Skip to main content

Wisconsin

Hunting

Deer Hunting Regulations

LICENSING REQUIREMENTS

What you need to hunt deer:•

  • Gun deer license, to harvest deer with a firearm; or
  • Archer License, to harvest deer with a bow and arrow; or
  • Crossbow License, to harvest deer with a crossbow; and
  • A valid, unfilled harvest authorization.

Note: The purchase of upgrade is required with either an archer or crossbow license in order to use both weapon types

HARVEST AUTHORIZATIONS

Harvest authorizations are issued with each deer hunting license. The number and types of harvest authorizations issued with a deer hunting license may vary based on where in the state you are hunting. Some harvest authorizations are valid only during certain open seasons or when hunting in certain locations. Each harvest authorization allows the harvest of a single deer of the type specified. The following information outlines the types of harvest authorizations, weapon you may use to fill them, along with where and when they are valid.

BUCK HARVEST AUTHORIZATIONS

Gun Buck Deer Harvest Authorization•

  • Issued with a gun deer license and valid in any DMU statewide.
  • Authorizes the harvest of one buck deer with any legal weapon type.
  • Valid during any firearm deer seasonexcept in any DMU where an antlerless-onlyhunt is taking place. (Visit dnr.wi.gov, andsearch “armed forces hunting” for militaryexceptions and page 14 for disabled hunterexceptions).

Bow Buck Deer Harvest Authorization

  • Issued with a bow or crossbow license and valid in any DMU statewide.
  • Authorizes the harvest of one buck deer bybow or crossbow depending on the license purchased.
  • Valid during an open archery or crossbowseason, except in any DMU where anantlerless-only hunt is taking place.

ANTLERLESS HARVEST AUTHORIZATIONS

Junior Antlerless Deer Harvest Authorization

  • Issued to hunters ages 17 and younger with each gun, bow or crossbow license.
  • Valid for taking one antlerless deer in anyDMU statewide on the land type specified on the authorization.
  • May be used during any open deer seasonwith the weapon authorized by that license.• May be filled ONLY by the authorization holder.

Farmland (Zone 2) Antlerless Deer Harvest Authorization

  • One or more may be included with the purchase of an archer/crossbow and/or gun deer license depending on your selectedDMU.
  • Authorizes the harvest of one antlerless deer per authorization.
  • Specific to the DMU and land type (public-access or private land) specified by thehunter at the time of purchase. (Visit dnr.wi.gov, and search “armed forces hunting”for military exceptions and page 14 for disabled hunter exceptions).
  • May be filled with any weapon during anyseason with the correct license for themethod of harvest and season.

Bonus Antlerless Deer Harvest Authorizations

  • Sold on a first-come, first-served basis with a purchase limit of one per person per day.
  • Authorizes the harvest of one antlerless deer per authorization.
  • Valid only in the zone, DMU and land type(public-access or private) specified on the authorization.
  • May be filled with any weapon during anyseason with the correct license for themethod of harvest and season.

Metro Sub-unit Antlerless Deer HarvestAuthorizations

  • Available in select metro sub-units. Issued upon request, at no cost, with the purchase of an archer/crossbow or gun deer license.
  • Bonus authorizations may also be available for purchase in select metro sub-units and land types.
  • Only valid within the metro sub-unit boundaries, within the DMU selected, and on the land type (public-access or private)specified on the harvest authorization.
  • See metro sub-unit locations. Fordetailed maps, visitdnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/dmu.html
Bucks Plus Antlerless By Harvest Authorization

DEER CARCASS TRANSPORTATION REGULATIONS

Visit dnr.wi.gov, and search “carcass movement” for the most current carcass transportation restrictions. It is illegal to transport whole wild deer carcasses and parts of such carcasses that were harvested in CWD-affected counties outside of those counties, except those deer carcasses and parts may be transported to a county that is adjacent to the CWD-affected counties, or to licensed taxidermist or licensed meat processor if the delivery occurs within 72 hours of the deer being registered. The following may also be transported without restriction:

  • Meat that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately).
  • Quarters (including leg bones) or other portions of meat to which no part of the spinal column is attached.
  • Meat that has been deboned.
  • Hides with no heads attached, finished taxidermy heads, antlers.
  • Clean skulls or skull plates with no lymphoid or brain tissue attached.
  • Upper canine teeth (also known asbuglers, whistlers or ivories).

