? Stringed weapon northern forest buck harvest, with several weeks to go, is up almost 26% from last years total. I’d bet when it’s all said and done northern forest total buck harvest will be up 10-15% from last year. 

I see no problem with hunting pressure being more spread out (archery licenses up over 8%). I don’t think comparing nine day gun season harvests from 5-10 years ago is even really valid anymore with so much hunting effort being transferred to archery seasons (and even muzzleloader too). It’s hard to blame the average Joe Public with no access to private land for wanting to hunt in October  (or December) vs the nine day rat race of a gun season. The times are changing, the nine day gun season is no longer the be all end all of Wisconsin hunting seasons. I don’t see that as troubling at all in light of the 20+ year overall downward trend in participation. Unless of course you think Joe Public isn’t worthy of being in the woods in early November....  

12/1/20 @ 12:07 PM
USER SINCE 12/14/14

Can't blame the weather this year. Hunted everyday but Tuesday. Seems like there is so much pressure on public land that the deer are nocturnal before and through the gun season. 

12/1/20 @ 10:21 AM

Sure, if you trust the numbers.  Poaching was rampant back in the 50s, 60s and 70s.  Every crew shot illegal deer back then, and often out of season. 

Don't forget also, slight uptick in the harvest numbers for opening weekend.  Also don't forget, 3.2% license sales increase this year - more people in the woods should result in more deer registered.  I will also wait for the final numbers before chiming in much, but not looking good again for at least the Northern Forest region.  The troubling and continuing trend of bucks getting shot before rifle season is increasing as crossbow/archery kills were up in most counties.  More deer don't even make it to rifle season to begin with.

12/1/20 @ 10:17 AM
USER SINCE 4/17/07

I don't think harvesting does was very popular back then like it is now. I remember my Grandpa saying they never shot does. Current buck harvest appears to be the same as 1987. Interesting graph, I will have to spend some time looking through individual counties. 

12/1/20 @ 10:06 AM
USER SINCE 7/20/09

Depends what you are comparing it to, look at the 60's and 70's.

That's the thing with statistics, you can pick and choose what you look at to prove basically any point.  Could say its much better than 60 years ago, or could say its terrible compared to 10 years ago.

12/1/20 @ 9:58 AM

I wish they could capture the deer in certain areas that are heavily populated with deer and place them in areas that the populations are lower. Some areas of the state you can shoot as many does as you want then a county or two away the populations are way lower. With CWD is so many counties and probably expenses I doubt the DNR will ever do that.

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