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One man dies during opening weekend

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The opening day of the state's annual nine-day gun-deer hunt went without incident, but things changed on Sunday.

Sunday saw a total of five shootings, one of which was fatal.

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According to officials with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the fatal shooting occurred in Outagamie County where a 48-year-old Appleton man was killed by a shotgun slug to the chest during a deer drive.

Two other men were injured during deer drives - a 24-year-old man hit in the shoulder in Shawano County; and a 61-year-old man hit in the leg in Washington County. Both were hit by shotgun slugs.

Two other hunters experienced self-inflicted injuries to the foot - a 45-year-old Minnesota man in Washburn County (rifle) and a 13-year-old in Shawano County (shotgun).

Tim Lawhern, DNR's hunting safety administrator, noted that historically about half of Wisconsin's shooting incidents happen during deer drives, usually because someone wasn't where they were supposed to be or someone shot at a deer when they did not have a safe backstop or in a direction they should not have been shooting.

"It is really important that hunting parties wanting to drive deer have a plan and that they follow that plan to the letter," he said. "Knowing where your hunting mates are and where safe shooting lanes are is critical."

Statistically, about half the hunting incidents happen during opening weekend. "I am hoping we buck that statistic and can avoid further incidents this year," Lawhern added.

He noted that compared to the 'good ole' days,' hunting is safe and getting safer.

In 1915, of the state's 155,000 hunters then, 24 were killed and 26 were injured. That meant 1 in about 3,100 hunters could expect to be killed or injured.

Today it's 1 in 100,000 or better.

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