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Deer totals up from 2006 gun-deer season

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The number of deer taken during this year's gun-deer season is up over 2006 totals, according to figures released by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

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Hunters registered a preliminary total of 343,644 deer during this year's season, but wildlife officials stress that this is a preliminary figure that will change somewhat.

The preliminary call-in total from 2006 nine-day season was 336,211 and in 2005 it was 312,519 deer.

The 2007 harvest showed 125,060 bucks and 218,584 antlerless deer registered, which is a 6 percent increase in the antlerless deer harvest and a 3.5 percent decline in buck harvest over 2006.

Officials also reported a total of 641,432 gun-deer licenses were purchased by resident and nonresident hunters.

"All in all, things came together nicely for this year's hunt," said Keith Warnke, DNR deer ecologist. "It's too early to evaluate how the kill will impact individual deer management units, until we have final harvest figures for all seasons, but it looks like deer hunters are enjoying this year's hunting and filling their freezers."

In the far western region, deer totals were down in Dunn and Pepin counties from 2006. But in Polk, St. Croix and Pierce numbers were up.

In St. Croix County 3,011 deer were taken this year up from 2,737 last year. A total of 1,008 bucks and 2,003 antlerless deer were taken in the county this year.

There were 4,251 deer harvested in Pierce County this season compared to 4,027 in 2006. The number of bucks harvested was 1,390 while 2,861 antlerless deer were taken.

A total of 9,463 deer were taken in Polk County with 3,364 bucks and 6,099 antlerless. Last year's total was 9,107.

In Pepin County 682 bucks were taken and 1,528 antlerless for a total harvest of 2,210 deer which is down slightly from 2,228 in 2006.

Finally, 2,009 bucks and 4,830 antlerless deer were harvested in Dunn County for a total of 6,839. Last year the Dunn County total was 6,902.

DNR officials reported that there were a total of six gun deer hunting incidents including three fatalities in this year's hunt, which made it the second safest nine-day gun hunt on record.

"This was a great effort by hunters, but safety needs to be at the top of all hunters' minds all the time," said Tim Lawhern, DNR hunter education administrator. "Our mutual goal is zero gun related incidents. Sadly, every one of these incidents could have been prevented."

Officials also point out that the deer hunting season isn't over.

The muzzle-loading deer hunt continues thru Dec. 5.

Then Dec. 6 - 9 there will be a statewide antlerless hunt. This hunt was created in 2006 following requests by hunting groups for additional opportunity to hunt antlerless deer without interrupting the early bow deer hunting season.

State wildlife officials say more than 110 of Wisconsin's 130 deer management units need strong hunting pressure put on antlerless deer to control population size.

Statewide totals and information about the upcoming hunt is available on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.wi.gov.

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