September 2, 2014
MADISON -- With fall right around the corner, Sept. 13 marks the opening of the 2014 archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons. These seasons will run concurrently statewide, from Sept. 13 to Jan. 4, 2015.
"For those of us who love to bow hunt, it's an exciting time of the year and anticipation runs high," said Bob Nack, big game section chief for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The new crossbow season, open to all hunters with an appropriate license, will create a new hunting opportunity for many hunters throughout Wisconsin. Hunters interested in using both a conventional bow and crossbow may do so by paying full price for one of the licenses and purchasing a $3 upgrade for the second license.
Archery and crossbow deer hunters will again be allowed to hunt during the regular nine-day gun deer hunt in November, and will have the opportunity to fill a gun deer license tag using crossbow or archery equipment.
Hunters will see a mix of deer numbers across the state, depending on which zones they hunt. Those in the new Farmland Deer Management Zones should expect to see comparatively more deer than those hunting in the Forest Zones, where deer numbers are down.
"We will see a reduced harvest throughout the north and some central forest counties," said Nack. "We continue to have good numbers of deer in most farmland areas and expect some excellent bow hunting this year."
Nack says it is important to keep in mind that localized distribution of deer may not reflect regional herd trends. Deer change their movements in response to weather, food availability and other factors, and are not always evenly distributed throughout a deer management unit. Aerial surveys often show a large number of deer in 1 square mile of habitat with very few deer in one of the neighboring square-mile blocks.
"As always, there is no substitute for scouting and pre-season contacts with neighboring land owners," said Nack.
In 2013, more than 266,000 licensed archery hunters harvested almost 88,000 deer, compared to 263,000 archery hunters and 94,000 deer harvested in 2012.
During any open gun deer seasons, archery and crossbow hunters are required to follow the same blaze orange clothing regulations as gun hunters. All deer hunters are reminded to be especially careful when climbing into and out of deer stands - state recreational safety specialists say statistics show this is when most injuries occur.
Deer hunters are encouraged to check out the frequently asked questions page for more information regarding several rule changes for 2014. The FAQ feature provides brief responses to a wide variety of deer hunting questions, ranging from deer management unit boundaries to antlerless permits. To view the FAQ page and view more information regarding crossbow deer hunting, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "deer."
To view questions answered by DNR wildlife experts during a recent crossbow chat, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "expert." On the right side of the page near the bottom, under the completed events list, select the "crossbow hunting" chat.
To receive email updates regarding crossbow deer hunting regulations, reminders and other important information, 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 "Crossbow Deer Hunting" distribution list.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Nack, DNR big game section chief, 608-264-6137