September 1, 2015
MADISON - With fall right around the corner, Sept. 12 marks the opening of the 2015 archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons. These seasons will run concurrently statewide, from Sept. 12 to Jan. 3, 2016.
"We're expecting a good year in the field," said Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang. "I've heard quite a few reports of does with triplets in the farmland areas, and many northern folks I've talked to say their deer sightings have increased compared to the past few years."
In its second year, the crossbow season will continue to provide an additional hunting opportunity for many hunters throughout Wisconsin. Those 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. Hunters will use the same buck tag and antlerless tags issued with their first license of choice.
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.
According to Wallenfang, deer numbers vary significantly both locally and across the state. A mild winter in 2014-15 seems to have boded well for fawn recruitment, and antler development appears to be very good in most areas. Hunters in 12 predominantly forested counties will see buck-only hunting again this year as part of continued efforts to rebuild the deer herd in these areas.
For a look at the statewide outlook for hunting of all types in Wisconsin this fall, check out this year's fall forecast (keyword "forecast [PDF]").
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.
All harvested deer will be registered electronically in 2015. Hunters will have three options for registering their deer: by phone at 1-844-426-3734 (1-844-GAME-REG), online at gamereg.wi.gov, or electronically at a participating in-person registration station (keyword "registration stations"). A link to the electronic registration system will also be available through the Pocket Ranger app for mobile devices.
Electronic registration is simple, fast and convenient for hunters. The registration system will prompt hunters to answer a series of questions and generate a 10-digit confirmation number, which must be written on the carcass tag attached to the harvested animal. Hunters are reminded to carry a pen or pencil with them to write the 10-digit number on their tag. When this registration number is written on the tag, the animal is considered legally registered.
All deer must be registered by 5 p.m. the day after the deer is recovered. Hunters must retain the tag with confirmation number as proof of registration until the deer has been consumed.
For more information regarding electronic registration, search keywords "electronic registration."
DNR staff will answer any questions hunters may have about electronic registration and 2015 deer season regulations during an online chat Sept. 3 at noon. From registration guidelines to antlerless tag use, this chat will make sure hunters are ready to head out into the field. To view or participate in the chat, search keyword "chat."
Deer hunters are encouraged to check out the frequently asked questions page for more information regarding several rule changes for 2015. 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 more information regarding archery and crossbow deer hunting, search keyword "deer."
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.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist, 608-261-7589