Ten infants issued hunting licenses for 2017 gun-deer season
CENTRAL WISCONSIN (WAOW) -
There are unusual results for this year's gun deer season now that there is no longer a minimum hunting age. State records show a number of licenses went to young kids.
Mentored hunting licenses were sold to ten infants according to the Department of Natural Resources and 52 licenses went to children under age 5. 1,814 were distributed in total.
The youngest to register a kill was four years old.
Newsline 9 spoke to hunters who have mixed reactions to the surprising numbers.
"I thought it was cute," said Justin Gaiche, the owner of Chase Outdoors. "Some people don't have a good sense of humor about it but I think it's pretty funny."
Gaiche was entertained.
"I was glad to see some of the success stories that came, like the couple young girls, 6 years old, that are harvesting their first deer in a controlled environment with their parents. I think it's great," he said.
Another hunter thinks allowing young kids to hunt is reckless.
"That I don't believe in," said Terry Arrowood. "Go through the hunters safety course, get some background on it so you're careful out there."
He doesn't trust the new law.
"It's just someone to get an extra deer is all it is. Even the four year-olds I've seen on the news this morning. To me, that's bogus," said Arrowood.
So what if a kill is registered under an infant?
"The mentor cannot harvest that deer for that person being mentored... so we'd have to look at who actually harvested the deer if it was somebody that was really young," said Janet Brehm, a Wildlife Biologist at the Department of Natural Resources for Lincoln and Langlade Counties.
However, the DNR said there still weren't enough young hunters to offset the overall decline in license sales and harvests. There's been a decrease in deer kill numbers during the gun-deer season from last year to this year in the central and southern parts of the state. Hunters killed 195,738 deer this year, down 0.8 percent from 197,262 deer in 2016.
But the DNR said the overall numbers are looking up anyways.
"So far for the 9-day there was a slight increase in doe and bucks being harvested but if you combine the archery season we are over the 2016 total for deer being harvested," Brehm said.
She said now that deer tagging isn't required, she hopes people will not forget to register their deer.
"If you failed to register your deer by 5:00 the next day, please do so, we still want that information... they won't get in trouble for being late," said Brehm.
The muzzle-loader hunt runs through December 6 and the antlerless deer hunt scheduled for December 7 to 10.