Cropland plays big factor in annual deer harvest outlook

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 8:26 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Last year, Wisconsin had close to ideal weather for the gun-deer hunt as it was cold with snow prime for tracking.

However, weather isn’t the only factor that determines harvest numbers, what’s in the fields also has an impact. There are a lot of factors that play into a successful gun deer hunt - including farmers. The cropland where you hunt could increase or decrease your chance of shooting a deer.

The latest USDA Crop Report released on Monday shows overall corn for grain harvest is 66% complete. That’s one day behind last year and the five-year average. This can vary from farm to farm though, so the DNR says it’s important to know if standing corn near your stand or blind is on schedule.

“It just kind of narrows down where those deer can see, cover, and hide and improves visibility because deer will still come out into those fields to feed on waste grain,” said Jeff Pritzl, deer program specialist with the Wisconsin DNR. “It improves opportunities to see and hopefully get a chance to get a deer.”

This year the DNR expects hunters to harvest about 200,000 deer. As a reminder, it’s mandatory to register any deer you harvest.

Registration needs to be done by 5 p.m. the day after the animal is recovered. It helps create a database to help monitor the landscape and future herd health.