MADISON, Wis. -

The day Wisconsin hunters have been waiting for all year is almost here.

The state's nine-day gun deer season opens Saturday. Department of Natural Resources data shows tens of thousands of people have purchased licenses since Monday. Sales as of Thursday were still about 16,000 shy than at the same point last year, but the agency typically sees a rush on Friday.

Hunters killed 222,731 deer last season. That was up from 222,588 deer in 2014 but still the second-smallest harvest since 2000.

The weather forest looks rough for opening day, with temperatures in the 30s and winds gusting to 30 mph to 40 mph. Some areas may see snow but little accumulation is expected. Sunday looks cold but sunny.