By Brian Miller. CREATED Dec 1, 2013
OCONTO-- The 2013 gun deer season is now in the history books. But the final pages are still being written- the DNR is expected to release final harvest numbers in the coming days.
The slow start for this year's harvest was spread across the state. Here in Northeast Wisconsin numbers were down about 12%. With better weather the numbers were expected to rise, but we won't know for sure until the official numbers are tallied.
There's been no shortage of hunting licenses sold-- more than 600,000 rung up this year. But harvest numbers are another story. "The harvest numbers are down a little bit," said DNR wildlife biologist Jeff Pritzl.
DNR hunting experts say the harvest numbers are expected to vary from year to year.
"That's why when do our monitoring of the herd, we look at multiple year histories, not just one year because one year can really give you some strange numbers," Pritzl said.
Organizers for The Hunt For the Hungry program say it is suffering due to low harvest numbers as well. In a typical year, Cedar Creek Marketplace near Appleton processes and donates between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds of venison to local food pantries.
"This year its hard to say yet, maybe they'll be some coming in but its not going to be as dramatic so maybe if we get to one to two thousand pounds that will be a lot," said Cedar Creek owner Peter Ellenz.
This marks the 19th year for the Hunt For the Hungry program in Wisconsin. Organizers are optimistic that a good final harvest will push the donation numbers closer to last year's totals.