MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin wildlife officials say deer hunters bagged fewer deer on the opening weekend of the gun season than they did a year ago.
The state Department of Natural Resources says hunters shot more than 85,800 deer, about 14,000 fewer than the traditional opener last year.
That’s a decrease of 14% overall. Hunters shot 7% fewer bucks than a year ago.
The State Journal reports that the number of deer shot in the northern woods was up by 9%. Those gains were offset by lower numbers in other zones, particularly the southern farmland area, where registrations were down 24%.
DNR officials say more hunters are opting for archery, crossbow and earlier seasons.
"We've had a shift in more participation in the archery and cross bow seasons and that harvest has been growing," Jeff Pritzl with the Wisconsin DNR said. "So, if you were trying to interpret what it meant this weekend, it's mitigated by harvests that have happened prior to the 9 day season."
Overall hunters have registered more than 179,000 deer so far this year.