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Special Edition Weekly News Published - November 9, 2017 by the Central Office

 

2017 nine-day gun deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 18

MADISON - Wisconsin's nine-day gun deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 18, and Department of Natural Resources staff are enthusiastic about the prospects for 2017.

"We are coming out of a third straight mild winter and a good summer growing season, so as expected we are seeing good to excellent deer numbers throughout most of the state," said DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang. "The public and County Deer Advisory Councils are also recognizing the increase as is evident by increased antlerless tag availability, especially in some northern counties. So, in general, we are anticipating an overall increase in deer registration this fall."

In 2016, far northern portions of Wisconsin saw an overall gun season increase of approximately 30 percent, while the total deer harvest, including gun, crossbow, and archery, increased by roughly 22 percent.

Archery and crossbow hunting in Wisconsin has continued to become more popular with deer hunters.   Photo Credit: DNR
Archery and crossbow hunting in Wisconsin has continued to become more popular with deer hunters.
Photo Credit: DNR

"In the past, the majority of the annual deer harvest came during the nine-day gun season," Wallenfang said," but for decades there has been a growing percentage of the total fall harvest coming during the early archery seasons. That trend continues as more and more people are turned on by the early archery/crossbow seasons when they can hunt for many more days and in nicer weather, plus during the peak of the rut when the deer are very active."

Wallenfang also noted that hunters need to become familiar with the new deer tagging requirements, baiting restrictions, new treestand rules, and a reduction in the number of buck-only units.

This year marks the third year of electronic deer registration through GameReg. Many hunters who used it in the past are realizing the simplicity and convenience of registering by phone or on their computer or smartphone. Hunters are reminded that registering their deer after harvest is required by 5 p.m. the day following recovery. Those who have not yet used GameReg are encouraged to use a number of resources available to learn more about it and prepare for success. More GameReg information is available online.

Wisconsin's four Deer Management Zones and county-based Deer Management Units have not changed in 2017. DMUs follow county boundaries in most cases, and nine DMUs are split by zone boundaries. DMU and land type-specific antlerless permits are intended to help manage deer populations more closely on each land type with the hope of enhancing hunting experiences on public land.

With each deer hunting license (archery/crossbow and gun), hunters receive one Buck Deer Tag valid statewide. In addition, each license includes one or more Farmland (Zone 2) Antlerless Deer Tag(s) that must be designated for use in a specific zone, DMU and land type (public access or private) at the time of issuance.

Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags may not be used in the Northern Forest or Central Forest zones, but bonus antlerless tags may be available for specific DMUs within these zones.

All Bonus Antlerless Deer Tags are zone, DMU and land-type specific. Bonus tags cost $12 for residents, $20 for nonresidents and $5 for youth (ages 10 and 11).

In 2017, four county DMUs, in whole or in part, are designated as buck-only units and include Ashland, Eau Claire, Iron, and Vilas counties within the Northern and Central Forest zones. Only the Buck Deer Tag issued with each deer license is valid in these DMUs, with some exceptions for youth, Class A and C disabled and military hunters.

Hunters are no longer required to validate paper carcass tags or attach them to harvested deer. It is also no longer required to keep the tag with the meat. However, hunters must carry one of the forms of proof of a deer tag. Hunters may show proof of having a valid, unfilled deer tag by providing a conservation warden with their Go Wild card, their authenticated driver's license, paper copies, or an electronic copy on their cell phone. Keep in mind that even with electronic forms of proof of deer tags available, hunters will need the unique tag number to begin the harvest registration process.

For more helpful information, including the following documents, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "deer":

County Deer Advisory Councils play key role in management process

County Deer Advisory Councils play a key role in deer management through the development of recommendations based on annual harvest data and management issues specific to each county. These recommendations help department staff determine annual antlerless quotas, antlerless tag levels and season options.

Department staff would like to thank all CDAC members for their continued commitment to playing an active role in deer herd management in Wisconsin.

Learn on the go this fall with Wild Wisconsin

Easy access to information is the key to a successful hunt, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is excited to announce the launch of a new podcast and web series - Wild Wisconsin.


