Frequently asked questions Deer hunting rules for 2016
Brush up on existing rules and learn what's new for the 2016 deer seasons.
- 2016 deer hunting rule highlights
- Hunting seasons
The antlerless-only Holiday Hunt (Dec. 24 – Jan. 1, 2017) will be offered in some Farmland Zone Deer Management Units (DMUs), including: Brown, Columbia, Crawford, Green Lake, Marinette, Marquette, Milwaukee, Pepin, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Waukesha and Waupaca.
The December 4-day antlerless-only hunt (Dec. 8 – 11) will be offered statewide where antlerless tags are available. No bucks may be harvested during this season.
- Antlerless tags
Hunters must specify the zone, DMU and land type for each antlerless tag.
At least one Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless deer tag is included with each deer hunting license. However, hunters may only select Farmland (Zone 2) tags from a DMU that offers them, and the number of tags offered will vary by county.
DMUs containing a metro sub-unit may offer free Metro Sub-unit Antlerless Tags, and/or $12 Metro Sub-unit Bonus Antlerless Tags. These are DMU, sub-unit and land-type specific.
Junior Antlerless Deer Tags are valid in any unit statewide on the land-type specified on the tag, except in Ashland, Forest and Sawyer counties.
Group bagging is not allowed on Junior Antlerless Tags.
- Tagging and registration
Paper carcass tags must be validated immediately upon harvest of a deer. Carcass tags are validated by writing the date and time of kill. After registering the deer the confirmation number shall be written on the carcass tag and kept until the meat is consumed.
The validated carcass tag no longer needs to be attached to the deer as long as the hunter remains with the carcass, but the hunter must attach the validated paper tag to the deer before leaving it.
All deer registration will be completed electronically, but some in-person registration stations will be available to assist hunters.
All deer must be registered by 5 p.m. the day after harvest in the DMU of kill or an adjacent unit.
- Clothing requirements
Back tags are no longer required for deer hunting.
Fluorescent pink is now a legal alternative to blaze orange for hunting clothing only.
- Season structure
- Which seasons are offered in 2016?
The following seasons will occur:
- Archery and crossbow: September 17 to January 8, 2017
- Youth hunt: October 8 and 9
- October gun hunt for hunters with disabilities (on sponsored properties only): October 1 to 9
- November 9-day gun deer hunt: November 19 to 27
- Muzzleloader season: November 28 to December 7
- December 4-day antlerless-only season: December 8 to 11
- Metro sub-units gun season: November 19 – December 7
- Antlerless-only Holiday Hunt (select Farmland Zone units only): December 24-January 1
- Can hunters shoot bucks with a bow or crossbow in any DMU during the December 4-day antlerless-only deer season?
No. The December 4-day antlerless-only deer season will be held statewide, making it illegal to hunt bucks during this time, regardless of the weapon used. Except, Class A and C disabled permit holders and qualified U.S. Armed Forces members may use their Gun Buck Deer Carcass Tag to tag a buck statewide during any firearm deer season, including antlerless-only firearm deer seasons, to tag a buck that has been harvested with any legal weapon for that firearm season.
- Licenses and tags
- How is the number of land type-specific bonus antlerless deer tags (public and private) determined in DMUs?
County Deer Advisory Councils (CDACs) provide recommendations on how many public and private bonus antlerless tags should be issued in each DMU. Similar to how the department has handled this in the past, the CDACs review harvest history, anticipated hunter success, population estimates and other factors. Then, they make recommendations on antlerless harvest and bonus tag availability to help achieve three-year county population objectives of increase, decrease or maintain the deer herd in that DMU. This year, CDACs also made recommendations on various season options such as implementation of the Holiday Hunt, restricting the use of youth deer tags in buck-only counties, and others.
- Are back tags required in 2016?
No. The Legislature has repealed the requirement of wearing a back tag.
- With the new Go Wild system, what will deer hunting licenses and tags look like?
