• HUNTING UPDATES

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has identified several potential projects to restore fish and wildlife habitats in the Lower Green Bay and Fox River Area of Concern (AOC). Scientists and natural resource managers recommend these projects to improve fish and wildlife populations and their habitats — and ultimately to support delisting the Lower Green Bay and Fox River AOC. We want your help to prioritize and plan these projects.

To collect your feedback, we will send you another email on Jan. 21 with a secure link to an online form that will focus on seven restoration projects along the west shore of Green Bay. This is the final in a series of three surveys evaluating 18 total project areas.

We want to learn what you and other stakeholders think about these projects' economic and social benefits and their contributions to the communities surrounding the AOC. These could include short or long-term effects on community identity, local tax base, employment or income levels, educational or recreational opportunities, public health or family circumstances. We encourage any other feedback you may have about the projects.

Completing the form will take 15-20 minutes. Your input is anonymous. We will evaluate and summarize responses collectively and will not attribute comments to individuals.

About The Lower Green Bay And Fox River AOC

The Lower Green Bay and Fox River AOC was designated as one of 43 sites on the Great Lakes with significant environmental damage by the United States and Canada in 1987. The Federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding, first launched in 2010, helps AOCs clean up pollution and restore waterways.

Thirteen environmental problems, called beneficial use impairments in the AOC program, were identified for the Lower Green Bay and Fox River AOC, along with management actions to address those problems. Once all impairments have met their targets for cleanup and restoration and are removed, the AOC can be formally delisted. To learn more, visit our website.

Please send any questions to: Brie Kupsky, Wisconsin DNR Lower Green Bay and Fox River Area of Concern Coordinator, at Brianna.Kupsky@wisconsin.gov or 920-662-5465.

Wisconsinites are an important part of the planning process for deer season in every county. Every three years, we seek input from citizens and hunters that help form herd objectives.

This is your last call to weigh in on deer herd objectives in your county! Every three years, Wisconsinites like you have the chance to provide input on what the future of deer hunting will look like in your county. Let us know your thoughts on proposed herd-size objectives today.

Give Your Input

Giving your input takes only a few minutes and helps the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and your local deer advisory council make important deer management decisions.

Provide feedback on the DNR webpage here.

Join The Call

Each county’s deer advisory council will meet once more between Jan. 19-25 to consider public input and make final recommendations for herd-size objectives. The meetings are open to all, and attendees are not required to pre-register to attend. Find out the time and Zoom call information for your county and make your plan to be on the call.

The DNR will review final herd objectives following the January meetings and provide recommendations to the Natural Resources Board for approval in February. More information can be found on the DNR website.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirms a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the Town of Germania in southwestern Shawano County, within 10 miles of Waupaca County. As required by state law, the DNR will renew the baiting and feeding bans in Shawano and Waupaca counties.

The CWD-positive deer was an adult doe harvested during the 2020 gun deer season and was tested as part of the department's disease surveillance efforts. This is the first wild deer detection in Shawano County.

State law requires that the DNR enact a ban on the baiting and feeding of deer in counties or portions of counties within a 10-mile radius of a wild or farm-raised deer that tests positive for CWD. Baiting and feeding were already banned in Shawano County due to a prior CWD positive detection in a farm-raised facility in 2017.

The DNR will continue surveillance near the CWD positive detection location. Collecting CWD samples is essential for assessing where and to what extent CWD occurs in deer across the state.

As ever, successful CWD management depends in part on citizen involvement in the decision-making process through local County Deer Advisory Councils (CDAC).

The upcoming Shawano County CDAC meeting to discuss deer population objectives will be extended to include the new CWD information. The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom on Jan. 19 at 7 p.m., with the CWD portion of the agenda beginning at approximately 7:45 p.m. The public is invited to attend. Additional details regarding the Shawno County CDAC is available here. (Select Shawano from the drop-down menu.) Preregistration is not required.

CWD is a fatal, infectious nervous system disease of deer, moose, elk and reindeer/caribou. It belongs to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. CWD occurs only in members of the cervid or deer family - both wild and captive. The Wisconsin DNR began monitoring the state's wild white-tailed deer population for CWD in 1999. The first positives were found in 2002.

More information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin is available here. Information on how to have deer tested during the 2020-21 hunting seasons is available here.

NSSF®, the firearm industry’s trade association, hailed U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson’s (R-N.C.) introduction of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2021, H.R. 38, on the first day of the 117th Congress. The legislation was introduced with bipartisan support and 154 original co-sponsors, demonstrating the wide-ranging support for protecting law-abiding concealed carry permit holders from navigating a patchwork of varying gun control laws when crossing a state line.

