Gun deer season begins Saturday

MADISON, Wis. – It’s time for hunters across Wisconsin to gear up and head out for the state’s famed gun deer season, officially starting Saturday, Nov. 18 and running through Nov. 26, 2023.

Wisconsin is a nationally-recognized state for hunting white-tailed deer with an abundant herd and a proven reputation for producing some of the largest bucks in the world. Nothing beats this unique hunting experience for all levels to find their adventure afield.

“Hunters’ goals are as diverse as the Wisconsin landscape. Some enjoy the challenge of pursuing a specific deer, while others find fulfillment in providing wild-sourced meat for themselves, family and friends,” said DNR Deer Program Specialist Jeff Pritzl. “Whatever motivates our hunters this year, we wish them the best of luck.”

As of 10 a.m. Nov. 17, 2023 year-to-date sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports and patron licenses reached 659,302. Of that total, 309,520 are for gun privileges only.

Many counties still have bonus antlerless harvest authorizations available on a first come, first-served basis.

Deer Harvest Forecast And Registration Info

In 2022, snow cover across much of the state enhanced the harvest. With warmer than usual temps in the forecast, it’s unlikely we will match last year’s harvest. However, deer movement associated with the end of the breeding season should help increase deer sightings.

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. The system will prompt hunters to answer a series of questions. The unique harvest authorization number associated with each permit is required.

Hunters have three options to register their deer:

Proper registration provides accurate harvest data for DNR wildlife managers and County Deer Advisory Councils for the management of deer in Wisconsin.

Hunter Safety

It’s important for all hunters to do their part to keep Wisconsin a safe place to hunt by following these firearm safety rules:

T – Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.

A – Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.

B – Be certain of your target, what’s before it and what’s beyond it.

K – Keep your finger outside your trigger guard until you are safe to shoot.

Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1973, must have a hunter education certification to purchase a hunting license, unless hunting under the Mentored Hunting Law. Learn more about safe hunting in Wisconsin and register to take a hunter education course on the DNR website.

Hunter Resources

The DNR’s Online Deer Camp is a one-stop shop for everything a hunter needs to know before heading afield this season. Here hunters can find information regarding purchasing a license, regulations and hours, season dates, where to hunt and hunter safety.

Hunters can tell the DNR what they see while afield and contribute to a long-term dataset of observations with the Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey. This citizen science opportunity gathers valuable data on hunter effort, relative abundance and distribution of deer and other wildlife data.

Don’t forget to tag the DNR or use the hashtag #WildWisconsin on social media to share how the season is going for you.

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