Go Wild offers several options for displaying licenses and printing carcass tags. Hunters will be able to print off a paper deer hunting license, link hunting license permissions to their Wisconsin driver’s licenses or a department-issued Conservation Card or display a department-approved PDF of the license on a smartphone or other mobile device. Hunters will need to print plain paper carcass tags either at home, at a DNR service center or at a license agent. If a hunter did not receive their Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags at the time of purchase, they may print them from their Go Wild account for free at home or at a DNR service center. They may also select and obtain them from a license agent for a $2 processing fee. ALL deer carcass tags will be printed on plain paper starting in 2016, and hunters must have a paper tag valid for the correct zone, DMU and land type in order to tag and register a deer. Read more about Go Wild for full details on using licenses and paper tags.
- How many Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags (included with a hunting license) can I get?
County Deer Advisory Councils determine the number of Farmland (Zone 2) tags issued per license within the county: i.e. 0, 1, 2, etc. For those DMUs that offer one or more Farmland (Zone 2) tags with a license, hunters are expected to be able to obtain these tags through Go Wild after mid-July.
- For DMUs that offer more than one Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tag (included with a license), can hunters select a different land type for each tag?
Yes. For example, if a DMU offers two Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags with a license, the hunter can designate one for private land and one for public land, both for private land or both for public land.
- For counties that offer more than one Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tag, can hunters designate a different DMU for each of these tags?
No. Multiple tags issued cannot be split between DMUs and must all be for the same DMU. For example, Sauk County is offering two tags per hunter, and the hunter must take both for Sauk County.
- How can hunters obtain and use metro sub-unit antlerless tags?
DMUs containing a metro sub-unit may offer, at no cost, one or more metro sub-unit tags with a license in addition to any Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags offered for that DMU. DMUs containing a metro sub-unit may also offer metro sub-unit bonus antlerless tags for purchase.
- Can I use my metro sub-unit antlerless tag or metro sub-unit bonus antlerless tag in the same DMU, but outside of the metro sub-unit?
No. All metro sub-unit antlerless tags are only valid within metro sub-unit boundaries in the specified DMU and on the land type (public or private) of the hunter’s choice.
- Can I use my Farmland Zone tag for say La Crosse County in the La Crosse metro sub-unit?
Yes. A Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tag is valid within the metro sub-unit of the DMU. It cannot be used in a metro sub-unit outside the DMU for which it is valid.
- How do I get a new carcass tag if my original gets wet or damaged? Is there a cost to replace it?
Replacement tags are issued through each hunter’s Go Wild account. Hunters may print a replacement tag for no charge at home or through a DNR service center, or visit a license agent to obtain a replacement for $2.
- Can I print several copies of a tag for the field so I have an extra in case one gets damaged?
Hunters may only possess one copy of each unique tag while in the field.
- Which tags will be issued with the purchase of an archery or crossbow deer hunting license?
Hunters will receive one Bow Buck carcass tag valid in any unit statewide and valid for use with either archery or crossbow equipment depending on license purchased. In addition, they may receive one or more Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tag(s), the number determined based on the DMU they hunt. Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags must be designated for use in only one DMU in a Farmland Zone. In addition, at the time of purchase, the buyer must choose the land type (public or private) for which the tag will be valid. If a hunter did not receive their Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags at the time of purchase, they may print them from their Go Wild account for free at home or at a DNR Service Center. They may also select and obtain them from a license agent for a $2 processing fee.
- Which tags will be issued with the purchase of a gun deer hunting license?
Hunters will receive one Gun Buck carcass tag valid in any DMU statewide, plus one or more Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tag(s), the number determined based on the DMU they hunt. All Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags must be designated for use in only one DMU in a Farmland Zone. In addition, at the time of purchase, the buyer must choose the land type (public or private) for which the tag will be valid. If a hunter did not receive their Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags at the time of purchase, they may print them from their Go Wild account for free at home or at a DNR Service Center. They may also select and obtain them from a license agent for a $2 processing fee.
- Which tags will be issued with the purchase of a Conservation Patron license?
Conservation patron license holders will receive one Gun Buck Deer Carcass Tag and one Bow Buck Deer Carcass Tag that can be filled with either a conventional bow or crossbow. They may also receive one or more Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tag(s) for each license type valid for use only in the Farmland Zone DMU and land type specified at the time of purchase. Antlerless tags are not weapon-specific and can be filled with bow, crossbow or firearm, during an open season. Conservation Patrons may specify two different DMUs, or the same DMU twice, for their Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags. They may also select different land types for each antlerless tag. If a hunter did not receive their farmland zone antlerless tags at the time of purchase, they may print them from their Go Wild account for free at home or at a DNR Service Center. They may also select and obtain them from a license agent for a $2 processing fee.
