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Gun deer hunt totals down in 2013


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Department of Natural Resources officials say this year's harvest in the gun deer season was down 7 percent.

Preliminary data released on Tuesday says hunters killed 226,582 deer in 2013, down from 243,739 in 2012. Regional spokesman Ed Culhane says hunters caught up somewhat after a bad start. "After opening weekend with that cold windy weather and the late start to the season and whatever other reasons, we were down 18 percent statewide. And now at the end of the season we're down 7 percent statewide."

Culhane says they didn't see much in a change in harvest through our area. "Here in the northeast between 2012 and 2013 is just 1.4 percent so, pretty much the same." Statewide, hunters killed about 15 percent fewer bucks than last year, though antlerless numbers remained steady.

Hunters up in the Northwoods might have to put up with another year of low tags in 2014, according to Culhane. "We know the herd is down up north for a variety of reasons, from habitat to weather and predation. So we're issuing fewer tags, fewer antlerless tags up north and we expected the harvest would be down up there."

Officials reported eight shooting incidents this year during the nine-day hunt with no fatalities.