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2019 Gun Deer Season Ends – Initial Harvest Numbers Available

The gun deer hunting season for 2019 has officially ended, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has released the preliminary numbers for both license sales and harvest. License numbers were down slightly for all categories, and deer registration numbers were down about 25% compared to 2018.

By The Numbers

Preliminary numbers released by the WI DNR show a 2.02% drop in licenses for the 9-day gun season compared to last year (564,664 vs. 576,277) and a 1.40% drop across gun, bow, and crossbow (792,548 vs. 803,772).  However, there are still some extended and special seasons left for this year, so those numbers may change.

The number that stands out is the number of deer registrations.  They dropped from 213,972 in 2018 to 160,769 this year–a 25% difference.  While that may seem significant, it’s not the whole story.

Understanding the Numbers

The first thing to take into consideration is that the numbers released are preliminary.  Though the official deadline for registering deer has passed, the DNR does accept registrations for a short time past that deadline.

Secondly, the 2019 deer hunting season isn’t over.   The 9-day “unrestricted” gun season has ended, but there are still 5 more “limited” seasons1The information released by the DNR includes 2 special seasons which are open in both December and January.  Based on the wording of the information, we are assuming that these numbers are included in the 2019 season. which run through Jan 31, 2020.

Lack of snow, standing corn, severe weather and other factors also played a part.

The lower harvest wasn’t unexpected.  The 2018 season was set to the earliest possible dates, while the 2019 season was set to the latest possible dates.  Historically, this shift in the season has resulted similar drops in registration numbers.

Injuries Also Dropped

Only 4 injuries were reported during gun season.  Two of those were self-inflicted (both shooting themselves in the left foot), and two were the result of shots fired by others.  None of the incidents were fatal.

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 The information released by the DNR includes 2 special seasons which are open in both December and January.  Based on the wording of the information, we are assuming that these numbers are included in the 2019 season.

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