EAU CLAIRE — Near-perfect weather greeted hunters Saturday for the first day of Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer hunting season.

“I thought it went pretty darn well,” said Kris Johansen, the wildlife supervisor for the state Department of Natural Resources’ west-central district, which covers 18 counties.

The lows were in the 20s at dawn. Temperatures gradually warmed up and wind speeds were low.

“Most of the folks could probably hear the deer in the woods,” he said.

From the hunters he heard about, Johansen said it was a mixed bag.

Some were seeing deer and others were not, he said.

Johansen couldn’t say whether Saturday was a good day in terms of the deer harvest. Opening weekend deer kill numbers won’t be available until Tuesday, he said.

“I think it was a pretty good opener,” Johansen said. “Short of snow being on the ground for tracking purposes, the weather was perfect. If there would have been snow this morning, I would have given it a perfect 10. But I would still give the weather an 8.”

Johansen and his 12-year-old son had a successful opening day of hunting.

They each shot an antlerless deer while hunting in northern Buffalo County.

Johansen wasn’t aware of any significant hunting accidents in the Chippewa Valley on opening day.

Hunters were asked this year to consider COVID-19 and take extra precautions when going out into the woods.

From the DNR colleagues he spoke with, Johansen said most hunters were doing their part.

“People were keeping their distance and spacing from each other,” he said. “They were taking heed of what the health professionals were saying. So that was great.”

Overall, there was no rain, little wind, and the temperatures weren’t too cold to keep hunters out of the woods, Johansen said.

“It turned out to be a nice morning from the hunters’ perspective,” he said.

Contact: 715-833-9207, dan.holtz@ecpc.com