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DNR reports second-best deer harvest in state history

Wisconsin's 2007 deer season harvest ranked second-largest in state history, with 518,573 whitetails registered.

Archers set a new season record of 116,042, surpassing the previous record of 113,918 from 2006.

Gun deer hunters brought in 402,531 deer, the third-best season ever.

"Bringing the herd down to established population goals and maintaining herd and ecosystem health are our main management objectives," said Keith Warnke, DNR big game biologist. "And while record harvests are not part of our objectives, the fact remains that hunters had a hugely successful season."

Wildlife officials point to the large herd size and widespread Earn-a-Buck requirements as a primary reason for the large harvests. The pre-2007 season population projection was 1.6 - 1.8 million deer.

Biologists will complete population modeling in the next few weeks resulting in a post-2007 hunt estimate to compare to population goals. A population projection for fall 2008 will be available then as well.

Hunters across the state will be learning details of the harvest at deer management unit information meetings.

Other important deer-related meetings include hearings on proposed CWD management area hunting rules. Hunters may testify at these hearings or send in written comments by March 25.

Hunters also posted the second-safest gun hunt on record with three fatalities. Officials say the deaths could have been prevented by following firearm safety rules.