Here is what a DNR that values the public relations value of its deer hunting does: an opening day report on opening day from Wisconsin on Saturday.
And yes that is a shot against Illinois.
We have some great deer hunting in Illinois. But that value extends beyond the cost of nonresident licenses in Illinois and should focus on the PR value, too. That's something Wisconsin honchos understand about their deer hunting.
Good early conditions for opening day deer season turn to rain and snow
MADISON - Hunters across Wisconsin were greeted by generally good hunting conditions on the first morning of the 160th gun deer hunt. Happy hunters, young and old, were bringing in a steady stream of bucks and does throughout the morning and early afternoon until wet sloppy precipitation spread into most of the north and central areas, slowing registrations.
According to hunters across the state, the rut is still on, deer are moving, hunters were seeing deer and with colder overnight temperatures expected in many areas, hunters might find nearly ideal conditions again on Sunday morning including fresh snow.
Wisconsin's mentored hunting law again proved popular as many youngsters arrived at registration stations with their first deer....and a beaming mom or dad.
Other first time hunters included seventeen-year-old Alex Mickelson who told his folks he thought he was interested in trying hunting, so he took a hunter safety course in February with a couple buddies. Out hunting in the Sturgeon Bay area, he took a beautiful buck by 7:30 opening morning and sent a phone shot to his very proud mother. "He's a deer hunter for life," she said.
Even youngsters who simply accompanied parents and grandparents into the woods found excitement. In Rhinelander, an area grandmother took her young granddaughter, who was visiting from Australia, out with her. The grandmother bagged an 11-point buck and the granddaughter was so excited she insisted grandma and grandpa leave the truck's tailgate down as they drove away from the registration station so that everyone could see "grandma's deer."
By midnight Friday, 603,913 licenses had been sold. At peak, Friday licenses sales were running at a rate of 220 per minute with 99, 988 licenses sold on Friday as hunters made their traditional "Friday before the opener" license purchase.
It was a safe opening day also with no known hunting incidents reported as of 3 p.m.