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Fewer deer registered at area stations than in 2012

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In general, hunters registered fewer animals in this area during the nine-day gun-deer season ending Sunday than a year ago.

The following numbers are from registration stations providing figures to the Herald Monday of this week and at the conclusion of last year’s hunt:

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Ellsworth, SuperAmerica, 406 (2013), 945 (2012); Elmwood, Sandbar, 522 (’13), 579 (’12); Hager City, 63 Express, 241 (’13), 291 (’12); Maiden Rock, 35 Express, 465 (’13), 496 (’12); Martell, Red Barn, 295 (’13), 389 (’12); Plum City, Dean’s Bar, 630 (’13), 674 (’12); Prescott, Bob and Steve’s BP Amoco, 139 (’13), 161 (’12); River Falls, Bob and Steve’s BP Amoco, 443 (’13), 463 (’12); and Spring Valley, Sneaker’s Pub, 188 (’13), 279 (’12).

There was a total of 3,329 deer registered in the county this season, compared to 4,250 registered here last season.

Opening weekend information from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) showed a total of 2,031 deer registered throughout Pierce County, down from the 2,460 registered during the county opener in 2012.

Hunters killed 110,797 deer statewide for this season’s opening, down nearly 18 percent from the first two days of the ’12 season. The buck harvest was down dramatically, with hunters in Wisconsin killing 53,865 bucks, a decrease of 25 percent from the 71,989 of last year. The antlerless harvest this time was down nine percent from 2012.

Temperatures dipping to five degrees at sunrise and winds gusting to more than 30 miles per hour made for challenging conditions for the 2013 opener in the state. In Pierce County, the snow cover was minimal.

“The predawn cold and winds made it clear that opening morning was going to test the will of deer hunters today,” said Tom Hauge, wildlife management director for the Department of Natural Resources, who was hunting on opening day near Plain in Sauk County. “Even our blind did not offer much shelter. Snicker candy bars are frozen solid, but still a treat.”

Kurt Thiede, DNR Land Division administrator, said “even the squirrels were hunkered down today,” near his hunting stand for the opener in Southeast Richland County. “There were a few distant shots from the ridge tops and valleys, but I didn't hear any shots from our guys. That wasn’t the story everywhere, though, as I headed in to warm up and get some brunch, I had a nice buck with an 18-inch wide spread on a tailgate go by."

It didn’t start out as windy in the north, but very cold temperatures and up to six inches of snow on the ground in some areas made it a frigid opening.

“The morning started out nice in the Northwoods,” said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist who was aging deer at a registration station in Conover on the first day. “We heard about a dozen shots before the wind picked up at 8 a.m.”

For more please read the Dec. 4 print version of the Herald. 

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