Wisconsin Muzzleloader Season Opens Nov 27

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People venturing out into Wisconsin woods and fields over the next few weeks should note that while the traditional nine-day deer hunting season in Wisconsin closes on Sunday, Nov. 26, a statewide muzzleloader season runs from Nov. 27 through Dec. 7, deer hunting in the chronic wasting disease (CWD) management zones continues through Dec. 10, and a statewide antlerless only hunt will be held Dec. 7-10.

The muzzleloader season is open statewide. A muzzleloader is a firearm that can only be loaded from the muzzle, or the barrel end of the firearm, and uses black powder or black powder substitute. The muzzleloader season is held statewide except in some state parks units.

Keith Warnke, deer ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources, says a steady growth in the number of deer registered during muzzleloader seasons is an indication of the growing popularity of muzzleloader hunting.

In 2005 muzzleloader hunters registered 8,553 deer, Warnke says, compared to, 7,074 deer in 2004 and under 6,100 in 2003, and 3,900 in 2002. By comparison, in 1991, the first year a special muzzleloader season was held, just over 200 deer were taken.

Hunters who plan on participating in the muzzleloader deer hunting season should check the 2006 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulation Pamphlet for muzzleloader restrictions and deer tagging options.

Tim Lawhern, DNR hunter safety administrator, says muzzleloader hunters need to be aware of the possibility of misfires, in which powder does not ignite, or "hangfires," in which there is a delay in the discharge.

"It is very important that muzzleloader hunters keep their powder dry. Misfires or hangfires can and do happen. When this does happen they should point the muzzle in a safe direction for at least 30 seconds. By doing so, should the muzzleloader go off, it will not harm anyone."

CWD zone hunt

The firearm deer hunting season in the CWD Herd Reduction and Disease Eradication zones that began on Nov. 18 continues through Dec. 10. During this time deer hunters in these zones can shoot deer of either-sex. Hunters can obtain 2006-2007 CWD Deer Carcass Tags, free of charge, a rate of four per hunter per day.

Antlerless deer hunt Dec. 7-10

Also this year there will be an antlerless only firearm hunt from Dec. 7 through 10 held in all deer management units statewide (except in the CWD zones where either-sex hunting regulations apply on these days). During this hunt, hunters in Earn-a-Buck and Herd Control units can tag with antlerless deer carcass tags valid in Herd Control and Earn-a-Buck units. Additional Herd Control EAB carcass tags may be purchased at any license vendor through the hunting seasons for $2 each. In "Regular" units hunters can only tag antlerless deer with antlerless deer carcass tags valid for the specific unit in which they are hunting. There are still unit-specific antlerless deer carcass tags available in some regular units. The tags cost $12 each for residents and $20 each for non-residents.

While any gun deer season is open, except for waterfowl hunters, all hunters are required to wear at least 50 percent blaze orange clothing, including a hat if worn.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke - (608) 264-6023 or (608) 576-5243 or Tim Lawhern, DNR law enforcement - (608) 266-1317.