Nov 19, 2020
Appleton Post-Crescent – Wisconsin public health and natural resources leaders are pleading with deer hunters to avoid traditional gatherings during the gun season that starts Saturday to prevent an even greater surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.
But without any actual restrictions in place beyond a statewide mask mandate, it will be up to individual hunters to decide whether to listen to that advice. The Department of Natural Resources won’t have extra staff in the field to enforce any of the guidance it provided to hunters in advance of the season, said wildlife management director Eric Lobner.
“People will make their choices,” he said. “We’re just trying to encourage them and provide the opportunity to have a safe, healthy hunt.”
Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season begins Saturday and ends Nov. 29, with hundreds of thousands of hunters expected to participate, even with thousands of new cases of COVID-19 being reported in the state every day.
The DNR reported selling nearly 592,000 licenses for hunting deer with a gun, bow, or crossbow as of Monday, including about 343,600 for gun privileges only. In 2019, the state sold nearly 565,000 gun deer licenses through the end of the nine-day season.
“With COVID-19, we all must work together to keep our communities healthy and safe this deer season,” DNR Secretary Preston Cole said in a news release Monday. “To help stop the spread of this virus, I want to remind folks that they should hunt with people from their household.”
Lobner urged hunters to limit their travel this year and, if possible, seek out places to hunt locally. He has heard from several out-of-state hunters who, given the number of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin, have decided not to make the trip this year … Read more.
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