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Contact: DNR Office of Communications

Find Your Adventure: 170th Nine-Day Gun Deer Season Begins Saturday

Wisconsin DNR news release It’s time to gear up and head out for Wisconsin’s famed nine-day deer season officially starting Saturday, Nov. 20 and running through Nov. 28. Photo credit: Linda Freshwaters Arndt

MADISON, Wis. – It’s time to gear up and head out for Wisconsin’s famed nine-day deer season officially starting Saturday, Nov. 20 and running through Nov. 28.

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.

As of 10 a.m. Nov. 19, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports and patron licenses reached 686,320. Of that total, 327,544 are for gun privileges only.

Use the DNR's free Hunt Wild Wisconsin mobile app for everything Wisconsin hunters need in the field from property boundaries and electronic regulations, including shooting hours, to chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling and deer carcass disposal locations.

Don’t forget to tag the DNR or use the hashtag #WildWisconsin on social media.

2021 Deer Hunting Forecast

With a mild 2020-21 winter and below-average harvests in 2019 and 2020, Wisconsin deer hunters can look forward to increased harvest opportunities around the state. Although more deer will be taken on private land, the state’s 7 million acres of public land offer hunters a wide range of diverse habitats with great hunting possibilities.

Check out the 2021 deer hunting forecast here.

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:

  • - Treat every firearm as if it is loaded
  • - Always point the muzzle in a safe direction
  • - Be certain of your target, what’s before it, and what’s beyond it
  • - 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. To learn more about safe hunting in Wisconsin and to register to take a hunter education course, visit the DNR website here.

Deer Harvest Registration - GameReg

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.

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.

Visit the DNR’s Gamereg Electronic Game Registration webpage for more information.

Additional Hunter Resources

The DNR offers hunters a variety of resources for a successful season:

  • 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. Check availability and buy yours today.
  • Brush up on this year’s hunting regulations and only take aim during legal shooting hours.
  • Find a place to hunt by exploring Wisconsin via the Hunt Wild App or find public lands via the DNR’s Public Access Lands Maps.
  • Hunters can help protect the health of Wisconsin’s deer herd by submitting a sample of their harvest for CWD testing. Free CWD testing and various options to make the sample drop-off process fast and convenient are available and accessible to every hunter in the state. Visit the DNR’s Sampling For Chronic Wasting Disease webpage for sample submission options and to find a CWD testing location.

  • Consider giving back to local Wisconsin communities through the DNR’s Deer Donation Program. The venison from donated deer is processed and distributed to food pantries across the state. Since the program began in 2000, hunters have donated over 90,000 deer which were processed into over 3.7 million pounds of ground venison.

SARS-COV-2 And White-Tailed Deer

The DNR is aware of recent findings that people can spread SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in people, to white-tailed deer.

There is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in people, can be transmitted to people through handling or eating wild game. Person-to-person transmission is still the greatest risk for spreading COVID-19. There are no documented cases of humans becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 from white-tailed deer, and risk is likely low.

For more guidance on staying safe while hunting during the pandemic, please visit the Department of Health Services COVID-19 webpage.