2021 nine-day gun deer hunt: License sales, harvest registrations down from 2020
Five firearm-involved injuries, one fatality reported
Courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
WISCONSIN – Preliminary numbers from the 2021 nine-day gun deer hunt show that license sales and overall harvest registrations were both down from last year, while five firearm-involved injuries and one fatality were reported.
Preliminary license sales totals
As of 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 28, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports and patron licenses reached 808,224. Of that total, 564,440 were for gun privileges, including gun, patron and sports licenses. The year-to-date sales for all deer licenses are down 1.5% from the same time last year.
Of the licenses sold to date, 60% of licenses were purchased online. The remaining 40% were sold in-person through transactions at DNR license agents locations. Deer hunting license and harvest authorization sales will continue throughout the remaining deer hunting seasons.
Preliminary registration totals
Preliminary figures show that hunters registered 175,667 deer during the 2021 nine-day gun deer hunt, including 84,952 antlered and 90,715 antlerless deer. Since archery seasons opened Sept. 18, hunters have registered 270,046 deer statewide, showing the growing influence of earlier seasons on cumulative harvest.
Compared to 2020, the total firearm deer harvest was down 7.9% statewide, with buck harvest down 1.3% and antlerless harvest down 13.2%.
The Northern Forest management zone showed harvest increases from 2020 for both antlered and antlerless kills, while the other three zones showed declines in harvest. The Central Forest (-3.0%) and Central Farmland (-8.9%) had similar declines in total harvest from 2020 levels, while the Southern Farmland showed a larger decline in total harvest of 17.0%.
Adams County’s Central Farmland led the state with over nine deer registered per square mile. Vernon County led the Southern Farmland Zone with almost six deer registered per square mile. Oneida registered the most per square mile in the Northern Forest Zone at 4.5, and Eau Claire’s Central Forest registered almost 3.5 deer per square mile.
While opening weekend saw mild temperatures throughout the state with some snow in the north, DNR staff across the state reported good weather throughout the season. Snow cover and frozen wetlands would have improved visibility and access for hunters.
Hunters are required to register harvested deer before 5 p.m. the day after recovery at www.gamereg.wi.gov or by calling 1-844-426-3734. Any hunter who failed to follow mandatory registration rules should do so now, despite having missed the deadline.
More information regarding preliminary registration totals, including county-level numbers, is available at www.dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/WildlifeHabitat/harvest/deerharvest.html.
A 2010-21 comparison of preliminary nine-day gun deer season registration totals is also available at www.widnr.widen.net/s/xgbwbhczj8.
Harvest numbers will climb as hunters enjoy additional hunting opportunities:
- 29 – Dec. 8: Statewide muzzleloader hunt
- 9-11: Statewide four-day antlerless-only hunt
- 24 – Jan. 1, 2022: Nine-day antlerless-only holiday hunt in select Farmland Zone counties
- Now to Jan. 9, 2022: Remaining archery and crossbow seasons
- 10-31, 2022: Extended archery and crossbow seasons in select Farmland Zone counties
Hunters may use any unfilled antlerless harvest authorization during any of these hunts, but they must be used in the zone, county and land type designated on the harvest authorization. More information regarding hunts offered in each county and an interactive deer map is available at www.dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/dmu.html.
Nine-day season hunting incidents
As of Tuesday, Nov. 30, the DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement reported five firearm-involved injuries and one fatality for the entire 2021 nine-day gun deer season.
- Door County, Town of Brussel: On Nov. 20, 2021, at approximately 6:45 a.m., a 40-year-old male suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the hand. The victim had placed his hand on the muzzle after pulling the hammer back on his firearm. The victim believed he pulled the trigger, and the bullet struck his left pinky. He sought medical attention, was treated and released.
- Door County, Sturgeon Bay: On Nov. 21, 2021, at approximately 7 a.m., a 10-year-old male was the victim of a gunshot wound. A 45-year-old male shooter was hunting from his residence when he shot at a deer. The shooter attempted to unload his firearm, at which time it discharged inside of the house and struck the victim. The victim was transported to a hospital and treated.
- Waukesha County, Town of Ottawa: On Nov. 21, 2021, at approximately 6:21 a.m., a 30-year-old male suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the leg. The victim was in a tree stand when he tried to hang the gun on a hanger. The gun discharged, striking him in the right leg. The victim was transported to a hospital and treated.
- Juneau County, Town of Seven Mile Creek: On Nov. 22, 2021 at approximately 4 p.m., a 57-year-old male was the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the leg. The victim had a loaded firearm, and it discharged in the proximity of his ATV. The victim drove to the hospital and was treated.
- Iron County, Town of Saxon: On Nov. 23, 2021 at approximately 4:28 p.m., a 65-year-old male was the victim of a gunshot wound to the chest. A second 65-year-old male shooter was moving and knocked over his firearm, causing the firearm to hit the ground and discharge. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
- Marathon County, Town of Rib Falls: On Nov. 26, 2021 at approximately 5:15 a.m., a 65-year-old male suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The victim was loading a pistol when his finger slipped off the hammer, causing the gun to fire and strike him in the ankle. The victim was transported to the hospital for treatment.
As part of this push for safe hunting, wardens remind all hunters to use the four firearm safety rules as a cornerstone for safe and successful outings:
- T – Treat every Firearm as if it is loaded;
- A – Always Point the muzzle in a safe direction;
- B – Be certain of your target, what’s in front of it and what’s beyond it;
- K – Keep your finger outside your trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
More tips for safe hunting in Wisconsin is available on the DNR website at www.dnr.wisconsin.gov/Education/OutdoorSkills/HuntingSafety.