Opening weekend deer harvest down nearly 5 percent

MADISON — Hunters killed about 5 percent fewer deer on opening weekend of Wisconsin's nine-day gun season this year than last.

The state Department of Natural Resources released preliminary estimates of the opening weekend harvest on Monday evening. The figures show hunters killed 114,472 deer compared with 120,276 deer last year.

The harvest was down in three of the state's four management zones. The only zone that saw an increase was the northern forest, where hunters killed 19,335 animals compared with 15,274 last year. That's a good sign for DNR game managers, who have been restricting antlerless kills in the region in hopes of rebuilding a herd devastated by harsh winters in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

Hunters killed slightly more antlered deer statewide, taking 63,700 this year compared with 62,903 last year.