- If I plan to harvest antlerless deer in multiple DMUs or outside the Farmland Zones, will I need to buy separate tags?
Most Farmland Zone DMUs will provide antlerless tag(s), which must be designated for either public or private land. If a hunter would like to harvest an antlerless deer in a Forest Zone DMU, he/she must purchase a bonus antlerless tag for that DMU, if available. If a hunter wants more than one antlerless tag in a Farmland Zone DMU, they may be able to purchase additional bonus antlerless tags for $12 (residents), $20 (non-residents) or $5 (youth ages 10-11) each at a rate of one tag per hunter, per day, until sold out.
- What if the DMU I hunt doesn’t offer any Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags?
In this case, hunters will have the option of purchasing a bonus antlerless tag for the preferred DMU and land type (if available).
- Which tags will junior deer hunters receive?
Junior deer hunters will receive one buck tag valid statewide and one Junior antlerless deer tag valid statewide (except for Ashland, Forest and Sawyer DMUs) for each gun or bow license. Youth hunters age 10 – 17 will not need to specify DMU or zone, but will need to specify land type on this antlerless tag.
- If a 17-year-old buys a Junior hunting license, but turns 18 before or during the deer season, can they still use the statewide antlerless deer tags they received with their Junior hunting license?
Yes. Because the tags were obtained while the person was under 18 years of age, they are valid.
- What tags will Class A and C disabled permit holders receive?
Class A and C disabled permit holders will receive one buck tag valid statewide and the same free Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless deer tag(s) as everyone else. Class A and C disabled permit holders are authorized to tag one antlerless deer with a Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tag in any DMU statewide, including buck-only units, during a firearm deer season and one during the archery season, with the appropriate license and weapon. These tags are only valid on the land type (public or private) specified on the tag. All other Farmland (Zone 2) tags issued are only valid for the designated DMU and land type specified on the tag. Class A and C disabled permit holders may use their Gun Buck Carcass Tag to tag a buck statewide during any firearm deer season, including antlerless-only season.
- What tags will qualified U.S. Armed Forces members receive?
A U.S. Armed Forces member who exhibits proof that he/she is in active service stationed outside of this state, on furlough or leave and is a Wisconsin resident or was a resident upon entering active service will receive one buck tag valid statewide and the same free Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless deer tag(s) as everyone else. However, qualified U.S. Armed Forces members may use one of the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tag(s) in any DMU statewide on the land-type specified on the tag, including in buck-only DMUs, but only under the authority of a gun deer license and only during a season open to hunting deer with firearms. Qualified U.S. Armed Forces members may use their Gun Buck Deer Carcass Tag during the firearm deer season, including antlerless-only firearm deer seasons, to tag a buck that has been harvested with any legal weapon for that firearm season.
- Can Class A and C disabled or qualified military personnel on leave tag an antlerless deer with their buck tag?
No. The law requires that the DNR provide Class A and C disabled hunters and military personnel the opportunity to hunt either sex deer statewide during any firearm deer season under the authority of their gun deer license. Their buck tag is now valid only for bucks.
- Will active duty military service members still be offered bonus antlerless tags for DMUs that are sold out?
Yes. We will continue to handle this as we have in the past. Residents who are in active service with the U.S. Armed Forces outside this state and on furlough or leave will still be able to purchase a bonus tag for any DMU and land type (public or private) which has an antlerless quota, even if they are already all sold out.
- Are antlerless tags weapon-specific in 2016?
No. All antlerless tags may be filled with any weapon and during any open season with the appropriate license and weapon for that season.
- Is regular hunting or hunting under an agricultural deer damage shooting permit allowed on the Friday prior to the November 9-day gun deer season?
Yes. The prohibition of possessing a loaded or uncased firearm on the Friday prior to the November 9-day gun deer season has been eliminated. This allows hunting with a firearm for any animal with an open season or under damage shooting permits.
- Why are hunters charged a $2 fee per transaction to pick up their antlerless tags at a Go Wild license agent after their deer license purchase?