Whether you prefer to watch all segments at once, catch one or two on the move, or listen to podcasts during your commute, Wild Wisconsin has it all. Topics range from public land hunting strategies to CWD and what it means for Wisconsin's deer herd.

All segments and podcasts, along with wild game recipes and much more, can be found at dnr.wi.gov, keywords "Wild Wisconsin."

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Smart reminders to ensure another safe hunting season in Wisconsin

Keep some helpful tips in mind to ensure another safe hunting season in Wisconsin

MADISON - It is no accident Wisconsin is known nationally as one of the safest places to hunt deer for the whole family and friends.

"This state is fortunate to have thousands of volunteer hunter education instructors dedicated to keeping everyone safe while enjoying the outdoors," Hunter Education Administrative Warden Jon King said. "And you have to credit the hunters who carry on that safety priority during their own hunts and as mentors. This is what makes Wisconsin a great hunting state - the people."

Wisconsin's culture of hunting safety started a half century ago when the department launched a six-hour course stressing firearm safety. The course was voluntary, and while the impact was not momentous, the number of firearm injuries during the gun deer hunt began to decline.

Then came more change in 1980 when hunters were required to wear blaze orange during gun-deer hunts - and the number of firearm incidents dropped more dramatically. Five years later came the expanded hunter education certification program, which also became mandatory for all hunters in Wisconsin born or after Jan. 1, 1973. About 24,000 are trained every year - and more than a million since the program started.

In 1966 in Wisconsin, the hunting incident rate was 44 injuries for every 100,000 hunters. Now the rate, based on a 10-year-average, is 4.04 incidents per 100,000 hunters, a reduction of more than 90 percent. Wisconsin has experienced five gun-deer seasons free of fatalities -- 1972, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016.

How does Wisconsin keep the safety trend alive? King says more incidents can be prevented by following these four basic principles of firearm safety - known as TABK:

For tree stand users, here are some easy tips to follow:

Each deer drive should be planned with safety as the top priority, King said. "Everyone involved in the drive should know and understand the plan."

If you plan to participate in a deer drive:

Thanks Wisconsin hunters for serving as an example for ethical and safe hunting.

For more information regarding hunter education and tips for safe hunting in Wisconsin, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "safety tips."

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Hunters reminded registering deer in the correct zone still mandatory for the ongoing and upcoming deer seasons

MADISON - Tagging rules have changed, but registration requirements have not. Lucky hunters are still required to register their harvested deer electronically by 5 p.m. the day after being recovered. The GameReg system is simple, fast and convenient for hunters.

"Since its launch in 2014, most hunters have adjusted well to using the electronic registration options," says Kevin Wallenfang, big game ecologist for the DNR. "The simplicity and convenience has resulted in high compliance of registration requirements, but we also continue to offer walk-in registration opportunities at hundreds of locations around the state."

Hunters have three options for registering:

The GameReg system will prompt hunters to answer a series of questions, beginning with the deer tag number and the hunter's date of birth.

For more information regarding electronic game registration, search "GameReg."

Deer Tags

Even with the recent elimination of the requirement to carry paper deer carcass tags, hunters are still required to carry proof of their deer tags, and fill those tags only within the deer management unit and zone designated on the tag. Hunters have several options as to how they carry proof of their deer tags including paper copies, a DNR issued Conservation Card, a GoWild validated Wisconsin driver's license, or a GoWild digital file as proof of tags. The deer tag number is an important component of registering their deer.

Hunters also no longer are required to validate their tag, attach the tag to their deer or keep their used deer tag after the animal is processed. Hunters are reminded they must know the tag number in order to begin the harvest registration process.

Tagging rules have changed for 2017 - be sure to check the DNR website or watch Wild Wisconsin for more information.
Tagging rules have changed for 2017 - be sure to check the DNR website or watch Wild Wisconsin for more information.

All previously issued deer carcass tags are still valid as an authorization to hunt within the assigned or designated location. Hunters making additional purchases throughout the remainder of this year's hunting seasons will be issued products that will not include the usual validation and attachment language.

For updated regulations materials, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword, "hunt." You'll be able to find key updates and official regulations under the "Know" tab.

