Published November 22, 2011, 12:00 AM

Wisconsin deer harvest up over opening weekend

Wisconsin deer hunters registered 112,581 deer over the first weekend of the firearms hunting season that started Saturday.

By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune

Wisconsin deer hunters registered 112,581 deer over the first weekend of the firearms hunting season that started Saturday.

More than 600,000 hunters purchased licenses.

The preliminary weekend harvest is up 5.6 percent from 2010’s weekend harvest of 106,404 deer.

Preliminary buck harvest statewide in 2011 was 57,977 (54,263 in 2010) and preliminary antlerless harvest was 54,604 (52,141 in 2010.)

Douglas County’s preliminary total for the weekend was 1,386 registered, down from last year’s 1,675, with most of the decline coming from fewer antlerless deer registered.

Ashland County’s harvest was up, with 600 deer registered compared to 386 for last year. Bayfield County was about the same as 2010 — 1,375 this year compared to 1,351 last year.

“We want to remind folks that these preliminary numbers come from a staff call-around to deer registration stations,” said Tom Hauge, director of the Department of Natural Resources wildlife management program. “The final opening weekend tally will likely be somewhat larger, when all the registration stubs are entered into the database over the next couple of months.”

The department’s license sales office reported 603,919 gun deer licenses sold by the start of shooting hours on Saturday. Deer license and tag sales will continue through the hunting season.

The long custom for many hunters of buying a license on the way to deer camp also is intact. DNR licensing managers reported selling a record 99,998 licenses on Friday. At one point in late afternoon Friday, computers showed license sales coming in at a rate of 220 per minute.

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