The $2 fee covers payments and commissions to agents and contractors, plus a transaction fee that is set in state statute. Customers may select their Farmland Zone antlerless tags and print themselves free of charge from their online Go Wild account.
- Bonus antlerless tags
- When will bonus tags go on sale?
Where available, bonus tags will be sold starting at 10 a.m. on August 15 in the Northern Forest and Central Forest Zones, August 16 in the Central Farmland Zone and August 17 in the Southern Farmland Zone. Sales for all remaining bonus tags for all zones and DMUs will begin at 10 a.m. on August 18. Bonus tags can be purchased at a rate of one tag per customer per day until the unit is sold out or the hunting season ends. At purchase, the hunter will specify the zone, DMU and land type (public or private) in which they want their tag to be valid.
- How can I purchase a bonus tag?
Bonus tags can be purchased online at gowild.wi.gov or in person at a DNR service center or licensing agent. Over-the-phone purchasing is no longer available.
- Are additional bonus tags weapon-specific?
No. Bonus tags are NOT weapon-specific. They are zone, DMU and land type (public or private property) specific.
- As in the past, can qualified farmers request one free bonus tag for each bonus tag they purchase?
Yes, but this request must occur at the time of purchase of the initial bonus tag and it must be for the same DMU and land type as their first tag.
- When the bonus tags go on sale in August, do the prices differ between Management Zones?
No. Where available, bonus tags are the same price, regardless of zone and DMU - $12 each for residents, $20 each for non-residents and $5 each for youth age 10 and 11.
- Crossbow regulations
- Which license is required to hunt with a crossbow?
To hunt with a crossbow during the crossbow deer season, a hunter must purchase a crossbow-specific license. However, if the hunter wishes to use both a crossbow AND archery equipment they must purchase the crossbow or archer license and the bow/crossbow upgrade. The first license will be sold at the regular price and the upgrade costs $3. Use of a crossbow is included with the Conservation Patron license.
- Which tags will a hunter receive with a crossbow license?
Hunters receive one Bow Buck Deer Carcass Tag valid in any unit statewide and one or more Farmland Zone Antlerless Deer Carcass Tags specific to the Farmland (Zone 2), county and land type specified at purchase. Hunters may purchase a $3 upgrade which authorizes the use of both crossbow and vertical bow to fill the Bow Buck Carcass Tag and Farmland (Zone 2) tag (specific to the Farmland Zone, county and land type specified at purchase). However, the purchase of an upgrade (or both licenses) does not come with a second set of carcass tags.
- If someone wants to hunt with a bow or crossbow during a firearm (including muzzleloader) hunting season, do they need to purchase an archer or crossbow license?
No. Anyone who possesses a regular (gun) deer license can use any legal firearm, bow or crossbow to hunt deer with that license during any season open to hunting deer with a firearm.
- If someone purchases both an archer and a crossbow license, what tags will they receive?
With the purchase of both licenses, hunters will receive one Bow Buck Deer Carcass Tag valid in any DMU statewide and one or more Farmland (Zone 2) Antlerless Deer Carcass Tags specific to the Farmland Zone, DMU and land type specified. These tags may be filled using either weapon. The purchase of both archer and crossbow licenses only authorizes the use of both weapons and hunters will not receive a second set of carcass tags.
- Can junior deer hunters hunt with a crossbow?
Yes, but they must purchase a crossbow-specific junior deer hunting license to use a crossbow during the crossbow deer seasons. Youth hunters do not need a crossbow license to hunt with a crossbow during a firearm deer season if the youth has a valid gun deer license.
- Do Conservation Patron licenses allow crossbow use?
Yes. A crossbow license is included with a Conservation Patron license.
- Can disabled hunters or hunters over the age of 65 hunt with a crossbow using a regular archer license?
No. All hunters wishing to hunt with a crossbow, including the disabled and those over 65 years of age, must purchase a crossbow-specific license or Conservation Patron license. Disabled hunting permits no longer authorize crossbow use. The law that formerly allowed crossbow use in these cases was repealed by the legislature in 2014.
- Are there specific transportation requirements relative to crossbows?