A processor or taxidermist who receives a deer carcass must be informed that the deer was harvested within the CWD-affected area.

Many states and provinces restrict the importation of cervid carcasses and hunters should check the regulations of their home state or province, the state or province in which they will be hunting, and the states or provinces through which they will be traveling. For more information, please visit the CWD Alliance website at: www.cwd-info.org.

Quartering Your Deer

Hunters may divide a deer into as many as five pieces to facilitate removal of the carcass from the field, but the head must remain attached to one of the five parts of the carcass. The hide and lower legs, if removed, do not count as one of the five parts. Only one deer that has been quartered may be stored or transported at a time prior to registration, but quartered deer can be transported with other intact deer. The lower legs up to the tarsus joint (ankle or hock) on the hind legs and up to the carpus joint (wrist or knee) on the front legs may also be removed. All parts of the deer, except the entrails, must be removed from the field.Deer must be kept intact while afield, except for field dressing, skinning and quartering.

BAITING AND FEEDING DEER

Scents

Scents which are used only to attract deer by odor may be used for hunting deer statewide, but the scent may not be placed or deposited in a manner that makes it accessible for consumption by deer. Scents shall be removed daily at the end of shooting hours, except two ounces or less of scent do not need to be removed daily and may be placed, used or deposited in any manner for hunting deer.

Natural Vegetation and Plantings

Hunting with the aid of material deposited by natural vegetation, material found solely as a result of normal agricultural or gardening practices, or with the aid of crops planted and left standing as wildlife food plots is legal. It is illegal to establish or maintain food plots/plantings on DNR-owned or -managed lands.

Baiting

It is illegal to place, use or hunt deer over bait or feed material in certain counties. Visit dnr.wi.gov and search “baiting and feeding” for a map of prohibited locations. For the remainder of the state, baiting for hunting purposes is allowed only under the following conditions:

Baiting Amount

On each contiguous parcel of land under the same ownership, up to 2 gallons of bait may be placed in total if the parcel is less than 40 acres. If the parcel is 40 acres or more, 2 gallons may be placed per every 40 acres. Bait may be spread out or divided into more than one pile as long as the total amount of bait or feed material is not more than two gallons per 40 acres.

Bait PlacementIt is illegal to:

  • Place a baiting site within 100 yards of another baiting site.
  • Hunt within 100 yards of more than two gallons of bait on the same parcel of land.
  • Place a baiting site within 50 yards of any trail, road or campsite used by the public,or within 100 yards of a roadway having aposted speed limit of 45 mph or more.
  • Place feed at a deer feeding site that is known to be used by bear or elk.

TimingIt is illegal to:

  • Place, use or hunt over bait or feed forhunting purposes during the closeddeer season, except bait may be placedstarting the day prior to the archerydeer season opener. In 2021, bait may beplaced for deer hunting starting at 12 a.m.on Sept. 17. Baiting must stop at the closeof all deer seasons.
  • Hunt over bait or a feeding site that is inviolation of these regulations unless thearea is completely free of bait or feedmaterial for at least 10 consecutive daysprior to hunting, pursuing animals or dogtraining.

Note: Removal of unlawfully placed bait or feed material does not preclude the issuance of a citation for the original placement of unlawful baiting or feeding material.

REGISTER THAT DEER — IT’S REQUIRED

Register your deer through GameReg by 5 p.m. the day after recovery. All registration is electronic.

  • Register online (fastest and easiest method):gamereg.wi.gov.
  • Register by phone: 1-844-426-3734 (1-844-GAMEREG) (available 24 hours).When prompted, use the numbers on your phone keypad to spell the firstthree letters of the county. For example, for Adams County, enter A-D-A by pressing “232.”
  • Register in person: Find a station that offers a phone or computer for registration at dnr.wi.gov, search “registration stations”.

