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Prospects improved for Wisconsin gun deer hunters

Hunters with the Pyykola-Goetsch-Sauvola families move into the forest on the opening day of Wisconsin's gun deer season in 2009. (Sam Cook /

Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season opens Saturday, and hunters are expecting better odds than in recent years.

“After a mild winter and (three years of) bucks-only seasons, the harvest should go up,” said Greg Kessler, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife manager at Brule. “And the season opens one day earlier (than last year), which puts us one day closer to the heart of the rut.”

Antlerless permits were issued for Douglas and Bayfield counties this season, but Ashland and Iron counties remain bucks-only.

Last fall, gun deer hunters took 228,726 deer statewide. Archery hunters took 48,272, and crossbow hunters took 39,776.

Here are some changes and reminders for the coming season:

  • Hunters will need their carcass tag number to register their deer. Carcass tags can be printed off when hunters buy a license online, or hunters may take a digital image of the tag and its number. See regulations for more details.
  • North of State Highway 64, ground blinds and tree stands now may be left out overnight on DNR-managed lands. See regulations for further details.
  • Baiting and feeding restrictions have been lifted in Barron, Polk, Washburn and Burnett counties.
  • A reminder: All archers and gun hunters must register their deer by 5 p.m. the day after it was shot.
  • A statewide antlerless-only hunt open to both archers and gun hunters will be held Dec. 7-10 in counties where it’s legal to take antlerless deer. Only disabled hunters with a Class A or C permit and active armed forces members on furlough or leave may take bucks during antlerless-only seasons.