Crossbows that are not cocked do not need to be cased during transportation, whether it is in or on a vehicle, ATV, UTV, snowmobile or other motorized vehicle. A cocked crossbow can be placed in or on any of these vehicles and transported only if it is first unloaded (arrow/bolt removed) and the cocked crossbow is encased in a carrying case.
- Public and private lands
- What is the penalty for someone who harvests a deer in the correct zone and DMU but does not have the correct land-type specified on their tag?
This has not changed with the new rules. The penalty would be $222.90 plus the cost of a bonus antlerless deer tag they should have purchased for that land type ($12 for residents or $20 for non-residents).
- If someone in a group has an antlerless tag valid for use only on public land, will everyone else be able to participate under group hunting rules?
Yes. If the antlerless tag is valid for the DMU that the group is hunting (correct zone, DMU and land-type) and if all group members comply with all group deer hunting requirements, anyone in the group may participate in group hunting and fill an open antlerless tag; however, group bagging is not allowed under the Junior Antlerless Tag. All members of the group must be using firearms and each must hold a regular gun deer license in addition to contact and tagging requirements. A person hunting with a bow or crossbow cannot shoot a deer for someone else to tag, or tag a deer shot by another.
- Will the Farmland Zone antlerless tag(s) included at no cost with the purchase of a deer hunting license need to be specified for use on public or private land?
Yes. Hunters are required to specify zone, DMU and land type (public or private) for all antlerless tags, including those that are issued with the purchase of a deer hunting license.
- Do bonus antlerless tags require the purchaser to indicate public or private land?
- If a person buys an antlerless tag valid for use on private land, is that person restricted to only shooting a deer that is actually on private land or is he/she able to shoot a deer that is on public land so long as the shot originates on private land?
Both the hunter and the deer must be located on private property. A hunter with a private lands tag cannot shoot a deer standing on public lands even if he/she is standing on private land.
- If a person plans to hunt on private land AND public land, which antlerless tag is that person required to have?
Hunters must specify land type on all antlerless tags. If a hunter wants to hunt both public and private land within a given DMU for antlerless deer, this could be accomplished by selecting one land type (public or private) for the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tag that is included with a deer license, and selecting the other type (public or private) for a bonus antlerless tag (if bonus tags of that land type are available in that DMU). If the DMU offers more than one Farmland Zone tag with each licenses, those tags could be divided among public and private lands. Buck tags are valid statewide in any zone and unit, including on both public and private lands.
- If a hunter possesses an antlerless tag for use on private lands, can that hunter access any private lands within the unit?
No. Trespassing laws exist and hunters need landowner permission prior to entering private land. There are lands enrolled under open Managed Forest Law, Forest Crop Law and Voluntary Public Access programs that allow public hunting access, but these lands are considered public lands for purposes of where antlerless deer tags are valid. Hunters must possess an antlerless tag for public lands to harvest antlerless deer on these “open” lands.
- If a hunter purchases a bonus antlerless tag for hunting public lands, can that person switch it to a private lands tag after the purchase?
Yes. A hunter may switch land types as long as there are antlerless tags available for the desired zone, DMU, and land type, and does so before the deer season is open. That hunter would also have to pay a $2 processing fee if picking up the tag at a Go Wild license agent. Once the exchange has been approved and posted to their Go Wild account by the department, customers may print the tags themselves at home for no charge.
- Are there more antlerless tags available for private land than public land?
This varies throughout the state and is based on CDAC recommendations for antlerless harvest and the distribution of private and public land throughout each unit.
- If a hunter with an antlerless tag valid for private lands shoots a deer on private land and the deer runs onto public land but does not die, may the hunter shoot that deer when found and if so, what type of tag is required, public or private lands?
If the deer is still alive when the hunter finds it, and if the hunter (or a member of the hunting party, if applicable) does not have a valid antlerless tag, the hunter should contact the local warden for advice on how to proceed. It is not legal to hunt and/or shoot a deer in a DMU or on a land-type for which one does not have a valid tag, even if they first wounded that same deer in the DMU or on the land type their antlerless tag was valid. To allow this would be to allow anyone to hunt in the wrong area and simply claim that he/she wounded the deer earlier in the area his/her tag was actually valid. If the deer is already dead when the hunter finds it in an adjacent DMU or property type, it would be legal and the hunter must immediately validate and tag the deer with a tag that is valid for the area where the deer was shot. This is no different than what could have happened in the past when someone was hunting near the boundary between two DMUs.