 

The bill aims to eliminate the confusion of varying state-by-state laws and provide protection for Second Amendment rights for permit holders. The legislation would allow handgun owners who are legally permitted and authorized by their home state to carry a concealed firearm in other states while complying with the laws of each state – much in the same way a driver’s license is recognized.

 

“This legislation provides an answer to the confusing patchwork of laws surrounding concealed carry permits, particularly with regard to states where laws make unwitting criminals out of legal permit holders for a simple mistake of a wrong traffic turn,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “It safeguards a state’s right to determine their own laws while protecting the Second Amendment rights of all Americans. We thank Rep. Hudson for his leadership on behalf of America’s hunters and recreational shooters.” 

 

“Our Second Amendment rights do not disappear when we cross state lines, and H.R. 38 guarantees that,” said Rep. Hudson. “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2021 is a common sense solution to provide law-abiding citizens the right to conceal carry and travel freely between states without worrying about conflicting state codes or onerous civil suits. I am especially proud to have such widespread and bipartisan support for this measure and will work with my colleagues to get this legislation over the finish line.”

 

Unlike other rights protected by the U.S. Constitution, the right to keep and bear arms is regulated differently by individual states. While individual rights to speech, religion and protections of Due Process or Search and Seizure are constant, gun rights vary according to the state. Reciprocity agreements exist, but not between all states and are ever-changing. That puts individuals at risk of running afoul of varying state-by-state laws when traveling and crossing borders.

 

The pitfalls of these varying state-by-state laws were exposed when Philadelphia resident Shaneen Allen faced up to five years in prison for bringing a firearm into New Jersey in 2013. She held a valid license to carry in Pennsylvania, but not in neighboring New Jersey. The mother-of-two voluntarily told a law enforcement officer of the firearm during a traffic stop, but was still arrested, charged, convicted and spent 48 days in jail – all for having made a wrong turn and accidentally crossing state line. Fortunately, after an 18-month legal ordeal, Republican Gov. Chris Christie pardoned Allen. Others are not so lucky.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed that a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the Town of Trenton in northeastern Washington County, within ten miles of Ozaukee County.

As required by state law, the DNR will enact a new two-year ban on baiting and feeding in Ozaukee County and renew a three-year baiting and feeding ban in Washington County effective Jan. 5, 2021.

The CWD-positive deer was an adult buck harvested during the 2020 archery deer season that was tested as part of the department’s disease surveillance efforts. This is the first wild deer detection in Washington County.

State law requires that the DNR enact a ban on the baiting and feeding of deer in counties or portions of counties within a 10-mile radius of a wild or farm-raised deer that tests positive for CWD. Baiting and feeding were already banned in Washington County due to a prior CWD positive detection in a farm-raised deer facility.

The DNR will continue surveillance near the CWD positive detection location. Collecting CWD samples is important for assessing where and to what extent CWD occurs in deer across the state. As ever, successful CWD management depends in part on citizen involvement in the decision-making process through local County Deer Advisory Councils.

CWD is a fatal, infectious nervous system disease of deer, moose, elk and reindeer/caribou. It belongs to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. CWD occurs only in members of the cervid or deer family - both wild and captive. The Wisconsin DNR began monitoring the state's wild white-tailed deer population for CWD in 1999. The first positives were found in 2002.

More information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin is available here. Information on how to have deer tested during the 2020-21 hunting seasons is available here.  

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds black bear and wild turkey hunters the 2021 season application deadline is before midnight on Dec. 10, 2020.

Hunters can purchase applications for permit drawings at GoWild.wi.gov or through an authorized license agent. Consider inviting others who may not usually participate in these seasons to apply and find an adventure in Wisconsin.

2021 Black Bear Hunting

Harvest numbers from the 2020 black bear season are not finalized. Preliminary estimates show that hunters harvested more than 4,100 bears. DNR staff and the Bear Advisory Committee are currently determining 2021 harvest quotas.

Due to the high level of interest in this hunt, bear hunters must apply for several years before receiving a permit through the drawing process for most bear management zones. Bear permit applicants must apply at least once during any period of three consecutive years to retain their accumulated preference points, or all accumulated preference points will be lost.

If the hunter is selected in the drawing, their preference points will be reset to zero, even if they do not purchase the harvest permit. It is the applicant's responsibility to be aware of drawing status. Applicants selected in the drawing will be notified by mail shortly after the drawing and may purchase their 2021 Class A bear license beginning in March 2021. Applicants may also check their status online through their Go Wild customer account.

