‘Orange Friday’ preps hunters for start of gun deer season

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 9:48 AM CST
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DEFOREST, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin’s nine-day deer hunt starts Saturday morning, but before people head to the woods to hunt for deer, many go hunt for some deals first.

Friday is “Orange Friday” at Fleet Farm stores across the state. Well over 100 people lined up outside the DeForest location before doors opened at 6 a.m.

During the one-day event, which started in 2012, the store offers sharp discounts on blaze orange items and other last-minute hunting gear.

Many shoppers said they look forward to getting a free blaze orange hat, which is given out to the first 500 people in line, in addition to a scratch off coupon.

One shopper, TJ, drove two hours from Oshkosh to get his free hat before he headed up north to hunt with his family for opening weekend.

“I’ll be meeting my dad up in Wausau area for fish fry tonight and then we’ll be in bed early cause we’re up nice and early. We need to get our rest so we’re awake in the tree stand,” said TJ.

While the store was packed Friday morning, General Manager Robert Nilo said the week leading up to Orange Friday was far busier than usual. He attributes this to the near-record temperatures forecast for opening weekend.

“With the cold temperatures I think it brought a lot of people earlier out this year and headed out north earlier with the weather and temperature like that. Plus, they spend that time with the family and get to bond before heading out to the woods,” said Nilo.

Nilo added that hand warmers and propane tanks for heaters are selling in huge quantities this season, with people preparing for the winter conditions.

Wardens with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources were also present inside the DeForest store on Orange Friday to help people get their hunting licenses, answer questions, and provide safety reminders.

“We see a lot of people that don’t brush up on the regulations, that don’t know what things have changed. We also see people that don’t make a plan for deer season and can kind of get themselves into trouble,” said DNR Warden Matt Koshollek.

Koshollek encouraged hunters to tell loved ones where they’ll be going hunting and what their hunting plan is, should any issues arise.

He also anticipated high hunter turnout this deer season despite the cold temperatures, with a layer of snow on the ground helping with tracking, and good visibility expected in the woods.

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