- If hunting on private land that is open to public hunting because of an agricultural damage deer shooting permit, which land type must be designated on the antlerless tag, public or private?
Lands for which deer damage permits have been issued are still treated as private lands, and would require a designation of private lands on the antlerless tag. However, if they are also enrolled as open to public hunting under Managed Forest Law or Forest Crop Law, they would require a public lands designation on the tag. A damage permit might require the land to be open for public deer hunting, but it is neither a lease agreement like lands enrolled in Voluntary Public Access nor a contract like those for open Managed Forest Law and Forest Crop Law lands.
- For people enrolled in open Managed Forest Law or Forest Crop Law programs and hunting their own land, should their antlerless tag be designated for use on public or private lands?
If all or part of the property is enrolled in Managed Forest Law, Forest Crop Law or Voluntary Public Access and open to public hunting, the landowner will need a public lands antlerless tag to hunt on land enrolled in one of these programs. If the property is enrolled in one of these programs but is closed to public hunting, or if the landowner plans to hunt on part of the property that is not enrolled in one of these programs, the landowner will need a private land designation on their antlerless tag.
- What are some resources for finding land open to the public for hunting?
- Tagging deer
- Do I need to attach the tag before field dressing the animal or moving it?
No, the carcass tag only needs to be attached if you leave the carcass. However, you still are required to validate your carcass tag immediately upon harvesting the animal and before field dressing it or moving it. This now is done by writing on the carcass tag instead of marking it with a knife.
- Where do I need to attach the tag on the animal?
There is no specific carcass location where the tag needs to be attached, so long as the tag is attached to a spot that is reasonably accessible for inspection.
- Do I need to protect the tag?
You are required to keep the validated carcass tag intact and in good, legible condition.
- How am I supposed to protect and attach the tag?
There is no specific process required so long as the methods you have chosen actually keep the validated tag protected and attached. The department suggests placing the validated tag in a clear plastic sandwich bag and securing the tag to the carcass using string, plastic ties or wire.
- Am I required to attach the tag prior to or immediately after registration?
No, the validated carcass tag only needs to be attached if you leave the carcass.
- I’m not sure if I’m “leaving the carcass.” Am I allowed to attach the validated carcass tag before I leave it?
Yes. There is no restriction on attaching the validated carcass tag “too early.” When in doubt, just attach it.
- What if I leave the carcass with a friend; can I just give them the carcass tag?
No. The validated carcass tag needs to be attached. The legal requirement is based on whether you, as the person providing the validated tag, have left the animal. Leaving the carcass with other people does not change the requirement to attach a validated tag to your animal when you leave it.
- What if I still can see the carcass but I’m a long distance away from it?
The validated carcass tag needs to be attached. In this example, it would not be reasonable to say that you have brought the carcass along with you, meaning you have left it, and a validated tag needs to be attached. When in doubt, just attach it.
- When can I remove the tag?
A validated carcass tag that has been attached can only be removed from the carcass at the time of butchering or when prepared by a taxidermist, but the person who killed or obtained the animal shall retain the tag until the meat is consumed.
- If a tag is not attached to the animal, how will a conservation warden know if it was legally harvested?
As in the past, you still are required to show the validated carcass tag to DNR staff upon their request.
- Harvest registration
- Will electronic registration (GameReg) continue to be available to all deer hunters?
Yes. All deer registration is completed electronically, and hunters can register deer harvests by phone, mobile device or computer with Internet access. Tip: completing a deer registration online is much faster than deer registration by telephone.
- How long will a hunter have after harvesting a deer before that deer must be registered?
All deer must be registered by 5 p.m. the day after the animal is recovered and the carcass tag is validated.
- Does this registration deadline apply to all deer harvested during the deer seasons?
Yes. Any deer harvested must be registered by 5 p.m. the day after it was harvested.
- With the implementation of electronic harvest registration, will the registration requirements for harvested deer change?