Applicants are reminded of the new bear management zone boundaries, as their usual hunting grounds may change to a new unit start date in 2021. There will likely be no significant changes across zones A, B, C and D; however, harvest permit wait times could fluctuate.

The new zones are part of the Wisconsin Black Bear Management Plan, 2019-2029, developed by the DNR Bear Advisory Committee and approved by the Natural Resources Board in May 2019. The new bear management zones are designed to address bear conflicts and manage desired population levels effectively.

The season structure for the 2021 bear hunt is as follows:

Zone C, E and F (dogs not permitted):

  • Sept. 8 to Oct. 12 - with the aid of bait and all other legal methods not using dogs.

Zone A, B, and D:

  • Sept. 8-14 – with the aid of dogs only

  • Sept. 15 to Oct. 5 - with all legal methods, including bait and dogs

  • Sept. 6-12 - with the aid of bait, with all other methods not using dogs

For more information on bear hunting in Wisconsin, visit the DNR bear hunting webpage here.

2021 Spring Turkey Hunting

Dec.10 is also the deadline to apply for a spring turkey harvest authorization (previously known as a tag or permit). Turkey harvest authorizations are issued through a preference-based drawing system. For more information on the turkey preference drawing, see Turkey Frequently Asked Questions.

Applicants may choose up to two time period and zone combinations that they would like to hunt. As a third choice, applicants may choose one zone in which they will accept a harvest authorization for any period. This third choice can be the same zone as the first and/or second choice. The second and third choices are optional, but applicants are encouraged to provide second and third choices to maximize their likelihood of drawing a harvest authorization.

Successful applicants will be notified by mail after the drawing results are finalized.

Unsuccessful applicants will receive a preference point that will increase their chances of drawing a harvest authorization the following spring season. Hunters can check their application status online through Go Wild.

Any harvest authorizations not awarded in the drawing will be available for purchase as bonus harvest authorizations starting March 15, 2021. Bonus harvest authorizations will cost $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents.

All turkey hunters must possess a valid spring turkey license and wild turkey stamp when they acquire their spring turkey harvest authorization. A 2020 spring turkey license is $15 for Wisconsin residents and $60 for non-residents. The 2020 wild turkey stamp is $5.25.

The 2021 spring turkey season is as follows:

  • Youth Hunt - April 17 - 18;

  • Period A - April 21 - 27;

  • Period B - April 28 - May 4;

  • Period C – May 5 - 11;

  • Period D - May 12 - 17;

  • Period E - May 19 - May 25; and

  • Period F – May 26 - June 1.

For information on hunting in state parks, visit the DNR webpage. All harvested turkeys must be registered. For information on how to register your turkey, visit the DNR turkey hunting and management webpage.  

2021 Youth Turkey Hunt

The annual Spring Turkey Youth Hunt, designed for hunters ages 15 and younger, is April 17-18, 2021. Interested youth hunt participants should apply for a spring turkey harvest authorization before the Dec. 10 deadline. A harvest authorization for any period can be used during the two-day youth hunt, but hunters are limited to the zone listed on their harvest authorization.

Youth hunters must either have a Hunter Education Certificate of Accomplishment or hunt under the Mentored Hunting Program. All hunters under 12 years of age must participate in the Mentored Hunting Program, even if they have completed a hunter safety education course. All other turkey hunting regulations apply to the youth hunt.

Spring Wild Turkey Hunt For People With Disabilities Applications

Hunters with disabilities may apply for a harvest authorization outside of the standard spring turkey drawing. Hunters can apply for the Spring Wild Turkey Hunt for People with Disabilities by submitting Forms 2300-271 and 2300-271A.

This hunt is only valid on private lands. Forms must be submitted by Dec. 10 to the DNR wildlife biologist for the county where the hunt will occur. Any applicant who applies for a turkey harvest authorization using Forms 2300-271 and 2300-271A may not apply for a harvest authorization through the general spring turkey drawing.

More information regarding bear hunting and turkey hunting in Wisconsin can be found on the DNR website.

Wisconsinites have two upcoming opportunities to weigh in on deer hunting across the state. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host virtual public meetings in each county to discuss deer management Dec. 7-18 and a separate virtual public hearing Dec. 9 on the current white-tailed deer hunting season.  

Every three years, County Deer Advisory Councils (CDACs) provide recommendations to the DNR that help determine the herd size objective (increase, decrease, maintain) for their county. Councils are made up of a chair and alternate-chair, who are members of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, and seven members of the public who represent various stakeholder groups.