Wild Wisconsin

Easy access to information is the key to a successful hunt, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is excited to announce the launch of a new podcast and web series - Wild Wisconsin.

Whether you prefer to watch all segments at once, catch one or two on the move, or listen to podcasts during your commute, Wild Wisconsin has it all. Topics range from public land hunting strategies to CWD and what it means for Wisconsin's deer herd.

In Episode 7, titled "Handling the Harvest Pt. 1," hunters can learn more about registration and what to do after harvesting a deer.

For more information regarding electronic registration, search keyword "GameReg." For more information regarding deer hunting in Wisconsin, search keyword "deer."

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2017 Wisconsin Fall Hunting and Trapping Forecast available online

MADISON - Fall hunting and trapping seasons in Wisconsin are well underway, and the 2017 Fall Hunting and Trapping Forecast is available to help hunters and trappers prepare for their time in the outdoors.

To view this year's hunting and trapping forecast, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "forecast" or "hunt."

To receive email updates regarding deer hunting in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select the "white-tailed deer" distribution list (found within the "hunting" list).

For more general information regarding deer hunting in Wisconsin, search keyword "deer."

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Looking to try your hand at deer hunting? Enjoy discounted prices for first-time license purchases and be sure to fill out your first hunt certificate

MADISON - In its sixth year, the first-time buyer license continues to provide an opportunity to explore Wisconsin's outdoors and experience its hunting traditions at a reduced price.

Wisconsin residents who have never purchased a deer hunting license or have not purchased a Wisconsin resident deer hunting license in any of the prior ten years can do so for as little as $5. Other certain first-time resident hunting and fishing licenses are also available at a discount with the same eligibility requirements. Certain non-resident licenses are also discounted for first-time buyers.

Successful first-time deer hunters are also reminded to fill out a first hunt certificate to commemorate time in the outdoors.

Hunting and fishing licenses may be purchased and printed online at GoWild.Wi.gov or purchased at over 1,000 license agents statewide who will provide a printout of the license and tags. Locate a license agent near you at dnr.wi.gov, keywords "sales locations." This tool can locate agents by county or city.

As a reminder, all hunters must:

The following forms of proof of a deer hunting license and deer tags are accepted:

Paper copies of licenses and tags may be obtained at no charge if printed at home or obtained at DNR service centers. There is a $2 convenience fee for reprints obtained at license agents.

The requirement to register deer by 5 p.m. the day after recovery has not changed. Hunters must use the unique deer tag number to register their harvest. Hunters may retrieve a list of their deer tag numbers in their My GameReg section of their Go Wild account. Hunters can register deer via phone (1-844-426-3734) or online.

DNR Customer Service Representatives are available to assist the public from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Customers may reach customer service at 1-888-WDNR INFo (1-888-936-7463). For more information regarding the first-time license buyer program and first deer certificate, search keywords "first time buyer" and "first certificates."

* To authenticate a Wisconsin driver's license, the hunter must present it to license agent or enter number for online purchases. The hunter should check purchase receipt for confirmation that their Wisconsin driver's license is authenticated and the hunter is authorized to use his/her driver's license as proof of holding the required license or hunter safety certificate.

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Use online tools to find a new place to enjoy the outdoors this fall

MADISON - Each year, thousands of outdoor enthusiasts use Wisconsin's public lands for a variety of activities, ranging from birdwatching to hunting.

For those interested in exploring all Wisconsin has to offer, the Department of Natural Resources has a number of tools available to help users find a new favorite spot in the wild. Most public lands are open to hunting, however some have closed areas and special regulations and season dates. Be sure to check the property web page or contact a property manager for more information.

Public Access Lands Atlas

Those in search of public hunting and trapping grounds this fall are reminded to check out the department's Public Access Lands atlas. The atlas includes all DNR properties, as well as nearly all federal and county-owned lands. Hunters are reminded to contact landowners beforehand to verify that hunting is allowed on a given property. You can download and print these maps free of charge from your home computer. For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "atlas."

Voluntary Public Access - Habitat Incentive Program

The Voluntary Public Access - Habitat Incentive program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture NRCS, provides financial incentives to private landowners who open their property to year-round wildlife-dependent recreation. These lands are open to public use under certain guidelines. VPA lands are displayed on interactive maps on the VPA webpage or through the PAL application. Search keyword "VPA" to learn more.

