Boots & Sabers

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2032, 30 Nov 21

Deer Kill Way Down


The DNR offers multiple deer hunting seasons each fall but the nine-day season remains the pinnacle for hunters. It began at dawn on Nov. 20 and ran until nightfall Sunday. Hunters killed 175,667 deer, down 8% from the 190,646 animals killed during the 2020 nine-day stretch. The number of bucks killed was down 1.3% from last year. The antlerless take was down 13%.


Hunters killed 9.3% more deer in the northern forest management zone this year than last, the only one of the state’s four management zones that saw an increase. The southern farmland zone, which includes most of the southern third of the state, saw a 17% drop in kills.


The number of hunters who could have ventured into the woods remained virtually unchanged from 2020. The DNR reported it had sold 564,440 hunting licenses that would allow someone to kill a deer using a gun during any of the state’s multiple gun seasons as of the Sunday close. That’s down about 0.8% from the 564,440 licenses sold at the same point last year.

Ammo shortage?



2032, 30 November 2021


  1. MjM

    Deer getting smarter? Not cold enough up dere hey for the snowdeer to head to vacation in the south?

    The DNR reported it had sold 564,440 hunting licenses ….. down about 0.8% from the 564,440 licenses sold at the same point last year.


  2. Mar

    Government math.

  3. Dan in Franklin

    They may not have been as active this year. I was in SW Dane county on opening day of the season (to see family; I’m not a hunter myself) and we all commented that we hadn’t seen any deer or heard any shots. Nothing on my way home that night, either.

  4. jonnyv

    Anecdotal on my part, but I was up in Door County for Thanksgiving, and it felt that everyone in my social circle that hunted in that area got a deer on opening day / weekend. While my friends that hunted more in the middle of the state did not see nearly as many.

  5. Owen

    In general, my best hunting years were with the worst weather. Frozen water, cold winds, etc. I think it forces the deer to move and be seen. When it’s warm and they have easy access to food and water, they just sit there.

  6. Mar

    While I haven’t been to Wisconsin lately, I it possible that more farmland, woods and other hunting areas are being taken out hunting areas? With buildings, subdivisions, people who don’t want people hunting their lands, plus the good (bad for hunters) weather, that might have an effect.

  7. Owen

    That’s the long term trend, but I don’t think it explains a single year drop of this size.

  8. Tuerqas

    Purely anecdotal: My brother bought his license then got a bad case of covid. Never went out.

  9. Mar

    Maybe people needed more time in the shooting range.
    How many ranges were shut down during the lickdown and for how long?
    My guess is that the Southern area of the state shut down the ranges in the north and the North have more natural outdoor ranges.

  10. dad29

    Eagle’s range was open every time (this year) that I went.

    The largest southern-Wisconsin deer-kill was on the highways. FAR more carcasses than I’ve ever seen before littering all the Interstates down here, as well as major State highways.

  11. Le Roi du Nord

    This year’s harvest so far is 268,882 (gun plus archery and youth) per WDNR . Not a bad year by any means. And with the lack of mandatory face-to-face registration the accuracy of the numbers is only as good as the honesty of the successful hunters. The wildlife managers and wardens hate the current regulations.

    On a local note, here in the snowy north our group of 6 harvested 3 bucks and a doe, including the biggest buck in 40+ years by 10 AM opening day.

  12. Jason

    >Eagle’s range was open every time (this year) that I went.

    Same with Fletcher Arms in Waukesha every time I went.

  13. jsr

    “Ammo shortage?” I really doubt that. I’ve enough ammunition on hand to hunt for several years. If I didn’t have enough and could not find any, I wouldn’t bother buying a license.

    Warm weather? That seems more likely. I don’t think cold weather makes the deer move directly though. It does make the hunters move more, which in turn makes the deer move. Many years have I sat still and cold until I heard shots on neighboring land followed by a deer running past me.

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