Another good article from today's paper... looks like a 30 year low when all numbers come in.
Gun deer hunt buck kill may fall to 30-year low after all the numbers are in
BY JIM LEE â€¢ GANNETT WISCONSIN MEDIA â€¢ DECEMBER 4, 2009
MADISON â€” The number of bucks killed during the 2009 gun deer season, with a preliminary total of 86,251, may turn out to the lowest buck harvest in nearly 30 years, according to DNR data.
Hunters registered 103,845 bucks during the 2008 gun deer season. The last time the buck kill dropped below 90,000 was in 1980. The all-time gun season buck kill was 171,891, set in 1995.
The buck kill is one of the better ways to gauge deer abundance, as the antlerless harvest depends largely on the number of antlerless permits issued for specific deer management units. While the availability of antlerless permits varies widely, every hunter receives a buck tag that can be used statewide.
Despite an overall statewide 16 percent downturn in the buck harvest, several counties reported a boost or little change in buck registrations when compared to the 2008 season.
Hunters in the 19-county west central region saw the overall buck kill dip 10.02 percent. Juneau (minus-29.38 percent), Wood (minus-26.16) and Adams (minus-25.73) counties propelled the decline.
Counties closer to the state's western border, however, experienced significantly better results. Pepin County (plus-18.65), St. Croix County (10.55) and Pierce (8.35) led an upward charge that provided the most positive results of any counties in the state.
The buck kill fell 15.82 percent in Portage County, while dropping 8.84 percent in Marathon County.
In the northern region, Douglas County noted a 2.12 percent increase in buck harvest, while nearby Polk (minus-.83) and Burnett (minus-3.31) counties recorded a slight decline.
A significant drop in the buck kill was observed in Florence (minus-44.70), Iron (minus-38.93), Vilas (minus-27.91), Ashland (minus-22.15), Price (minus-21.30), Lincoln (minus-19.62), Forest (minus-18.86) and Langlade (minus-15.78) counties. Overall, the northern region buck harvest fell 14.12 percent.
The 15-county northeast region saw the total buck kill drop 11.36 percent. The biggest declines were noted in Fond du Lac (minus-27.43), Waushara (minus-21.07), Marquette (minus-20.66) and Calumet (minus-20.9) counties.
Door County (minus-0.33) barely experienced any change, as did Brown County (minus-2.24) and Manitowoc County (minus-2.79). The buck kill in Outagamie County dropped 14.13 percent, while Shawano County reported a 7.55 percent decline.
The final 2009 deer harvest totals won't be known until January, when all gun and bow deer seasons have concluded for the year.