The Wisconsin Gun Deer Hunt
By Eric Clark | PUBLISHED November 24th, 2021
The woods were quiet on the Wisconsin gun deer season opener. Maybe too quiet. In years past, our deer camp crew rushed to the woods to make sure we beat the other hunters to our public land spots. This year was no different; we woke up early, went our stuff together, and beat everyone to the woods.
We did find it odd, though, that there didn't seem to be as much hunting pressure as years past. In some cases, hunting pressure from the blaze orange army is a good thing. When the woods fill up with hunters in droves, the deer tend to move a bit more, and that wasn't the case this season, and fewer hunters meant less deer movement.
Additionally, the moon was so bright on Friday night that some hunters thought the bright light helped the deer feed overnight, prohibiting the deer's need to get on the hoof and move about the forest.
According to some early reports from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel deer harvest numbers from the 2021 season are down 14% from gun deer season 2020.
The 2021 opening weekend registration included 47,529 bucks, 7% fewer than last year, and 38,331 antlerless deer, a 21% drop.
Of the four deer management regions, only the northern forest showed an increase (9%).
The number of deer hunting licenses sold in 2021 is down 1.5%, according to the agency.
Our Okayest Hunter podcast co-host, Greg Tubbs, desired to hunt up in the Wisconsin north woods, and he ended up going to our other podcasting co-host, Derek Malcore's deer camp. It turns out Greg wasn't the only one that wanted to return to the north woods of Wisconsin.
The higher harvest numbers in the northern forest could indicate more hunters returning to the region this year, according to Jeff Pritzl, DNR deer biologist.
In addition, another mild winter had potentially helped deer numbers in the north. Moreover, harvest numbers were down in the farmland regions, where the deer populations are abundant. You may have noticed the crop harvests were ahead of schedule this fall which may have impacted deer movement.
It sounds like there are several legit excuses us Okayest Hunters can use this season to justify why we didn't fill a tag. Indeed, not passing isn't one of them!
However, there was no shortage of new stories that emerged from the woods and the cabin this season! It's always a great time to get to deer camp and see friends and family you don't get to see too often in the pursuit of the elusive whitetail deer.
If you have a story or an okayest moment you'd like to share, submit it here!