Have your deer harvest authorization number available to enter at the start of the registration process.

You will receive a 10-character confirmation number for your records once your deer has been successfully registered. For white-tailed deer, all confirmation numbers begin with “W” and are issued in the format W12-345-6789.

Learn more about GameReg at dnr.wi.gov, and search “GameReg.”

Content

It is illegal to:

Place, use or hunt over any bait or feed material that:

  • Contains any animal part or animalbyproduct. Animal parts and byproducts include honey, bones, fish, meat, solid animal fat, animal carcasses and parts of animal carcasses, but do not include liquid scents.
  • Is contained in or deposited by a feeder that is designed to deposit or replenish feed automatically, mechanically or by gravity.
  • Contains or is contained within metal,paper, plastic, glass, wood or othersimilar processed materials. This doesnot apply to scent materials.

ROUP HUNTING LAW

It is illegal to kill game for another person except during a firearm deer season when a member of a group deer hunting party may kill a deer for another member of the party. However, junior antlerless deer harvest authorizations issued to those age 17 and under may only be filled by the person to whom the authorizations are issued. Group hunting is not legal for persons hunting with bows and crossbows. All participants must be licensed and each must possess a firearm. Members of a group deer hunting party should also agree in advance that a harvest authorization holder is willing to use their authorization number to register a deer killed by another member of the party.

  • A group deer hunting party must betwo or more hunters who are huntingtogether within sight or voice contactat all times. Temporary loss of voice orvisual contact for a reasonable timedue to terrain or weather conditions isacceptable. Hunters may not kill deer for persons who are not out actively hunting with the party.
  • Hunters in a group hunting party may not use cellular phones, special free radio communications, or other mechanical or electronic amplifying devices (except hearing aids) to establish contact with the person for whom the deer is killed.
  • Convicted felons cannot participate in group deer hunting or allow use of their harvest authorization by anyone else, because felons cannot possess a firearm.People participating only as deer drivers are not required to possess firearms or hunting licenses.
  • Adults may not hunt deer with firearms during the youth gun deer hunt.
  • While group hunting, a mentor may notfill any of their mentee’s deer harvestauthorizations.

POSSESSION AND SALE OF DEER

It is illegal to:

  • Possess any deer from which the antlers have been removed, broken, shed or altered so as to make determination of the legality of the deer impossible. Any such deer is considered an illegal deer if taken during a season for hunting only antlerless deer.
  • Possess a deer carcass unless the hunter possesses the appropriate proof of a deer harvest authorization.
  • Sell, purchase, barter, or offer to sell, purchase or barter any deer or deer part, except the head, skin (not in spotted coat) and antlers (not in velvet) of any deer may be sold or bartered when these parts are separated from the rest of the carcass.
  • Possess albino deer which are entirely white except for the hooves, tarsal glands, head and parts of the head unlessspecial written authorization is obtained from the department.

Note: Deer with antlers in velvet or in spotted coat may be harvested during the open deer season. The velvet antlers and spotted hide may not be sold or transferred to another person. Albino and all-white deer may not be harvested.

SPECIAL HUNTS

Youth Gun Deer Hunt

  • Open only to persons 15 years of age and younger who possess a gun deer license.
  • This hunt occurs statewide in all areas open for hunting.
  • Youth hunters must beaccompanied by an adult parent orguardian even if the youth is 14 or 15years old and holds a hunter educationcertificate. One adult may not accompany more than two youth hunters at the same time.
  • All other hunting regulations apply,including highly visible clothingrequirements for all hunters exceptwaterfowl hunters.• Hunting mentorship rules apply to allyouth age 11 and under and to any youth who has not completed hunter education.See page 7 for more information on thehunting mentorship program.

Gun Deer Hunt for Hunters with DisabilitiesSpecial gun deer hunting opportunities on sponsored properties are available to hunters with disabilities who hold a Class A, C or D disabled permit or holders of a Class B permit that is issued for longer than one year and which authorizes hunting or shooting from a stationary vehicle. A gun deer license and a sponsor are required.