No. All deer harvested during all deer hunting seasons must be registered before being transported from the DMU of harvest or an adjacent DMU. Traditional registration stations will still be open to provide electronic registration services; however, hunters are not required to register their harvest in person. Hunters can find additional information on electronic registration on the DNR website.
- Where can I learn more about GameReg?
Visit dnr.wi.gov, keyword “electronic registration,” for more information.
- Transportation of deer
- What is the requirement for possessing and transporting someone else’s deer?
A person may not possess another hunter’s deer while afield, even if the deer is tagged and registered, without the tag holder being present. However, anyone can possess and transport another person’s registered deer on a public highway for purposes of transportation to, and possession at, a dwelling or a business without the tag holder being present. A dwelling includes both permanent and temporary residences, and would include hunting cabins and campsites. This allows a person to leave their registered deer at a hunting camp, meat processor or someone else’s residence when they are not present.
- Does that mean it is okay to leave my tagged and registered deer hanging in my hunting camp and go home?
Yes. Your registered deer can be left at any cabin or campsite and possessed, in your absence, by someone who is not hunting. This person can also transport the deer on public highways to another residence, meat processor, etc.
- What is the purpose behind the restriction for transporting or possessing someone else’s deer; what is still allowed?
A change was made to allow the department to continue to enforce the laws which prohibit harvesting and possessing a deer in violation of the state’s group deer hunting laws. First, the person who tags the deer must register that deer before it is given to another person’s control. Then, a person can possess and transport a registered deer tagged by someone else, only at a dwelling (residence, campsite or cabin), public roadway, or other area where hunting cannot occur. So, once your deer has been removed from the field and registered, you can be comfortable leaving it with another person for transport “back home" or to the meat processor.
- What about assisting with field dressing and removing a deer from the field?
So long as you are accompanied by the tag holder, the normal activities associated with field dressing, dragging and transporting a deer from the field remain lawful for assistants.
- Does that mean if someone is using an ATV/UTV either on their land or if they are disabled, they cannot transport any deer except for their own tagged deer on the ATV/UTV?
The tagger must continue to accompany the deer when it is being transported (moved), even after the deer has been registered, except when being transported on a public roadway. They do not need to be in or on the same vehicle and could be following in another vehicle, ATV or UTV, as long as they are traveling together.
- Chronic wasting disease management
- Is there a map showing the CWD-affected areas?
Yes. A map identifying the counties designated as CWD affected-areas (recall that there is no longer a CWD Management Zone) can currently be found on the DNR’s CWD web page. These are the same counties where baiting and feeding deer is currently prohibited.
- In the past the department has given someone a replacement buck tag if they shot a CWD-positive buck. Will they now do the same if they shoot a CWD-positive doe?
Yes. A replacement tag will be issued for all harvested deer that test positive for CWD, regardless of sex. Please see the 2016 Deer Hunting Regulations for further details.
- Do you foresee continued testing for CWD considering the growing area in which it is found?
Yes. The department intends to continue testing for CWD. The major focus will likely continue to be in southern counties, but the department will also continue to do weighted surveillance in counties where CWD has not been detected. Hunter service testing will continue to be an option for adult deer and hunters/landowners are encouraged to report sick deer to DNR staff. Contact information for reporting can be found on the sick deer web page on the DNR’s website.
- Will hunters still be able to bring their deer to a walk-in testing location for free CWD testing?
Yes. The department will continue CWD monitoring efforts as before. With full implementation of electronic registration, some registration stations will be maintained throughout the state specifically for the purposes of collecting CWD samples and other biological data to assess deer herd health. The department will continue to offer free testing for CWD on a voluntary basis in 2016. Hunters wishing to find a CWD sampling station near them can visit http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/registersample.html.
- Are there any restrictions about crossing state lines or transporting a deer harvested in a CWD-affected county out of a CWD-affected county?
Yes, restrictions are in place to prevent the spread of CWD from affected areas to disease-free areas. The head and spinal column cannot be moved any farther than an adjacent county outside a CWD-affected area unless the carcass is taken to a licensed meat processor or licensed taxidermist within 72 hours. Anyone wanting to transport a deer from a CWD-affected area out-of-state should contact the state to which the deer will be transported to determine what restrictions exist regarding the transport of deer in the other state.