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When gun-deer season opens most of state will be under some type of herd-control measures

Wisconsin deer hunters will soon have a shot at 1.7 million animals.

The nine-day gun season opens Saturday. For the first time, almost all of the state is under some type of herd-control measures aimed at killing more females.

Wisconsin has had more deer than its management goals for more than a decade.

Still, experts with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources experts do not expect the 2000 record harvest of 616,000 to be broken.

That's partially because the season falls later on the calendar than normal and deer could be moving less because they have finished their breeding period.

The only regular hunting zones are in far northeast Wisconsin.

Otherwise, west central areas still have the Earn-a-Buck mandate, which makes hunters shoot does before they can get those trophy bucks.

More antlerless deer will also be shot in zones with chronic wasting disease in southern Wisconsin.

There will be numerous herd-control zones where hunters will get a free antlerless tag with a buck license, with a chance to buy more doe tags for just $2 each.

Ed Harvey of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress says hunters don't like all the herd-control measures. But given the damage done to cars and crops, many hunters are better at tolerating them.

As of last week, the state has 376,000 gun licenses, up 25 percent from the same time a year ago.

Officials said a four-day hunt in October had people buying licenses earlier.