New season, new rules: Deer hunters pick up their licenses, get set for nine-day hunt

RICHFIELD -- The return of a Wisconsin tradition is upon us as the gun deer season takes aim on Saturday, November 21st. The folks at the Cabela's in Richfield say they've had the typical hordes of hunters hustling through the license line on Friday, as folks rush into new rules and regulations.

Gun deer license

Just hours away from Saturday's start of the dairy state's 164th annual nine-day gun deer hunt, the crews come to Cabela's before heading to their respective hunting grounds.

"The warm weather was pretty slow and nothing moving, but hopefully with this warm weather it kind of ticks in gear and hopefully the rut shows well," said Jim Costello, hunter.


"What we like to see is hunters have a fun, positive, enjoyable hunt," said Wildlife Supervisor, Tim Lizotte, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Tim Lizotte says this weekend's weather conditions are critical.

We harvest about 60% of our overall gun deer kill on opening weekend, so snow cover and frozen ground are really good. Rain, fog, or even Packer games can have a negative impact on the harvest," said Lizotte.

Gun deer hunt

Snow cover, Lizotte explains, makes both spotting and tracking deer easier.

With plenty of precipitation expected in parts of Wisconsin, this could mean higher tag tallies which in turn will have hunters aiming to try a new, mandatory electronic registration system.

Gun deer hunt

"All hunters must register their deer by 5:00 p.m., the day after they harvest it. And they have three options to do that: they can do it via the internet, on a smart phone, computer or tablet. They can do it via the phone and they can also go to one of our 263 walk-in stations," Lizotte said.

Also new this year, all antlerless tags are not only county-specific, hunters also have to declare whether they are hunting on public or private land. And there are twelve counties in Wisconsin which antlerless deer are off limits.