Big Opening Weekend Deer Harvest
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
Thousands of hunters are coming home with more deer than last year. The DNR says it's proof the deer population is rebounding in Wisconsin.
Ron Birling comes home with 10-points.
"Our area we've seen a good number of deer. The warm weather we've been having they're not moving as much," Birling said.
And he's not alone, by car load and tractor load--deer come in by the hundreds at Haen Meat Packing in Kaukauna.
"There's quite a few big ones coming in this year. They seem like they're a little bigger than normal," co-owner Tom Haen said.
The DNR says 134,772 deer were harvested over opening weekend of gun deer season. That's up 19% from last year.
"All things lined up for a good opening weekend--weather wise and deer population wise," DNR Wildlife Supervisor Jeff Pritzl said.
In Northeast Wisconsin alone 16% more deer were harvested so far this season.
"Only two years ago we were talking about deer harvests were the lowest we've seen in 15 or 20 years, and hunters were really concerned. Here we are two years later, and we're pushing the record books on the other end," Pritzl said.
Across the state buck registration is up 25%. For Birling it's a sign of more points to come.
"It should end up being a pretty good year," Birling said.
The DNR says about 60% of the harvest happens during opening weekend. They expect another 130,000 deer to be taken before the season ends Sunday.