OCONTO Wis.- It's the day hunters have been waiting for the entire year, opening day for the gun-deer season. Some hunters are already bringing in big bucks, but there are some changes this year since the DNR lifted the rifle ban across the entire state.
Travis Drewery has been hunting for 11 years. Today he is back in his hometown of Oconto and he couldn't have asked for a better opening day.
"I was out there maybe 20-30 minutes and then I saw my buck come running out on the trail so I shot him and dropped him," explained Drewery.
His buck weighed in around 160 lbs. and was shot with his prize rifle.
"I call it Old Faithful, it's my favorite rifle," said Drewery.
Drewery, along with all other hunters is learning new rules because the DNR lifted the ban on rifle use in the remaining 18 counties in the state that previously enforced the ban.
"It was something the public came to us and asked for that change so we looked at it and evaluated it from a safety standpoint and there was no safety concerns that we could see or had," said DNR warden, Todd Schaller.
Sheriff's Departments for surrounding counties say they have been getting calls from hunters asking about rifle use. Deputies explain hunters should call town authorities, since each individual town decides whether or not to allow rifles.
"It gives you a more accurate shot. Shotguns kind of scatter a little more. I would prefer that rifles would be allowed everywhere because then I can go more places," said Drewery.
There were 4 injuries on opening day of deer season, including one in Kewaunee County. All of those injuries were considered minor. The DNR believes the cold played a factor in those injuries.