Wisconsin has a long and storied tradition of regulated gun deer hunting, going back to 1851. There have been many changes over the years, but none more dramatic than those experienced by hunters during the 1990’s and early twenty-first century.
See complete history
Highlights of our history
- 1851 – First closed season for deer, Feb. 1 – June 30; Indians permitted to hunt anytime.
- 1876 – Hunting with dogs prohibited statewide.
- 1887 – Two game wardens appointed by governor at a monthly salary of $50; night hunting prohibited statewide.
- 1892 – Lawful to kill any dog running or hunting deer.
- 1897 – First bag limit for deer, two per season; resident license costs $1, nonresident license costs $30; estimated license sales total 12,000.
- 1909 – Season 20 days long, limit one deer; first civil service exam given on a competitive basis for prospective wardens.
- 1914 – Twenty-four hunters killed, 26 injured; license sales at 155,000.
- 1943 – First doe and fawn season in 24 years.
- 1980 – Blaze orange clothing required; first season of Hunter’s Choice permit; new law prohibits shining wild animals from 10pm to 7pm, Sept. 15 – Dec. 31; coyote season closed in northern management units to protect nascent wolf population.
- 1999 – Record gun harvest of 402,204 deer; record archery harvest at 92,203; licensed hunters at 690,194, second highest to date; resident deer license costs $20; non-resident license $135; early archery season, traditionally closed a week before November gun hunt, is extended in all 7 Zone T units through the Thursday preceding the traditional gun opener.
- See the complete history...
It takes a hunter
to make a hunter
We enjoy it with friends, our families or on our own in a blanket of quiet solitude. The future of our hunting heritage depends upon today’s hunters and their willingness to share their expertise and passion for deer hunting with new hunters. Mentoring a novice hunter of any age is rewarding and a lot of fun. Please consider introducing a “First Timer” to the hunting tradition. As they say: “It takes a hunter to make a hunter.” Read more.
Enter our photo contest>
Share your photos! Starting November 17, 2012, you can enter one photo a day which shows what you like best about Wisconsin's hunting tradition! It can be a photo of friends, family, the great outdoors, or the prize you took home. Just click on the "photo contest" box on the top of our Facebook page to enter! You rack up bonuses when your Facebook friends post their photos and vote! You could win a 3-year subscription to Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine! Contest ends Nov. 28th. Good luck!