Wisconsin DNR: Deer license sales down heading into opener

MADISON, Wis. — New state Department of Natural Resources data shows hunters purchased fewer licenses heading into the opening days of Wisconsin's traditional nine-day gun deer season than last year.

The season opened Saturday. According to figures released Wednesday, the DNR sold 582,281 licenses authorizing hunting with a firearm during the nine-day season through Sunday. That's down slightly from 587,440 sold through the Sunday of opening weekend in 2016.

The agency sold 17,287 mentored hunt licenses through Sunday. Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill on Nov. 13 eliminating the minimum age for participating in a mentored hunt; 4,060 mentored hunt licenses were sold between 12:01 a.m. Nov. 14 and Sunday. According to the data, 1,454 of the mentored hunt licenses authorized children younger than nine to hunt.