SPOONER - Wisconsin's deer gun hunt is one of the most exciting times of the year for many residents, but it is important for everyone to follow the rules and regulations for gun deer season so that everyone stays safe in the woods. Here are some answers to the 10 more frequently asked questions:
1. Can I hunt the day before deer season? Generally, no! It is illegal to possess a gun on the Friday before the regular November nine-day gun deer season in any part of the state outside of the CWD zones unless the gun is unloaded and enclosed within a carrying case. There are a few exceptions, which include target shooting at established ranges, sighting in firearms by landowners on their own land, hunting on licensed game farms and shooting preserves and hunting waterfowl during the open season. The archery deer season is closed on Friday before the Regular November nine-day gun deer season except in the CWD zones, but hunting small game with a bow and arrow is still legal if the season is still open for that species of small game. Hunting small game, such as pheasants with a firearm is legal in the CWD zones on the Friday before the Regular November nine-day gun deer season.
2. Can I take my child hunting without a gun or license? Yes. He or she can tag along to observe the hunt. We recommend anyone in the woods wear blaze orange.
3. What handguns are legal for deer hunting? Deer may be hunted with handguns loaded with center-fire cartridges of .22 caliber or larger that have a minimum barrel length of 5 1/2 inches measured from the muzzle to the firing pin with the action closed.
4. What are the casing requirements for firearms? The rule is as follows: "Enclosed in a carrying case' for firearms means completely contained in a gun case expressly made for that purpose which is fully enclosed by being zipped, snapped, buckled, tied or otherwise fastened, with no portion of the firearm exposed. No person may place, possess or transport a firearm, bow or crossbow in or on a vehicle, unless the firearm is unloaded and encased or unless the bow or crossbow is unstrung or is enclosed in a carrying case. A vehicle includes ATVs and snowmobiles.
5. Can someone else transport my deer after it's legally tagged and registered? Yes. Any person may transport a lawfully taken deer if it is properly tagged and registered, whether they possess a hunting license or not.
6. Once I have killed a deer, can I continue to hunt? Any member of a group gun-deer hunting party may kill a deer for another member of the party with a firearm if both of the following conditions exist:
A) At the time and place of the kill, the person who kills the deer is in contact with the person for whom the deer is killed. Contact means visual or voice contact without the aid of any mechanical or electronic amplifying device other than a hearing aid.
B) The person for whom the deer is killed possesses a current, unused deer carcass tag that is authorized for use on the deer killed. The person killing the deer may not leave the deer unattended until after it is tagged.
7. Can I hunt small game during the deer season? Yes, if the season is open, and -- with the exception of waterfowl hunting -- if 50 percent of the person's outer clothing above the waist is blaze orange.
8. Can I use a light to shine wild animals? Persons may not use or possess with intent to use a light for shining any wild animal while hunting or in possession of a firearm, bow and arrow or crossbow. Further, between Sept. 15 and Dec. 31, during the hours of 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., you may not use any light for shining wild animals.
9. What do I do if I lose my hunter education certificate? Wisconsin law requires that anyone born after Jan. 1, 1973 must have successfully completed a hunter education course before he or she purchases any hunting license. This certificate must be presented when a license is purchased. If lost, a duplicate can be obtained by going in person or applying through the mail to a Department of Natural Resources license sales office. The current fee is $2.75.
10. How close must my 12-year-old son or daughter be to me to be under my supervision? The law states that anyone ages 12 and 13 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Accompanied means within sight and voice contact (without the aid of any mechanical or electronic amplifying device, other than a hearing aid).
For answers to additional questions, consult the Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations pamphlet - available on the Hunting and Trapping Regulations page of the DNR Web site and at businesses where licenses are sold, county clerk offices, and all Department of Natural Resources offices or contact the DNR customer service call center or the DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement at (608) 266-2141.