Weather Forecast

Close

Better than expected

A young buck moves through the woods near Gordon recently. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

The buck harvest is up in northern Wisconsin — substantially.

After just two days, Douglas County was already closing in on last year’s total for the entire nine-day gun deer season.

Preliminary opening weekend numbers showed a nearly 58 percent increase in the buck harvest over last year. The Department of Natural Resources reported 1,166 bucks were killed in Douglas County over the opening weekend. During the entire 2015 nine-day hunt, Douglas County hunters killed only 1,276 bucks.

“We expected it to go up, but not as much as it did,” said Greg Kessler, DNR wildlife biologist.

The northern forest zone as a whole saw a 26 percent increase in its buck kill on the opening weekend compared to one year ago. It was the only zone with a higher opening-weekend total in 2016 than 2015.

Wisconsin’s other three zones combined saw a 3.7 percent drop in buck harvest numbers Saturday and Sunday.

According to Kessler, weather may have made the difference in northern Wisconsin.

“The snow is a big game-changer for us up here,” he said.

Hunters in other regions of the state faced windy conditions and a brown landscape, but in the north hunters enjoyed a fresh blanket of snow for opening weekend.

More snow is expected before the end of the nine-day hunt.

“I think it’s almost a given that the overall harvest will exceed last year” in the northern forest zone, Kessler said.

The buck harvest totals seen in the opening weekend may not hold for the full season, but Kessler believes a 10 to 20 percent increase is likely.

The total gun buck harvest for all seasons in Douglas County has not topped 2,000 since 2012, and it has not reached 3,000 since 2007.

NOTES: Northern Wisconsin was the only region to see an uptick in the overall harvest on opening weekend. Hunters took 4,240 more deer in the northern zone this year, almost a 28 percent jump. Statewide, hunters took 7,467 fewer deer than in 2015, a nearly 10-percent drop. … Douglas County is currently in the midst of its third consecutive bucks-only season. It is one of 10 counties with a zero antlerless quota this year.

Opening Weekend Comparison

2016 Season

                                                    Bucks   Antlerless   Total

Bayfield....................................... 1,270          116         1,386

Marinette..................................... 1,267          248         1,515

Burnett........................................ 1,192          700         1,892

Douglas...................................... 1,166          148         1,314

Rusk............................................ 1,116          359         1,475

Washburn................................... 1,086          975         2,061

Taylor.......................................... 1,015          518         1,533

Langlade....................................... 906           265         1,171

Price............................................. 880           205         1,085

Oneida.......................................... 868           116           984

Sawyer......................................... 834            10            844

Lincoln.......................................... 822           196         1,018

Vilas.............................................. 598            87            685

Forest........................................... 535            10            545

Florence........................................ 509            92            601

Ashland........................................ 405             5             410

Oconto.......................................... 382           109           491

Iron............................................... 185            13            198

TOTAL....................................... 15,114       4,221       19,335

 

 

2015 Season

                                                    Bucks   Antlerless   Total

Marinette..................................... 1,315          311         1,626

Burnett.......................................... 998           307         1,305

Taylor............................................ 971           528         1,499

Washburn..................................... 864           631         1,495

Bayfield........................................ 847            87            934

Rusk............................................. 829           321         1,150

Douglas....................................... 739           123           862

Langlade....................................... 718           107           825

Lincoln.......................................... 656           226           882

Oneida.......................................... 645           121           766

Sawyer......................................... 588            70            658

Price............................................. 587            84            671

Oconto.......................................... 510           126           636

Vilas.............................................. 447            90            537

Florence........................................ 433            55            488

Forest........................................... 409            74            483

Ashland........................................ 248            19            267

Iron............................................... 109            14            123

TOTAL....................................... 11,974       3,300       15,274

Advertisement