CDACs provide the people of Wisconsin greater input into local deer management decisions and are important for shaping the next three years of deer hunting and management in the state.

The fall of 2020 marks the end of the last three-year cycle and meetings are being held this winter to determine the herd size objectives for the next three years (2021-2023). Councils develop their recommendations using two meetings separated by a public input period to provide transparency and multiple opportunities for public input. 

During the preliminary objective setting meetings Dec. 7-18, Councils will meet via teleconference to review deer herd metrics and harvest data from the last three years and to provide a preliminary recommendation on the herd size objective for the next three years. The DNR will also share preliminary recommendations on deer management unit and zone boundaries. The public is encouraged to register to speak at a meeting or provide written comments using the Public Comment Sign-Up form. The deadline to submit comments is Dec. 3.

Find out when meetings will be held for each county and how to listen in by visiting the CDAC Find page. Additional questions can also be sent via email to: DNRCDACWebMail@wisconsin.gov. The meetings are open to all, and attendees are not required to submit a comment to attend.

Following the preliminary meetings, the DNR will hold an online public comment period on each county’s management recommendations Jan. 4-13, 2021. Each council will then reconvene in late January to discuss the public input received and finalize their recommendations to the DNR. Final Council recommendations will be shared with the Natural Resources Board at their February meeting.

In addition to the CDAC meetings, the DNR will also host a virtual public meeting to gather public input on issues and concerns regarding the current white-tailed deer hunting season. This public input will be shared with the Deer Stakeholder Committee, convened by the DNR, to make recommendations for the deer hunting season. The white-tailed deer hunting season public meeting will take place 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9.

The Deer Stakeholder Committee has been at work since early October 2020 to identify a deer hunting framework and potential programs to accomplish three objectives:

  1. To address concerns and areas of conflict expressed by the snowmobiling, forestry and agriculture communities;

  2. to provide deer hunting opportunities that are easy to understand and that will support hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation; and

  3. to provide the best available tools to achieve population objectives and reduce the prevalence of deer with Chronic Wasting Disease.

The public is encouraged to participate. Anyone wishing to speak during the meeting should register before 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9. Those who register to speak will receive a confirmation email with information on how to join the meeting via Zoom. Those who do not register to speak may watch the meeting on the DNR website.

Anyone looking for the perfect holiday gift for outdoor enthusiasts can purchase the new 2021 Wisconsin State Park admission sticker or trail pass just in time for the holidays.

The 2021 state park stickers and state trail passes go on sale Dec. 1. Get ahead of the fun and give those looking to find an adventure access to some of the most scenic areas in Wisconsin, including thousands of miles of trails, dozens of beaches and a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities.

“We are excited to offer annual admission passes online this year in addition to at properties and on the phone,” said Diane Brusoe, DNR Fish, Wildlife and Parks Deputy Division Administrator. “With winter quickly approaching, visitors can get their passes easier than ever and make the most of a year of outdoor recreation fun."

The 2021 stickers and passes for admission to parks, forests, recreation areas and trails are valid from the date of purchase through Dec. 31, 2021. The vehicle admission stickers provide access to more than 60 state parks, forests and recreation areas across Wisconsin. The stickers are required on all motor vehicles visiting state parks and recreation areas. Some state forest and trail parking areas also require the sticker.

A state trail pass is required for all people age 16 or older biking, in-line skating, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, or off-highway motorcycling on specific state trails. A state trail pass is not required for walking or hiking.

An admission sticker costs $28 for Wisconsin residents or $38 for non-residents. If there is more than one vehicle registered to the same household, additional state park stickers are available for $15.50 for residents and $20.50 for non-residents. A senior citizen annual sticker for $13 is available for Wisconsin residents 65 years of age and older. Annual trail passes are $25 for residents and non-residents.

Resident and non-resident annual admission stickers are available online, at state park facilities statewide and over the phone. State trail passes are available only at individual properties or over the phone.

Starting Dec. 1, phone customers can purchase stickers over the phone by calling the DNR at 1-888-305-0398 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., seven days a week, to place their order. Customers need to order stickers and passes online or over the phone by Friday, Dec. 11, to receive them before the holidays.

More information about the Wisconsin State Park System vehicle admission sticker is available here

With deer season underway, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging hunters to keep COVID-19 safety measures in mind and use the online reporting system to report their deer

“Hunting is a long-established tradition in Wisconsin. However, with the pandemic, it is up to each of us to keep our communities healthy and safe this deer season,” said DNR Secretary Preston D. Cole. “As hunters new and old make their way into the woods this season, it is important they follow all of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services COVID-19 safety precautions including wearing a mask, keeping six feet of distance from others and avoiding crowds.”