Lands are clearly posted with a 'Private Lands leased for Public Access' sign. Property access is limited to foot traffic only and only portable, temporary blinds and stands can be used. For maps and additional information, search keyword "VPA."

Managed Forest and Forest Crop Law Programs

Managed Forest Law and Forest Crop Law are landowner-incentive programs that incorporate sustainable forest practices, like timber harvest and wildlife management, while improving public access to these lands.

Landowners who enroll may choose an "open" or "closed" designation for public recreation. Lands open to public recreation are available only for hunting, fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing, and sight-seeing. Hunters are encouraged to contact their local DNR Forester to learn more about these programs - search keywords "forest landowner," then click "find professional help" and use the Forestry Assistance Locator to find a DNR forester who has responsibility for that area of Wisconsin.

A mapping tool shows the approximate location of all MFL-Open and FCL lands in Wisconsin. Here, landowner info, acreage, and enrollment information is also available. To access the mapping tool, search keywords "MFL open land." For more general information regarding these programs, search keywords "managed forest law" and "forest crop law" for an FAQ and other helpful information.

Wisconsin's State Parks

State parks provide a range of recreational opportunities. In general, fall gun and archery hunting are allowed in the open areas of state parks during the open season. Be sure to visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "hunting state parks" to learn more.

FFLIGHT

The Fields and Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool gives hunters an interactive summary of young aspen and alder habitat to find woodcock and ruffed grouse hunting areas, pheasant-stocked public hunting grounds, and dove fields found on public hunting lands throughout Wisconsin.

Features available within the program help hunters locate DNR public parking areas, overlay township descriptions, and provide access to maps and aerial photos of prospective hunting areas. Users can also print maps and find GPS coordinates to assist in navigation and estimate acreage and walking distance.

The mapping application is compatible with all major desktop and mobile web browsers (internet access is required). Mobile users can use FFLIGHT on-the-go to find habitat suitable for the species they wish to pursue. To learn more, search keyword "FFLIGHT."

Adopt a Fish and Wildlife Area

The Adopt a Fish and Wildlife Area program provides an opportunity for those who frequent Wisconsin's public lands to give back to their favorite State Wildlife or Fisheries Area.

Participants receive a first-hand look at how the department uses management goals to maintain thousands of acres of property throughout Wisconsin and play a key role in enhancing wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities for others to enjoy.

Whether through habitat and maintenance work on the property or a financial donation, it has never been easier to play a direct role in conservation. Partner efforts are recognized through signage on the adopted property and department outreach efforts.

Those interested in adopting a State Wildlife Area can participate individually, or as part of a group. If you or your organization is interested, please submit an application [PDF] at the nearest DNR office location. To learn more about adopting a Wisconsin Wildlife Area, visit the department website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keyword "volunteer."

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ATVs and UTVs are a great tool for hunters - be sure to check out some helpful safety tips!

MADISON - All-terrain vehicles and utility-terrain vehicles are great tools to assist hunters with their hunts - but state recreational safety specialists say ATV and UTV operators need to keep a few tips in mind to ensure a safe hunt and ride.

For more information regarding ATV/UTV laws and safety, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "ATV."

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Share your hunt with Wisconsin - connect with DNR on social media this fall

MADISON - Whether you spend fall afternoons in a tree stand or at a state park hiking, there are a number of ways to connect with Department of Natural Resources staff this fall and share your experiences.

The department uses a number of outlets to reach Wisconsin's citizens, and these channels are also a great way to share your stories. DNR staff look forward to seeing photos from hunting trips and other outdoor activities - seeing their work enjoyed by others is truly special for staff.

Throughout fall hunting seasons, department staff will share helpful tips and answer questions on social media - this easy to use resource is an extremely valuable tool in learning more about everything from rules and regulations to wildlife biology.

Be sure to visit DNR's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and LinkedIn pages to learn more and share your love for Wisconsin's wild outdoors with others.

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Thursday, November 09, 2017

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications
608-267-2773