MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Seven hunters were shot during Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season, state wildlife officials said Monday.
The season opened on Nov. 18 and closed at sunset on Sunday. According to Department of Natural Resources data on its website, five male hunters accidentally shot themselves during the season. A sixth man was shot by someone within his own party during a deer drive in Ozaukee County on Wednesday. The seventh victim was hunting ducks from a kayak in Waukesha County on Friday when a stray bullet struck him or her. None of the incidents were fatal.
License sale data suggest fewer hunters were in the woods this year than in 2016. The DNR sold 588,387 licenses authorizing hunting with a firearm during the nine-day season through midnight Sunday, down 1.7 percent from the previous year.
Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill on Nov. 13 eliminating the 10-year-old minimum age for participating in a mentored hunt. The DNR sold 14,955 licenses authorizing a mentee to hunt with a firearm in 2017, up from 13,548 in 2016. According to the agency, 1,722 of those licenses went to children nine years old or younger.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether anyone under 10 was involved in the injuries. All five hunters who shot themselves were at least 24 years old but the shootings in Ozaukee and Waukesha County remain under investigation and the DNR said the identity, age and sex of the shooters in both incidents is still unknown. The age and sex of the duck hunter wounded in Waukesha County also remained unknown as of Monday evening.
The agency planned to release preliminary deer kill totals on Tuesday.