Anyone who has ever experienced Wisconsin's famed gun deer season knows it's a tradition bigger than any buck. As Wisconsin continues to see record-setting numbers of positive cases of COVID-19, health and safety is paramount.

On Nov. 10, Gov. Tony Evers issued Executive Order #94 outlining new measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This order advises Wisconsinites to stay home, use extra precautions if they must leave their home and adopt good public health practices. Businesses are also encouraged to take further steps to protect workers, customers and the surrounding community.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) discourages social gatherings of any size, including getting together with friends or extended family during hunting season at deer camp. The less time spent with people from other households, the less likely you are to get sick or spread COVID-19 to others. Try to lodge in your own room, tent or trailer and limit the number of households using shared spaces.

“Wisconsin is in crisis – our case numbers are rising and our hospitals are strained,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “Each of us must do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Limiting your interactions with people outside your household is a key step, so we ask hunters to reduce their travel and to hunt with the people you live with.”

Although activities such as heading to camp or gathering at check stations are often considered an integral part of hunting season, extended physical or close contact increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

While deer camp will look different this year, there are still ways to enjoy the social aspects of deer hunting and mentoring through video chats, text messages and other creative ideas that keep you and others safe. Hunters are reminded to register their deer online or by phone.

For specific information regarding COVID-19 we encourage the public to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the CDC website.

As Wisconsin hunters prepare to head out for the nine-day gun deer season opening on Saturday, Nov. 21, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds hunters that registration is mandatory and easier than ever before.

Hunters should be aware of the zone, deer management unit and land type on their antlerless deer harvest authorizations and be prepared to follow all regulations

Each deer hunting license comes with a buck harvest authorization valid for harvesting one buck in any Deer Management Unit (DMU) statewide. Hunters who wish to hunt antlerless deer must possess an unused, valid antlerless harvest authorization. Hunters under age 18 are issued one antlerless harvest authorization with their deer license, valid statewide on the land type designated.

Although each deer license includes one or more antlerless harvest

authorizations valid in a Farmland Zone DMU, hunters must select the Zone, DMU and land type (public or private) at the time of purchase or before hunting.

Also, bonus antlerless harvest authorizations may be available for sale. Check antlerless harvest authorization availability on the DNR website.

Hunters pursuing antlerless deer in the Farmland Zone (Zone 2) should select the correct zone, DMU and land type in Go Wild before harvesting the deer. Skipped this step when purchasing a deer license? Follow the steps below or view the DNR's tutorial.

  • Go to GoWild.WI.gov and log in to the hunter's Go Wild account. Follow the prompts and verify all personal information is current. Scroll down to the LICENSE heading.

  • Select BUY LICENSES. Under the PRODUCT CATALOG heading, the option to receive Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless harvest authorizations will appear. Select the FARMLAND (ZONE 2) ANTLERLESS DEER HARVEST AUTHORIZATION link.

  • Then, select the county or counties (DMU) where Farmland (Zone 2) harvest authorizations will be used and whether it is public or private land. Hunters must complete check-out to obtain the Farmland (Zone 2) harvest authorizations properly. Remember to print the Farmland (Zone 2) harvest authorizations to have the number available when reporting the harvest.

If hunters cannot access their online account, they may visit a license agent, which will require a $2 processing fee. 

Wisconsin DNR service centers remain temporarily closed at this time. Purchase available Bonus Antlerless Deer Harvest Authorizations by using the online licensing center or visiting a license agent.

Hunters Must Carry Proof Of License And Harvest Authorization

Hunters are not required to validate or attach a paper harvest authorization to the deer, but must carry proof of their license and harvest authorization. Hunters must carry one or more of the following:

  • a paper copy;

  • a department-approved PDF displayed on a mobile device;

  • an authenticated Wisconsin driver's license; or

  • a Go Wild Conservation Card.

Registering Deer Harvest

All deer harvested must be registered by 5 p.m. the day after recovery. Go online to GameReg.Wi.Gov (fastest and easiest option), call 1-844-GAME-REG (1-844-426-3734), or find an in-person electronic registration station that provides one of these methods. A registration guide is available online.

Hunters must have their deer harvest authorization number to begin the registration process. Those who do not have their authorization number may access it from their online Go Wild account.

The "My GameReg" section of the customer homepage provides information on current harvest authorizations. Hunters may view and reprint unused authorizations or click the quick link to report a harvest.

