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Deer hunt up 7.7 percent from last year

A whitetail buck stands in an open field. photo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Wisconsin hunters shot seven-point-seven percent more deer than a year ago. That's according to preliminary figures released this afternoon for the nine-day gun season that ended Sunday.

The DNR said hunters registered almost 244-thousand deer. About $115,000 bucks were taken, 12-percent more than last year. The antlerless harvest totaled 129,000, an increase of four-percent. The state ended up selling 644,000 deer licenses, two-percent more than last year. Almost 30-thousand of them were heavily discounted to encourage first-time hunters to get into the woods.

Officials reported seven shooting incidents during the gun season, and one hunting death. A 27-year-old Douglas County man was shot by his hunting partner, who mistook him for a deer. There was also a report that a Milwaukee man was found shot to death on federal land that was open to hunting at Fort McCoy. There was no immediate word that a hunter shot the victim, and the Army has been investigating. Meanwhile, deer hunting is not over.

This is the second day of the muzzle-loader season, and bow hunters are still in the woods. There's also an antlerless hunt from December sixth-through-ninth, plus a holiday hunt in the southern Wisconsin CWD zones from Christmas Eve through January sixth.