The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding hunters of their first opportunity to pursue deer this fall with the opening of the 2021 archery and crossbow deer seasons.
These seasons run concurrently statewide from Sept. 18 to Jan. 9, 2022. The archery and crossbow seasons extend to Jan. 31, 2022, in 27 Farmland Zone Deer Management Units and all metro sub-units.
“We saw another mild winter last year, so Wisconsin deer hunters can look forward to increased harvest opportunities this season,” said Jeff Pritzl, DNR Deer Program Specialist. “Whether you’re hunting public or private land, I encourage hunters to get out and become familiar with seasonal food sources as this will influence deer movement in their local area.”
In 2020, archery and crossbow hunters harvested more than 110,000 deer, including more than 64,000 bucks, an increase from 2019.
Those interested in hunting with both a vertical bow and crossbow may do so by paying full price for one license and purchasing a $3 upgrade for the second license. Only one bow buck harvest authorization will be issued to hunters who purchase both licenses.
Hunter Safety And TAB-K
The DNR urges hunters to review these four rules of safety (TAB-K) before enjoying the archery and crossbow season.
Treat every bow/crossbow as if it were loaded.
Always point the bow/crossbow in a safe direction.
Be certain of your target; what is before and beyond it.
Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.
Archery-Specific Safety Tips
When heading out to hunt during the archery or crossbow seasons, remember these additional safety tips:
Crossbows have a safety. Immediately after cocking, always check to make sure that your bow is on safe.
Always use bolts/arrows recommended by the manufacturer and handle carefully.
Protect yourself and the arrow points with a covered arrow quiver.
The safest way to carry, transport and raise or lower a crossbow from a stand is always to have the crossbow un-cocked.
The safest way to un-cock a crossbow is to fire a bolt into the ground or target.
Make sure that the limb tips are free of obstructions and your fingers, hand or arm are not in the string path at any time while the crossbow is cocked.
Know your range for accuracy.
Tree stand safety is also a key consideration through all the deer hunting seasons. Tree stand incidents are a leading cause of injury to hunters. Always wear a safety harness, use three points of contact when going into or out of the stand and use a haul line to bring the unloaded bow or crossbow into the stand. Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. For more information regarding tree stand safety, visit the DNR webpage here.
Bonus Authorizations Still Available
Bonus antlerless harvest authorizations remain available in many counties. Bonus antlerless harvest authorizations may be filled using any weapon type during the appropriate season with the appropriate license but must be filled in the designated zone, unit and land type (public or private). Bonus antlerless harvest authorizations are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the cost of $12 each for residents, $20 each for non-residents and $5 for youth hunters under age 12.
In 2021, a Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless harvest authorization is included with each deer hunting license purchase in units that offer them. Some units will offer more than one antlerless deer harvest authorization with each deer license.
Hunters who have not yet purchased a deer hunting license will be prompted to select the county and land type for the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless harvest authorizations at the time of purchase. Purchase a license online at GoWild.WI.Gov or at license sales locations.
Hunters who purchased their deer hunting licenses before June 1 may now select their Farmland (Zone 2) harvest authorizations. Hunters who have yet to determine a hunting location may defer the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless harvest authorization selection. When ready, hunters may make a harvest authorization selection online from their Go Wild account to print themselves or visit an authorized license sales location to print, requiring a $2 processing fee.
As a reminder, 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:
Online at GameReg.WI.Gov (fastest and easiest option);
By phone at 1-844-426-3734 (1-844-GAME-REG); or
Electronically at a participating in-person registration station (keyword “registration stations”).
More information regarding electronic registration is available by visiting the DNR webpage here.