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Wisconsin deer kill less than predicted

Wisconsin deer hunters took about 276,985 deer in the nine-day gun season that ended Sunday, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

"Preliminary counts seem to indicate a lower than predicted deer population. That may indicate that deer populations could be moving toward healthy population goals," Keith Warnke, DNR big game biologist, said in a prepared statement.

Several factors might have contributed to the lower harvest, Warnke said. Fawn production statewide was the lowest it has been in 15 years. The deer season was also quite late, past the rut in most parts of the state, meaning deer were not moving as much as hunters might have hoped.

A total of 642,419 gun deer licenses were sold, slightly above 2007 totals.