Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season started under mostly sunny skies last Saturday morning and runs through this Sunday, Dec. 1.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) an­nounced it would release preliminary harvest totals for the opening weekend on Tuesday, Nov. 26, following the Vilas County News-Review’s Monday night deadline.

For the first time in a decade, all Wisconsin counties have antlerless deer hunting opportunities due to a deer herd estimated at 1.8 million animals.

As of noon Nov. 22, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports and patron licenses reached 690,928. Of that total, 464,120 are for gun privileges only.

“Wisconsin’s hunting legacy runs deep. As folks are visiting with family and giving thanks this holiday week, many of you will also be making your way to hallowed grounds around the state,” said DNR Secretary-designee Preston Cole. “Having such a large deer herd, I am excited about what this proposes for the deer hunt and its impact across Wisconsin. Good luck to all hunters and be safe.”

Wisconsin is ranked second among all states in the number of resident and non-resident hunters.

With the latest opening day possible at Nov. 23, DNR wildlife experts predicted the rut would be over for bucks chasing does. 

The DNR reminds hunters that they must register their deer by 5 p.m. the day following the harvest of the animal. Registration is mandatory and is accomplished using one of the following methods:

• Online at game­reg.wi.gov (considered the fastest and easiest method).

• By phone at 1-844-426-3734.

• In person. Search for an in-person deer/bear registration station that provides a phone or computer for public use.

Hunters will need their unique tag number or harvest authorization number to begin the registration process. 

The nine-day hunt will run through Sunday, Dec. 1, and will be followed by a 10-day muzzleloader season Dec. 2-11 that is open to anyone with an unused carcass tag. The December four-day antlerless-only fire­arm hunt will be offered statewide Dec. 12-15 and no archery buck hunting is allowed during this season. An antlerless-only holiday hunt is planned Dec. 24 through Jan. 1, 2020, in select farmland zones.

Hunting injuries

The DNR is seeking the public’s help in the case of an adult male shot while deer hunting in Washburn County on Sunday, Nov. 24, of the opening weekend of the annual gun deer season, which so far has four hunting incidents.

The DNR’s Bureau of Law Enforcement is looking for information regarding individuals or groups who would have been hunting around 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, in the block of Washburn County land in the town of Minong bordered by these roads: East Sleepy Eye Road, south of Sleepy Eye Fire Land, north of Nancy Lake Road and west of CCC Road. 

Anyone with information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, may confidentially relay their information by text, phone call or online to the WDNR Violation Tip Line: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. For filing information online, the link is dnr.wi.gov/contact/hotline.html. The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trained staff relay report information to conservation wardens.

The DNR reported three other hunting incidents known by late afternoon on Nov. 24 that occurred in Oneida, Fond du Lac and Marathon counties. All occurred on opening day, Nov. 23.

In Oneida and Marathon counties, the two separate incidents involved hunters who discharged their fire­arms, striking their left feet. The Oneida County incident involved a 38-year-old male and the Marathon County incident involved a 29-year-old female.

In Fond du Lac County, a hunter shot toward a running deer and struck a 19-year-old female in the left hand.