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Wisconsin deer license sales down from 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Hunters purchased slightly fewer deer licenses heading into opening day of Wisconsin traditional nine-day gun season.

The nine-day season began Saturday. Department of Natural Resources data shows hunters had purchased 774,332 deer licenses as of midnight Friday, down 2.5 percent from 2017.

The licenses include bow licenses, mentored hunt licenses and conservation patron licenses, a combination sports license that also includes fishing, pheasant and trapping licenses.

The DNR sold dramatically fewer gun-only licenses. Hunters had purchased 442,820 gun licenses as of midnight Friday compared with 488,826 in 2017.

Enthusiasm among female hunters, one of the DNR's target demographics for growing the sport, also waned. They bought 78,252 licenses, down about 8,600 from 2017.

The DNR plans to release preliminary opening weekend harvest totals Tuesday.

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