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Contact information
For more information about deer hunting, licenses and harvest authorizations, call: 888-936-7463
For questions specific to deer management, contact:
Kevin Wallenfang
Deer & Elk Ecologist
Bureau of Wildlife Management

Deer hunting

Deer 2020.

Recognized nationwide as one of the country’s premier white-tailed deer hunting states, Wisconsin has both an abundant herd and a proven reputation for producing some of the largest bucks in the world. With over seven million acres of lands open for public hunting across a diverse range of habitats, you can pursue the experience that suits you: from walking all day on a fresh track in the great Northwoods, to sitting the fertile river bottoms and agricultural lands in the south. Whether you are new to hunting or preparing for your fiftieth season, Wisconsin has what you need for great hunting and lifetime memories in the deer woods.

At the request of the Natural Resource Board, the department conducted a thorough analysis of the use of crossbows in Wisconsin, and across the country. The crossbow report took into consideration a number of different factors including the biological implications to the deer population, license sale trends, affects on gun hunting, as well as the motivations behind weapon selection among hunters.

Wisconsin's Evaluation of Crossbow Use and Season Structure [PDF]

What you need to know for this season
Rules and regulations

Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations

Antlerless Deer Hunting Guide [PDF]: Explore opportunities and regulations specific to harvesting antlerless deer.

Deer season rule package [PDF]: The rules approved by the Natural Resources Board that set the terms of the deer hunting season.

Carcass movement regulations: Learn how and where deer can be moved.

Baiting and feeding regulations: Check here often to find out if your county allows baiting and feeding of deer.

2018-2020 Deer Management Zones and Units

Deer Management Zones (DMZs) divide the state into four zones based on habitat type: Northern Forest, Central Forest, Central Farmland and Southern Farmland.

Deer Management Units (DMUs) generally follow county boundaries, but some counties are split into two DMUs by a Deer Management Zone boundary. DMUs were updated in 2018; be sure to know where you're hunting this fall!

For more information about hunting opportunities in each DMU, review the interactive DMU map

. Deer Management Units

Click on the image to view a larger PDF.

2020 Season structure

Season dates

Deer Season Structure

Click on the image to view a larger PDF.

Special hunts and learning opportunities

Youth Deer Hunt: special hunting opportunities for youth under age 18

Mentored hunting: hunting opportunities for new hunters of all ages

Deer hunting for hunters with disabilities

Deer hunting on Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Antlerless only hunt at Sandhill Wildlife Area: Apply for special access to hunt antlerless deer at Sandhill Wildlife Area.

Learn to Hunt: Explore Wisconsin's Learn to Hunt program to try something new or become a mentor

Deer hunting FAQs [PDF]

Antlerless deer harvest authorization availability

Season dates

Chronic wasting disease

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a degenerative disease of the brain and nervous tissue that infects white-tailed deer and other cervids. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources began monitoring the state's wild white-tailed deer for CWD in 1999. The first positives were found in 2002 through testing of hunter harvested deer in November 2001. While testing a harvested deer is not required, hunters are encouraged to learn about CWD in Wisconsin and stay up to date on mandatory baiting and feeding restrictions.

Learn about CWD in Wisconsin

Bait and feed legally

Moving, processing and disposing of carcass

Prepare for the hunt

Get ahead of the game by preparing before this year's hunting season.

Wild Wisconsin web series: videos, podcasts and more for Wisconsin hunters

Hunt Wild Wisconsin Mobile App: The only hunting app you need.

Public access lands maps

Field Dressing Deer: Pocket Guide [exit DNR] [PDF]

After the harvest

You successfully harvested a deer. Now what?

  1. Register your deer through Game Reg. Registration is required and must be completed by 5pm the day after the deer carcass is recovered.
  2. Get your deer tested for CWD. CWD testing is not required, but it is recommended. Sampling is free and easy!
  3. Process your deer and, once your CWD test results come back, enjoy the meat. Check out the Wild Wisconsin web series for tips on how to process your deer and cook a delicious meal.
  4. Safely dispose of deer carcass waste. There are several options available to safely and legally dispose of deer carcass waste.
  5. Commemorate your first harvest. If you or a friend or family member celebrated their first deer harvest this year, request a personalized First Deer Certificate!
Harvest statistics

Wisconsin Deer Metrics System: harvest and population data, deer health information and deer impact measurements

Wisconsin Big Game and Turkey Harvest Summary [PDF]

Current harvest data: this season's deer harvest, updated weekly throughout the hunting season

Weapon Use by Wisconsin Deer Hunters 2014-2017 [PDF]

Wisconsin wildlife reports: harvest data, hunter opinion surveys and wildlife population survey results from the last two years

Chronology of deer hunting in Wisconsin [PDF]

For more on deer population trends and statistics, visit the deer management page.

How are deer seasons set?

The DNR estimates deer populations in each DMU based on biological data and harvest figures

County Deer Advisory Councils (CDACs) meet twice each spring to make recommendations to the DNR on deer hunting season structure options and antlerless deer harvest quotas for the year

The DNR reviews recommendations provided by each CDAC

CDAC and DNR recommendations for the deer hunting season are presented to the Natural Resources Board (NRB) for final approval. The NRB can accept the recommendations as they are presented or adjust season structure or antlerless deer harvest quotas based on public feedback, new information, etc.

The final deer season structure and harvest quotas approved by the NRB are made public and preparations are made for the deer hunting seasons

Get involved in deer management

County Deer Advisory Councils: join your local County Deer Advisory Council or attend a meeting to provide input on upcoming deer seasons

Natural Resources Board: provide comments directly to the Natural Resources Board or view upcoming meeting agendas

Wisconsin Conservation Congress: contact your local delegate or attend a spring hearing

Buy a deer hunting license

Learn about Wisconsin's deer herd management

Register a harvested deer with Game Reg

Deer hunting
Last revised: Monday July 06 2020