A big 8-point white tail buck deer in the forest of Wausau, Wisconsin in mid December. Each deer hunting license comes with a buck harvest authorization valid for harvesting one buck in any Deer Management Unit (DMU) statewide.

Anticipation is building across Wisconsin as hunters of all experience levels are preparing to head out afield to take part in the state’s 170th nine-day gun deer season Nov. 20-28.

“The nine-day gun deer season is always an exciting time of the year,” said Eric Lobner, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Management Bureau Director. “Hunting is part of the cultural fabric of Wisconsin, and we look forward to another memorable gun deer season that also provides an economic boost to many parts of the state.”

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. In Wisconsin, you can pursue whatever experience suits you thanks to the over seven million acres of land open for public hunting across a diverse range of habitats.

“Not only is the season a great time to get together with family and friends to enjoy time outdoors, it is also a time when many people put a low-fat protein source in their freezer that feeds their family throughout the year,” Lobner said. “We wish every hunter a safe and successful season.”

2021 deer hunting forecast information

As hunters begin the final countdown to the nine-day gun deer season opener, the DNR offers a few deer hunting forecast details to help prepare:

  • It’s been a relatively dry year and crop harvest is on or ahead of schedule. Access in low lying areas should not be hampered by flooding. However, unfrozen conditions in much of the state may limit access in the some of the wetter areas.
  • Deer numbers are trending upward in much of the state. Deer numbers are high throughout the farmland zones, with a lot of antlerless harvest opportunities in many Farmland Deer Management Units. Additional antlerless deer harvest supports a healthier herd.
  • The state experienced a very mild winter, which usually leads to better fawn numbers and antler growth.
  • There are no buck-only units this year. Antlerless harvest quotas in the Northern Forest were increased by 40% overall. However, some northern counties with limited antlerless permits have sold out.

Hunters will have a different experience based on where in the state they hunt, whether they are hunting public or private land, forest or farmland, hunting pressure and many other factors.

Bonus authorizations still available

Bonus antlerless harvest authorizations remain available in many counties. Bonus antlerless harvest authorizations may be filled with any weapon type but must be filled in the zone, county and land type (public or private) designated on each harvest authorization.

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 each for youth hunters under age 12.

In 2021, additional Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless harvest authorizations may be included with each deer hunting license, depending on the county of choice. Hunters who have not yet purchased a license for hunting deer will be prompted to select the county and land type for the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless harvest authorizations at the point of sale.

Licenses may be purchased through Go Wild, the DNR’s online license and registration portal, or at any of the more than 1,000 license sales agent locations. As a reminder, most DNR service centers remain temporarily closed to the public. To find service centers currently open for in-person service visit the DNR’s Service Center Locations webpage.

Hunters who purchased their deer hunting licenses earlier in the year may now select their Farmland (Zone 2) harvest authorizations. When ready, hunters may make a harvest authorization selection online from their Go Wild account to print themselves or visit a licensed agent, which will require a $2 processing fee.

GameReg registration

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. A unique harvest authorization number is required.

Registering a harvest is a critical component to assisting the DNR with deer management in Wisconsin.

Hunters have four options to register their deer: Online at (fastest and easiest option); by phone at 1-844-426-3734; log into your Go Wild account and select “Current Tags/Authorizations” under My Game Reg. Then select “Report Harvest” after the appropriate tag; or electronically at a participating in-person registration station

Registering a harvest is a critical component to assisting the DNR with deer management in Wisconsin.

“Proper registration provides accurate harvest data for DNR wildlife managers and County Deer Advisory Councils for the management of deer in Wisconsin,” DNR Deer BiologistJeff Pritzl said.

Recommended for you