Previewing Wisconsin’s gun deer hunting season

Wisconsin gun deer season opens
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 5:24 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - People from all fifty states, and even other countries, are coming here to take part in a Wisconsin tradition.

The annual gun deer season opens on Saturday, Nov. 18, with hundreds of thousands of hunters donning blaze orange in the hopes of taking home a trophy, or at the very least putting some venison in the freezer.

As anticipation builds, more than half a million people are excited and getting ready to head to their deer stands to take part in the nine-day deer hunt.

The DNR says hunters were exceptionally lucky with our hunting conditions during this time last year. This year, hunters may face some challenges.

“In the absence of snow this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if our harvest numbers come in a little bit behind last year.” Said DNR State Deer Program Specialist Jeff Pritzl.

Pritzl says northwest counties experienced an intense winter, which is creating a slimmer archery harvest there this season, dropping by roughly 25% compared to last year.

He says, regardless of the conditions, more than 500,000 hunters will take to the woods.

“I think a big part of the hunt is the tradition and the routine as part of that tradition.” Said Pritzl. “So a lot of folks are like ‘we always stop here for gas on Friday. We’re always stopping here at this restaurant Friday evening on the way up to camp or we’re purchasing the same meal we had last year.’”

Pritzl says deer hunting also invites the age-old tradition of giving back. Participants can donate to food insecurity programs, or simply just give venison to friends and family members.

As Pritzl points out, there’s more than one kind of trophy you can bring home.

“People think about trophies as big bucks with big antlers but trophies come in all shapes and sizes. And some come in the form of a memory you’ll never forget.”

Before the season, the DNR wants to remind hunters: Once you harvest a deer, you are required to register it. That can be done online or in-person.

You can find all the information on the DNR’s website.