For more information on deer hunting in Wisconsin, visit the DNR website

First Harvest And First Experience Certificates Help Hunters Commemorate Time Outdoors 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages hunters of all ages to celebrate their first hunt with a free first harvest and first hunting experience certificate.

"The first time you harvest an animal can be very exciting, but even the first time sitting in a tree stand or setting a trap can be memorable," said Matthew Gross, DNR assistant big game specialist. "The DNR also offers first hunting experience certificates to commemorate the occasion."

To obtain a certificate, visit the first certificate page on the DNR website and select which species or experience to celebrate. Hunters can submit a photograph of their special moment as well as details about the experience, including when and where the animal was harvested. All information will be displayed on the free, customized certificate to help mark the occasion.

Hunters can expect to receive their certificate electronically within a few weeks of submitting the form.

For more information on these certificates, visit the DNR's website.

Deer Hunters Encouraged To Help Families In Need Through Deer Donation Program

 

 

Since Wisconsin's Deer Donation Program first began in 2000, more than 92,000 deer have been donated, totaling more than 3.7 million pounds of venison distributed to food pantries across the state. / Photo Credit: iStock/monkeybusinessimages

MADISON, Wis. – Each year, hunters, meat processors and food pantries help families in need by working closely with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and its partners to donate thousands of pounds of venison to Wisconsin food pantries.

"Whether it is harvesting an extra deer or donating the only deer they shoot, Wisconsin hunters have historically shown their willingness to help others by donating deer to the Deer Donation Program," said Sarah Wyrick, DNR wildlife damage program assistant. "As deer hunters begin preparations for this hunting season, we encourage them to consider the Deer Donation Program."

Since Wisconsin's Deer Donation Program first began in 2000, more than 92,000 deer have been donated, totaling more than 3.7 million pounds of venison distributed to food pantries across the state.

"There are a couple of ways hunters can help," said Wyrick. "Hunters can donate a deer at one of the participating meat processors, or when they purchase a hunting license, they can make a monetary donation to help cover venison processing costs."

Hunters are advised to plan for their donation by locating a participating processor and having their deer tested for CWD. Hunters should also call the participating processor before dropping off deer to make sure the processor is prepared to accept the deer.

The DNR thanks all deer hunters and meat processors that have participated in the deer donation program throughout the years.

Visit the DNR website to learn about the DNR's deer donation program and how to help, as well as find a list of participating meat processors and CWD sampling requirements.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 7, 2020

DNR Reminds Hunters About Deer Transportation Regulations And Carcass Disposal Options

 

 

Carcass disposal dumpsters are available around the state this hunting season. Find one near you on the DNR website. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

MADISON, Wis. – With the 2020 deer hunting season underway, hunters are reminded by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to follow the deer carcass transport regulations and to dispose of deer carcass waste appropriately. The movement of deer carcasses infected with chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a pathway for the disease to spread, and leaving carcass parts on the landscape is a possible route for disease transmission to other deer.

CWD can spread among deer by direct contact between animals and indirectly through exposure to environments contaminated with CWD prions, the protein that causes the disease. Exposure to an area where a CWD-positive carcass has decomposed could be enough to cause infection in deer. Because of this risk, it is vital that deer carcasses, including all bones and other deer carcass waste from butchering, are disposed of in a licensed landfill that accepts deer waste or in a dumpster designated for deer carcass waste. 

"CWD prions are infectious even after a positive deer dies, so proper handling and disposal of the carcass is very important to slow the spread of the disease," said Amanda Kamps, DNR wildlife health conservation specialist. "Transporting a CWD-positive carcass to areas that are not yet known to have CWD increases the risk of transmission to new areas of the state.”

Proper disposal of deer carcass waste is a factor in containing the spread of CWD. The DNR is committed to providing safe, convenient disposal options to hunters, especially in areas where options are limited or unavailable.

"This year, more deer carcass waste dumpsters are available to hunters across the state," Kamps said. "Some of the dumpsters will become available right before the nine-day gun deer season, so hunters should check the deer carcass disposal map on the DNR website frequently. More locations will be added and available during the nine-day gun deer season thanks to all the individuals and organizations that are participating in our Adopt-a-Dumpster program."

Carcass movement restrictions are in place to limit the spread of the disease. Both whole deer carcasses and certain parts of carcasses from CWD-affected counties can only be moved within CWD-affected counties and an adjacent county unless going directly to a licensed taxidermist or meat processor within 72 hours of registration.

