Hunting totals are in: How Portage County measures up
By Ken M. Blomberg
The numbers are in. And numbers don’t lie. As of last Tuesday morning, the preliminary reports put Portage County’s opening weekend deer kill at 1,980 – with 1,083 bucks and 897 antlerless deer harvested. That puts our county just ahead of our neighbors to the west in Wood County at 1,048, behind Waupaca County to the east at 3,529 and Marathon County to the north at 3,671. The state’s total opening weekend harvest came in at 102,903, a 12 percent drop from last year. Our county’s opening weekend harvest this year was down 21 percent from last year.
The drop in harvest numbers are interesting to say the least – considering the glowing predictions by the DNR prior to the season opener, “We are coming out of a third straight mild winter and a good summer growing season, so as expected we are seeing good to excellent deer numbers throughout most of the state,” said DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang. “The public and County Deer Advisory Councils are also recognizing the increase as is evident by increased antlerless tag availability, especially in some northern counties. So, in general, we are anticipating an overall increase in deer registration this fall.”
Several factors may influence this year’s harvest numbers. This year’s totals are based on new registration and tagging requirements. Validation and tagging is no longer required, but hunters are still required to carry proof of a hunting license and deer tags. Those unique tag numbers begin the harvest registration process. Deer must still be registered by 5 p.m. the day after recovery – that rule has not been changed. Hunters must use the unique deer tag number printed on the paper tag to register their harvest. Hopefully, all deer shot were registered.
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