Early Archery Deer Hunting Seasons Opens Sept. 17

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The first of the fall deer hunting seasons is just around the corner with the statewide archery deer season opening on Sept. 17, followed by a special Deer Hunt for People with Disabilities that runs Oct. 1 through 9.

Archery deer hunting runs from Sept. 17 through Nov. 17 and again from Nov. 28 through Jan. 3, 2006. The 10-day break is for the traditional November gun deer hunting season. Archers are restricted to antlerless deer only in designated Zone T units during the Oct. 27 to 30 and Dec 8 to 11 Zone T hunts. Archers must also wear blaze orange during these time periods as do all hunters other than waterfowl hunters.

The Oct. 1-9 Deer Hunt for People with Disabilities was created to give disabled hunters opportunity to bag a deer during milder weather conditions when temperatures are less severe and ground conditions permit easier wheelchair access to hunting sites. The Deer Hunt for People with Disabilities takes place primarily on private lands.

The 2005 Venison Donation Program is up and running and is picking up steam. Participating meat processors can be found on the Department of Natural Resources Web site. Hunters are encouraged to harvest additional deer in overpopulated units and donate any venison they can’t use to this well received program. Hunters set a new donation record in 2004, bringing in 10,398 deer. Pantries had enough venison to last throughout the winter and into spring. Many pantries reported high demand for the venison.

“Now that we’re at the doorstep of another season, I want to wish every success to Wisconsin deer hunters,” said Keith Warnke, DNR deer and bear ecologist. “There is abundant hunting opportunity statewide this year with a herd we estimate at 1.7 million animals – there are plenty of bonus antlerless deer tags for hunters who want to do their part to manage the Wisconsin whitetail population closer to population goals. In doing so, they will be doing all Wisconsin citizens a service by reducing crop, ornamental, forest and vehicle damage attributable to deer. As an additional benefit, those extra deer can be delivered to the Venison Donation Program, putting high-quality food on family tables.”

Bear Season

The 2005 Black Bear hunting season runs Sept. 7 through Oct. 11. State wildlife officials estimate the black bear population in Wisconsin going into the fall hunting season is approximately 11,000 animals. Hunters using bear hounds will have opening week preference across much of the north for the first week, Sept. 7-13. Beginning Sept. 14, other hunting methods such as bait may be used until Oct. 11. Hounds may not be used after Oct 4. Opening week preference switches between hunting with hounds and hunting with other means on alternate years.

A total of 4,731 Class A bear permits have been issued for 2005. Biologists have set a harvest goal of 2,500 animals. Interest in bear hunting has risen steadily over the years. For the 2005 season over 66,700 hunters applied for and received either a harvest permit or a preference point. This marks the highest number of applicants since the bear quota system was implemented in 1986.

Bear hunters can access the latest information on dog depredations including maps showing recent depredations on the DNR Web site.