Hunters brave the cold on opening day of gun deer hunt

HARTLAND (WITI) -- Saturday, November 23rd marked the opening day of the gun deer season in Wisconsin. Hunters say while the cold temperatures may have had an effect on the hunt, it didn't dampen their spirits.

"I got two layers of thermal underwear, I got this wool flannel shirt, some bibs and then a hunting coat. I also had on some gloves, some hand warmers tucked into them and a face mask," said Paul Rehlinger.

Many avid hunters hit the woods early in the day looking for that trophy buck.

"I was out at 5:30 this morning," said Brian Schlafer. "I have a buck, eight-point buck. It's not my biggest but I was well satisfied with it."

DNR Wildlife Biologist Thomas Isaac says he expects about 150 deer to come through the registration station by the end of the weekend, although Saturday morning started much slower than a typical opening day.

Initial numbers aren't necessarily an indication of how the remainder of the season will go.

"When the weather's colder they may bring in their deer sooner to register them, so that may give you kind of a false impression of how many deer are harvested, but we won't know until the end of the season how many deer are actually shot," said Isaac.

DNR officials were also collecting samples from hunters who brought back deer, checking for chronic wasting disease. Officials are hoping for about 200 samples this season in the area of northern Waukesha County up to Highway 60 in Washington County.