Hunters in non-CWD affected counties can also take this action voluntarily. Visit the DNR website for a list of deer carcass parts that may be transported beyond CWD-affected counties or an adjacent county, as well as more information about carcass transport.

Hunters from out of state should be aware of their state's carcass movement restrictions of deer harvested in Wisconsin before heading home.

Whole carcasses and parts of carcasses other than those listed, from states and provinces where CWD has been detected, are not allowed to be brought into Wisconsin unless taken to a licensed taxidermist or meat processor within 72 hours of entry into Wisconsin.

Hunters are encouraged to dispose of deer carcass waste in a licensed landfill that accepts this waste or in a dumpster designated for deer carcass waste. If a municipality allows deer disposal curbside or at a transfer station, the carcass should be double bagged. A map with the CWD sampling locations and deer carcass disposal locations is on the DNR website as well as in the Hunt Wild app.

Please be aware the end of the growing season is approaching. Growing season conditions are site specific and timing and conditions will differ throughout the state. Be sure to begin including observational evidence and explanation of favorable site conditions in your reports. Some sites that are delineated during the growing season and submitted for confirmation may be eligible for late-season confirmations through the WDNR Winter Confirmation Program . Information on this and limited sites which may be able to have wetland determinations after the end of the growing season is available at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wetlands/documents/OutsideofGrowingSeasonInfoSheet.pdf.

If you have specific questions about growing season or project specific questions, please reach out the Wisconsin DNR Wetland Identification Staff. Information about the Wetland Identification Program including contact information for your local team member is available at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wetlands/identification.html.

Hunters Required to Register Their Deer

The Department of Natural Resources would like to remind all hunters that harvested deer must be registered electronically by 5 p.m. the day after the deer is recovered.

The 2020 fall forecast is packed with information about this year’s deer seasons. With extended archery and crossbow seasons in 26 counties and the nine-day gun season still ahead, hunters have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the hunt. Licenses are on sale now online at gowild.wi.gov and at approved license agents around the state. DNR service centers remain closed.

When registering, hunters are encouraged to use GameReg, a registration system that collects harvest information from the hunter and provides a confirmation number for the hunter’s records. The system is simple, fast and convenient for hunters.

Hunters have three options to register their deer:

  • Online at GameReg.WI.Gov (the fastest and easiest option)

  • By phone at 1-844-426-3734 (1-844-GAME-REG)

  • Electronically at a participating in-person registration station

Before you register, have the deer harvest authorization number handy. Each harvest authorization has a unique number, so use the harvest authorization number from the specific harvest authorization you wish to fill. You can find the harvest authorization number on either the paper copy or PDF file of the harvest authorization.

You may also access your harvest authorization number and register online through the My GameReg section of your Go Wild account at GoWild.WI.Gov. Just locate the harvest authorization you wish to fill and click on the link to begin the registration process.

The registration system will prompt hunters to answer a series of questions such as the deer management unit in which the deer was harvested, the age (adult or fawn), sex (buck or doe) of the deer and weapon type used to harvest the animal.

You will receive a 10-character confirmation number for your records once your deer has been successfully registered.

For more information regarding electronic registration, visit the DNR webpage here.

Seedling sales begin October 5th

Are you planning to plant trees next spring? The DNR-Division of Forestry’s reforestation program will be accepting orders from Wisconsin forest landowners for tree and shrub seedlings starting October 5, 2020. The high-quality seedlings are native species appropriate for planting throughout Wisconsin.

Seedlings grown by the state nurseries are used for reforestation and conservation plantings on private, industrial, state and county forest lands. They can provide future forest products and revenue, wildlife habitat and fodder, soil erosion control, living snow fences and other benefits.

A minimum order consists of a packet of 300 trees or shrubs, of the landowner’s choosing, in increments of 100 of each species, 500 shrubs or 1000 tree seedlings. Seedlings can also be purchased by youth groups and educational organizations for their reforestation and conservation planting projects.

Conifer species available on October 5th include balsam fir, jack, red, and white pine, black and white spruce, and tamarack. Hardwoods available include aspen, basswood, river, white and yellow birch, black cherry, hackberry, bitternut and shagbark hickory, red, silver and sugar maple, bur, red, white and swamp white oak, sycamore and black walnut. Shrubs include chokecherry, prairie crab, red-osier and silky dogwood, American hazelnut, Juneberry, ninebark, American plum and common winterberry. All seedlings are grown at the F.G. Wilson State Nursery in Boscobel, Wisconsin.

Some species are in relatively low supply and will have a high demand so order early for the best chance to procure the species you desire. Please provide a preferred replacement species or age class. 

