We are just a few days away from one of the biggest days of the year for hunters across Wisconsin and right here in Marinette County. The state’s gun deer season opens Saturday and, even with a little rain in the forecast, thousands of residents are expected to head out in hopes of bagging a wall-worthy buck or filling their freezers with venison. Dave Halfmann is a wildlife biologist with the Wisconsin DNR. He says the woods may be even busier than usual as hunter participation has seen an increase in prior hunts this year and that trend is expected to continue into the upcoming firearm season.

Halfmann says deer populations in both of Marinette County’s deer management zones are healthy this year. Halfmann does stress that people should verify which zone they’re hunting in, as there are some notable authorization changes for those in the Northern Forest Zone.

Due to the discovery of chronic wasting disease in captive wildlife facilities in the area, the DNR is hosting an intensive sampling effort in northeast Wisconsin and hunters in the region are strongly encouraged to have their deer screened for CWD. A list of testing locations can be found on the DNR’s website. Wisconsin’s 9-day gun deer season runs November 21st through the 29th.