Don't Shoot an Elk

Gun Deer Hunt for Hunters with Disabilities

  • Special rules apply to Class A and C permit disability permitholders. Please visit dnr.wi.gov, and search “disabled deer hunt.”
  • Disabled hunters who wish to participate must contact a huntsponsor before Sept. 1. Contact information is available at dnr.wi.gov, and search “disabled deer hunt.”
  • The valid authorizations for the gun hunt for hunters withdisabilities are as follows:
    • Gun buck deer harvest authorization.
    • Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless deer harvest authorizations.
    • Note: Anyone participating in this hunt may use one Farmland(Zone 2) antlerless deer harvest authorization to take anantlerless deer in any unit statewide. Additionally, if the disabled hunter has also purchased an archer/crossbow license, he/she may take one additional antlerless deer during this hunt.
  • Bonus antlerless deer harvest authorization.
    • During this special hunt on sponsored properties, the huntermay use the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless deer harvestauthorization on either land type regardless of the land typedesignated on the authorization. If the hunter does not fill the authorization during this hunt, he or she must use the authorization to harvest an antlerless deer during the other deer seasons only on the land type specified

REPLACEMENT AUTHORIZATIONS FOR CWD-POSITIVE DEER

Any hunter who harvests a deer that tests positive for CWD during a regular season will be issued a replacement deer harvest au-thorization through the hunter’s Go Wild account. The harvest authorization will be valid for the remainder of the current hunting season as well as the following hunting season.

CWD INFO

WHAT HUNTERS SHOULD KNOW

REDUCE THE SPREAD

Chronic Wasting Disease is always a fatal disease that affects the nervous system of deer, elk and moose. The disease is caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. CWD prions are extremely resistant in the environment and transmission of this disease can occur indirectly through contaminated environments. To learn how you can help to reduce the risk of CWD transmission, visit dnr.wi.gov and search “CWD.”

VENISON: WHAT HUNTERS SHOULD KNOW

Prions concentrate in certain tissues, such as the brain, spinal cord, lymph nodes and spleen, and are present in lower concentrations in other tissues such as muscle. Prions can also survive cooking temperatures. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that to date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people. However, in the interest of safety, the CDC advises that hunters not consume meat from deer, elk or moose which test positive for CWD.

In keeping with this recommendation, the Wisconsin Department of Public Health recommends that venison from deer harvested in CWD-affected areas not be consumed or distributed to others until test results indicate CWD was not detected in the deer.

If you have your deer or elk commercially processed, consider asking that your animal be processed individually to avoid mixing meat from multiple animals. Venison from multiple deer should be kept separate and labeled before freezing. For more information on human prion disease, call the Wisconsin Department of Health Services at 608-267-9003.

For recommendations on the safe handling of deer, visit dnr.wi.gov, and search “carcass movement.”

USE GOWILD TO SUBMIT YOUR CWD SAMPLING DATA ONLINE

Save time by using the online CWD form. A link to the form can be found in your registration confirmation email or in your Go Wild harvest history.

LOOKING FOR CARCASS DISPOSAL OR CWD SAMPLING LOCATIONS?

To find a map of carcass disposal and CWD sampling locations visit dnr.wi.gov and search “CWD sampling.”

The Wisconsin DNR’s Hunt Wild App includes maps with carcass disposal and CWD sampling locations, along with public lands maps, online regulation, access to GameReg and shooting hours tailored to your location. Download it today by visiting dnr.wi.gov, and search “Hunt App.”

CHECK YOUR DEER’S CWD TEST RESULTS

Check the CWD test result of your harvested deer online! Log into your GoWild account and navigate to your harvest history or go todnr.wi.gov, and search “CWD results.” USE GOWILD TO SUBMIT YOUR CWD SAMPLING DATA ONLINESave time by using the online CWD form. A link to the form can be found in your registration confirmation email or in your Go Wild harvest history.