Forest landowners may create an order using our online form found on the DNR website (https://dnr.wi.gov/ search “tree planting”) or by printing the order form, completing it and mailing it to the Griffith Nursery, 473 Griffith Ave, Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494. Customers may also contact the reforestation staff or the DNR forester who serves the area where their property is located for personal assistance. Printed copies of the order form are also available; call a local forester or nursery for details. Regardless of the method used, all orders are batched on October 5th and entered into the system at random to ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to procure the seedlings they need.

In addition to the online ordering, customers can also find information on the DNR website related to current inventoryseedling stock descriptionsfrequently asked questions, additional tree planting information and a listing of private nurseries.

Contact: Joe Vande Hey, Reforestation Team Leader, 608-574-4904, Joseph.VandeHey@wisconsin.gov

The start of deer season has once again arrived. Hunters throughout Wisconsin have their first opportunity to harvest the big one as the 2020 archery and crossbow deer seasons open on Saturday, Sept. 12. Although the season officially runs through Jan. 3, 2021, the season is extended to Jan. 31, 2021 in metro sub-units.

Reports from across the state indicate good deer numbers with lots of opportunities for hunters, regardless of which season they plan to hunt this year. Learn more about what DNR biologists are seeing in your neck of the woods in this year’s deer hunting forecast.

In 2019, archery and crossbow hunters harvested more than 92,000 deer, including more than 54,000 bucks, which was a slight increase over 2018. This year, Forest County and the forest zone portions of Marinette and Oconto counties will be the only units with buck-only seasons. Throughout the remainder of the state, antlerless hunting opportunities are available using Farmland (Zone 2) and bonus antlerless deer harvest authorizations. Explore an interactive map to find more information on county-specific seasons here.

Haven’t purchased your license yet? Buy online in minutes at GoWild.Wi.Gov. Or purchase at a participating license agent. We recommend you call ahead to verify hours and availability of license services. Please note: DNR service centers remain temporarily closed to the public at this time.

Share this year's hunting adventures and successes with us on social media by tagging us in your pictures and using #WildWisconsin.

Good luck this season, hunters!

Stay Safe Hunting Above The Ground

According to surveys, one-quarter of bowhunters have experienced a fall or near fall from an elevated stand. Less than half of Wisconsin deer hunters use a safety harness every time they climb.

Hunters should always use a full-body harness, also known as a fall-arrest system, to hunt above ground, regardless of whether hunting with a ladder stand, a tower stand or hang-on stand. Hunters should be mindful of the basic rules of treestand safety:

  • Connect your harness to your tether line and keep your tether line short.

  • Always have three points of contact while climbing into and out of the treestand - Two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand at all times.

  • Always use a haul line to raise and lower your unloaded firearm or bow into and out of the stand. You can also use a separate haul line for other things like a heavy backpack.

  • Use a lifeline when climbing up and down. The lifeline keeps you connected from the time you leave the ground to the time you get back down.

  • Be sure to let someone know where you'll be hunting and when you expect to return.

  • Carry a cell phone so you can call for help if you are injured after a fall.

Hunters should use situational awareness in addition to following the basic rules of treestand safety. Make sure to always choose a tree that is substantial enough to support your weight. Check your equipment before use, making sure lines are intact, your harness fits and is absent of snags and tears that could jeopardize the functionality. Also, be sure to inspect your stand to ensure it does not have any missing components or broken features.

Hunters can also participate in the Treestand Manufacturers Association Safety Course, which is a free interactive course that takes 15 minutes to complete.

To learn more about treestand safety rules and steps, visit the DNR webpage here.

And while you’re hunting with a crossbow, don’t forget TAB-K.

  • Treat every crossbow/bow as if it were loaded/drawn.

  • Always point the bow in a safe direction.

  • Be certain of your target and what’s in front of and beyond it.

  • While hunting with a crossbow, keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.

New Combined Regulations Booklet Available For 2020 Hunting Seasons

Before you head out in the woods, be sure to brush up on the season’s regulations. New this year, we’ve combined our fall hunting season regulations – including deer, small game and migratory birds – into one booklet. Check it out online or grab a hard copy at a license agent location.

Don’t Forget To Register Your Harvest

All harvested deer must be registered electronically by 5 p.m. the day after the deer is recovered. GameReg is simple, fast and convenient for hunters. As conservationists, hunters understand the importance of harvest registration and what it means to deer management in Wisconsin. The system will prompt hunters to answer a series of questions, beginning with the unique harvest authorization number and their date of birth.

Hunters have three options to register their deer:

Learn more about electronic registration here.

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