The second shotgun deer season begins Saturday, two days after the close of the first season. DNR wildlife biologist, Willie Suchy , says most of the numbers are in on the first season. “The harvest is down, it follows a trend that’s been consistent since about 2006 — reduced deer numbers and reduced harvest — and unfortunately we’re seeing a few less hunters out in the field,” Suchy says.

The deer harvest was down 18-percent with seven-percent fewer licenses sold. The hunting conditions were not ideal when the first season opened one week ago. Suchy says the cold weather probably reduced the number of licenses sold and the number of deer taken as hunters likely don’t stay out when they aren’t seeing deer and the temperatures are low.

Suchy says there are some distinct differences between the first and second seasons. “About 60-percent of hunters go to the first season, about 40-percent go to the second season,” according to Suchy. “Generally the second season hunters are less picky. First season hunters tend to be a little more focused on finding a trophy deer.”

Second season hunters could face another challenges. “After the first season the deer can become a little harder to find and you have to sharpen your hunting skills a little bit,” Suchy says. He says many hunters still go out in groups and push the deer, and he says that’s when hunters safety becomes most important and you should never shoot if you don’t know the location of everyone in your group.

He says there were not many problems in the first season. “We had a couple of incidents, but for the most part people were pretty safe and we hope people continue to take care of that,”Suchy says. The DNR says there was a late rush where they sold 16,000 deer tags between three p.m. Friday and 10 A.M. Saturday as the first season opened. The second shotgun season runs nine-days.