Hunters registered 49 percent fewer bucks during the opening weekend of the rifle deer season in Sawyer County compared to last year, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Hunters registered 438 bucks Nov. 23-24 in the county compared to 870 during opening weekend in 2018. Also during opening weekend, hunters registered 221 antlerless deer this year compared to 269 last year, a drop of 17 percent. Overall, the total deer taken were 659 this year, a drop of 42 percent from last year’s 1,139.

The season continues through Sunday, Dec. 1.

State-wide, a total 90,286 deer were harvested by gun and registered statewide during the opening weekend of the gun deer hunt in 2019, compared to 123,090 in 2018. A total of 46,866 bucks were registered on opening weekend, compared to 67,636 in 2018.

Hunter reports of deer activity varied around the state and within regions. Some reported excellent deer activity while others reported very little, including in areas where deer abundance is known to be high. Reports of rutting activity were far less common compared to last year, which was expected with the latest possible gun season opening date.

"In 2018, we held the earliest possible deer season followed by the latest possible season in 2019. This occurred between the 2012-13 and 2007-08 seasons as well, and we saw similar declines in opening weekend registration totals," said DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang.

With temperatures staying low and snow coming to many parts of the state mid-week, hunters can expect more opportunities for success and are encouraged to head out to enjoy the remainder of the nine-day season hunting with family and friends.

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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