Gun deer season opens Saturday

Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season opens Saturday 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 re- strictions 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.

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.

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