Contact(s): Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist, 608-261-7589
MADISON - Wisconsin's nine-day gun deer season opens Saturday, November 19, and state wildlife officials are enthusiastic about the prospects for 2016.
"As expected, the early archery and crossbow harvests are ahead of last year harvest-wise," said Kevin Wallenfang, big game ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "We are hearing many hunters report increased deer numbers in many areas of Wisconsin - with good hunting conditions throughout the season, I would expect that many hunters will see a few more deer than recent years and experience a good gun deer hunt."
Wallenfang also noted that hunters need to become familiar with a few new rules that go into effect this year ranging from tagging requirements and baiting restrictions to new buck-only units.
This year marks the second year of electronic deer registration through GameReg. Many hunters who used it in 2015 enjoyed the added convenience. Hunters who did not harvest a deer in 2015 or are new to hunting are encouraged to use a number of resources available to learn more about GameReg. A helpful GameReg tutorial is available online - this video can be viewed in the field or at home, and provides a step by step look at what to expect in 2016.
Wisconsin's four Deer Management Zones and county-based Deer Management Units have not changed in 2016. DMUs follow county boundaries in most cases, and nine DMUs are split by zone boundaries. DMU and land type-specific antlerless permits are intended to help manage deer populations more closely on each land type with the hope of enhancing future hunting experiences on public land.
With each deer hunting license (archery/crossbow and gun), hunters will receive one Buck Deer Carcass Tag valid statewide In addition, each license includes one or more Farmland (Zone 2) Antlerless Deer Carcass Tag that must be designated for use in a specific zone, DMU and land type (public access or private) at the time of issuance.
Farmland (Zone 2) tags may not be used in the Northern Forest or Central Forest zones, but bonus antlerless tags may be available for specific DMUs within these zones.
All Bonus Antlerless Deer Permits are zone, DMU and land-type specific. Bonus permits cost $12 for residents, $20 for nonresidents and $5 for youth (ages 10 and 11).
In 2016, 10 county DMUs, in whole or in part, are designated as buck-only units. All buck-only units are restricted to the Northern and Central Forest zones. Only the Buck Deer Carcass Tag issued with each deer license is valid in these DMUs, with some exceptions for youth, Class A and C disabled and military hunters.
County Deer Advisory Councils play a key role in deer management through the development of recommendations based on annual harvest data and management issues specific to each county. These recommendations help the department determine annual antlerless quotas, antlerless tag levels and season options.
Department staff would like to thank all CDAC members for their continued commitment to playing an active role in deer herd management in Wisconsin.
Hunters are required to carry the appropriate carcass tag when hunting species requiring a tag: deer, bear, turkey and geese. The carcass tagging FAQ (search "tag it"), will help hunters make sure they are ready for another year in the field, while the frequently asked questions offers additional information regarding changes for 2016.
Please note that when registering a harvested deer, the registration process will ask for the carcass tag number on the tag (not the customer ID). Please contact the DNR Call Center with any questions at 888-936-7463. Please have this carcass tag number handy when registering a deer. The carcass tag number is located near the top of the carcass tag.
Go Wild offers several options for displaying a hunting license, including an authorized Wisconsin Driver License, Conservation Card or electronic PDF image.
For more information regarding electronic registration, including a video tutorial, search keyword "GameReg." A link to the GameReg system is also available through the Pocket Ranger app for mobile devices.
Many fall hunting and trapping seasons in Wisconsin are just around the corner, and the 2016 Fall Hunting and Trapping Forecast [PDF] is now available.
People who missed three August live chats regarding deer hunting can review chat records online - search keyword "expert" and choose the chat of your choice. Hunters looking to brush up on their rules are encouraged to join DNR staff Nov. 10 at noon for a final deer season chat.
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 (found within the "hunting" list).
Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2016 with Dan Small will help hunters prepare for another fall deer hunt - while short previews are available online, the full show is currently airing on a number of television stations throughout Wisconsin. For show times, search keywords "deer show." To view previews, visit the department's Youtube page, select "playlists" and select "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2016 with Dan Small."
For more general information regarding deer hunting in Wisconsin, search keyword "deer."