Hunters have reported taking 20,000 deer in the early seasons. DNR wildlife research supervisor, Willie Suchy, says hunters are required to report any deer they take within 24 hours, and that’s where they get the harvest numbers. “They look very comparable to last year, they’re down substantially from where we were six years ago — but that was kind of our goal,” Suchy says.

The state worked to lower deer numbers when the numbers got to a point that were thought to be too high. Suchy says those efforts worked and they continue to try and keep a handle on the proper number of animals. “We think we’re getting pretty close in most of the state and our harvest is staying in there,” Suchy says, “and there’s some concern from hunters about not enough deer, and there’s some concern from land owners about too many. So, maybe that’s kind of that balance we always look for.”

The youth and disabled hunter seasons got things started and now the bow hunting season is underway. Suchy doesn’t expect any big changes in the numbers as long the weather doesn’t prevent hunters from getting out into the field. “If have some bad weekends, that could depress the harvest,” Suchy explains. “We still have the shotgun seasons coming up and a lot is going to depend on what happens in those two opening weekends in December.”

Suchy says there’s time to get out and take advantage of the bow hunting season. “Some places are reporting that they suspect they will have a later rut than normal this year, which means the activity may be just spread out over time. And as the harvest progresses the deer hunting should get good — it just depends on the weather that we have,” Suchy says.

The bow hunting season runs through January 10th. The first shotgun deer season begins on December seventh and runs through the 11th. The second shotgun season runs December 14th through the 22nd.

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