- 226,582. That's how many deer were killed during this year's nine-day firearms season. Compared to nearly 244,000 last year, that's a 7% drop.
After a rough opening weekend, deer hunters found more deer. State-wide opening weekend deer killed was down nearly 18% compared to a year ago. But after the season ended - deer numbers improved to only a 7% drop.
Jeremy Holtz is a wildlife biologist in Oneida County. He says after the harsh spring experienced earlier this year, the lack of success could have been a lot worse.
"If you look at Northern Wisconsin, we're down 7%, maybe 12%, " Holtz explains. "With the late hunt, and the rough winter we had, there is no question we could have had far worse impact."
In Onieda County: nearly 2300 deer were killed. That's includes 1500 bucks - compared to more than 1600 in 2012. Also less than 800 doe were taken compared to 1000 last year. One of those having some success was 14-year old Payton Hartman of Rhinelander. She got not one, but two doe. She was able to fill both her brother's and her own permits.
Vilas county saw 130 fewer bucks dropped - an 11% decrease. Steve Janisse of Three Lakes was fortunate enough to get on the board. He bagged a four-pointer north of Eagle River.
"Deer are moving around pretty good around here," Janisse said. "I saw lots of doe before I saw this buck."
Two complants the DNR is hearing as reasons for a drop in deer available to shoot, too many anterless permits issued and too many natural predators.
"There is no doubt about it, deer are delicious and everything wants to eat them," Holtz adds. "We have hunting seasons for all all predators. We issued less antlerless tags for the second year in a row."
Holtz adds, final numbers should be available by early March. Then the state can determine how many antlerless permits if any will be issued in each county for next year's hunt.
PELICAN LAKE - Tribal members from across Wisconsin held a Deep Winter Camp to pass on parts of their cultures. Members from several different tribes wanted to give kids the chance to experience a piece of their culture. They hope the camp encourages younger members to keep traditions going and never forget where they came from. "They're going to be the next teachers they're good kids and we all love every kid that came here and spent time with us. They all learned something and they'll take it back and teach others," said Lac du Flambeau Band Vice Chairman John Johnson Sr.
CRANDON - Forest County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Justice was justified in shooting and killing 31-year-old Brandon Cude on Jan. 4, Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono ruled Friday.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice released the results of its investigation in the case, and Simono's decision, Friday afternoon.
The DOJ documents detail how Cude swung a shotgun at Justice at close range. The deputy had just learned Cude had felony warrants against him, and Justice was trying to arrest Cude. Justice fired four shots on the scene, a rural road south of Crandon.
"He didn't get a shot off?" a fellow officer asked Justice after the shooting.
"No. He tried, though. Pulled that sucker out and pointed it right at me," Justice replied in an exchange recorded on a body camera.
EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County officers can now respond to active shooter calls better prepared.
All deputies and patrol offices now have access to steel-plated body armor, something only the Vilas County SWAT Team had before.
"We want to make sure our staff are fully protected," said Vilas County Sheriff's Office Captain Gerard Ritter. "I never want to see anything happen to any one of my staff. And we should outfit them with the protection they need."
Before the new body armor, Ritter said officers and deputies only had access to soft body armor.
"The weave material is designed to stop or slow down a projectile," said Ritter.
Officers will still wear the soft-bodied armor every day, but in active shooter situations, officers can now essentially double up on protection, protection once only offered to the SWAT Team.
"There has been an increase in active shooter incidences across the United States," said Ritter.
RHINELANDER - Police think an Oneida County man downloaded hundreds of pornographic pictures of young girls using a private chatroom.
During Danial Smith's preliminary hearing Friday, Smith's attorney asked if police had any way of knowing it was his client who downloaded the more than 700 photos.
The state Department of Justice learned a computer near Rhinelander downloaded the pictures in late 2016 thanks to a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The internet protocol (IP) addresses from the downloads were linked to Smith's home on County C in the town of Stella.
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