MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Hunters killed 110,797 deer during the opening weekend of Wisconsin's nine-day gun deer season, down nearly 18 percent from last year's opening two days, according to preliminary data state wildlife officials released Monday.
The buck harvest was down dramatically, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Hunters killed 53,865 bucks, down 25 percent from 71,989 last year. The antlerless harvest, meanwhile, was down 9 percent from 2012.
DNR officials said cold weather likely drove many hunters out of the woods early. Gov. Scott Walker went out before sunrise Monday morning in Washington County. Shortly before noon, he posted a tweet that read, "Wow is it cold out. The deer must think the same thing as I haven't seen a thing." The tweet included a photograph of the governor standing in front of a tree in a blaze orange coat, cap and face mask.
Walker spokesman Tom Evenson sent an email to The Associated Press a few minutes after noon saying Walker had given up. He said the governor has no plans to go out again before the season ends Sunday.
Agency officials also noted they issued the fewest antlerless permits in the northern section of the state since the 1990s in an effort to grow the herd in that region of the state, leading to a weaker antlerless harvest.
The DNR had sold 615,872 gun deer licenses as of midnight Friday prior to the Saturday morning start. That's up slightly from 614,435 last year.