By Tim Thein
The Wisconsin whitetail deer firearm hunting season started Nov. 19. Many deer hunters took to the woods in hopes of shooting their fantasy trophy buck, and others hoped to fill their freezers full of venison.
Gage Kramer, 11, of Roberts, Wis. accompanied by his father, is a first-year firearms hunter. He was fortunate to shoot his first antlerless deer during the Wisconsin youth hunt on Oct. 8. He said the deer was about 15 or 20 yards away when he pulled the trigger.
An antlerless deer is any deer that does not have antlers or antlers less than three inches.
Gage was also in the right place at the right time on opening morning of the regular firearm season, and he took another antlerless deer: his second this year.
“I was happy, excited and nervous before I pulled the trigger,” he said. This deer was about 100 yards away when he was able to line the kill shot through his scope. Gage was really excited as he was carrying an AR-15 rifle, a firearm that is a little bit lighter and appropriate for his size.
In some areas, deer seem to disappear during the season when the firearms start to echo through the land. Gage’s hunting party in Siren, Wis., saw only three antlerless deer all weekend. On the other hand, in Luck, Wis. hunter Jordan Basey saw 23 deer just on the weekend. Another hunter in his party, he said, saw 67 during that period.
The firearm season was set to close statewide Nov. 27. Approximately 600,000 people were expected to participate. Last year, 289,958 deer were harvested in Wisconsin. A spokesperson from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimated around 300,000 deer will be harvested this year, counting archery, muzzleloader and firearm seasons.
Many hunters will have harvested a deer; and those who were not able to see many deer look forward to Wisconsin’s firearm season next year.
Those who want to can partake in the muzzleloading and archery seasons have more opportunities to bag a deer. The muzzleloading season is Nov. 28 to Dec. 7. Bow hunting began Sept. 17 and ends Jan. 8.