Wisconsin's 2016 nine day gun season for whitetail deer has wrapped up with over 590,000 deer hunters taking part in the annual harvest. Compared to last season overall harvest numbers were down a bit, but buck harvest numbers were up in some zones.
The saturday morning opener was made a bit more challenging than usual with winds gusting to 40 MPH in many areas of the state. High winds make seeing deer more difficult, and hearing them next to impossible. Deer tend to hunker down and not move much in such windy conditions. As a result, harvest numbers for opening day were down. A lack of snow throughout much of the state also made things a bit more challenging.
Sunday morning winds were much more bearable, and more deer were seen moving about on sunday vs saturday in many areas of the state.
Buck harvest numbers were up nearly 6% in 2016 with nearly 100,000 buck tags filled. The northern section of the state produced the highest jump in buck harvest rates.
Numbers for the archery and crossbow hunting seasons are not yet computed. The muzzle-loader season will add numbers to the harvest numbers, as will the doe only season and the holiday hunt which takes place in late December through early January.
2016 was the first year deer hunters were allowed to hunt without back tags displaying their deer hunting licenses during both the gun and archery seasons. Not having to register harvested deer by bringing the carcass to a registration station is welcomed by many hunters.