Hunters take advantage of gun deer hunt opening weekend: "It seems to be a lot better than last year"

HARTFORD -- Sunday, November 22nd marked just two days into Wisconsin's gun deer hunting season, and butchers are already busy! Cold temperatures and new regulations put into place this year by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources don't appear to be slowing anyone down -- especially those looking to be a cut above the rest.

"I got an eight-point buck," Bernie Thibault said.

On Sunday, Thibault brought the buck he bagged to Gehring's Meat Market in Hartford.

"My wife`s a vegetarian, so it will last me about all year," Thibault said.

That buck, along with about 120 other deer brought in on Sunday alone will soon be steaks, chops and sausage.

"As fast as we can skin them, they cut them up as fast as they can," Ben Gehring said.

Gehring's Meat Market in Hartford

Gehring's father started the family business 35 years ago. Now that the Dairy State's nine-day gun deer hunting season is officially underway, Gehring is bracing for marathon shifts behind the counter.

"Even with the Packers going on right now, they are still coming in," Gehring said on Sunday afternoon.

The shop will be open every day through next Sunday, November 29th -- but this first Sunday of the hunt is typically the busiest for the shop. Turn-around time for cuts is about a week.

"Sausage takes a little more time. Usually two to three weeks," Gehring said.


Because of the DNR's new tagging system this season, Gehring's is also taking on the task of tagging each deer brought in, and helping to determine the age of each animal for state records.

For hunters like Thibault, a seemingly steady deer population has him eager to go back out for another round of hunting before next Sunday.

"It seems to be a lot better than last year. The bucks are still chasing the does out there from what I can tell," Thibault said.

Deer processing shops like Gehring hand out tags for all hunters -- making sure to get the location where the deer was shot.

Officials will also look at the deer's teeth to help determine its age.

Gehring's Meat Market in Hartford

CLICK HERE for information on the gun deer hunting season via the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website.

CLICK HERE to view & submit photos from the 2015 gun deer hunting season.