Whitetail deer in central Wisconsin (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

Whitetail deer in Wisconsin (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

The archery season will be a unique deer hunting season with a set of new regulations in place, and buck-only hunts in most northern counties. Deer hunters may face some adjustments when they head out into the woods this weekend.

State Department of Natural Resources Warden Supervisor Dave Walz says a variety of changes are taking effect, thanks to the deer trustee rule package. For one, deer management units now tend to follow county lines, instead of highway or river boundaries like they often did before. “This’ll come into play more with the antlerless tags. They’ll need to know what management zone or county they’re in now.”

Most Northwoods hunters will not need to worry much about which unit they are in, as long as they stay in the Northern Forest Zone. Buck tags are good anywhere in the state, and nearly all the northern counties are buck only.

Walz says this is to let the deer population recover. “The last two harsh winters didn’t help our deer recruitment or fawn production. So we have 19 buck only units, where nobody — with a couple exceptions — will be able to harvest antlerless deer, so there are no antlerless permits there.”

Exceptions include youth, disabled, and military hunters, as well as Chippewa tribal members hunting in the ceded territory.

The archery season runs until January 4th. Hunters are still required to register deer in person, with a shift to electronic registration coming next year.


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