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Sept. 16 marks opening of archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons

Increased deer observations following another mild winter have hunters and state wildlife officials alike excited for fall hunting seasons - the 2017 archery and crossbow deer seasons run concurrently statewide from Sept. 16 to Jan. 7, 2018.

In 2016, archery and crossbow hunters combined for one of the highest buck harvests in history. Deer hunters in just four predominantly forested counties will see buck-only hunting this year. Throughout the remainder of the state, antlerless hunting opportunities are available through the use of Farmland Zone and bonus antlerless deer tags.

Archery and crossbow deer hunters have a continuous season framework that includes hunting during all gun deer seasons in November and December, plus the option to fill a gun deer tag using crossbow or archery equipment during open firearm seasons.

In its first three years, hunting with a crossbow has provided an additional opportunity for many hunters throughout Wisconsin, and accounts for the highest rate of participation by women than any other deer hunting method. Those interested in using both a conventional bow and crossbow may do so by paying full price for one of the licenses and purchasing a $3 upgrade for the second license. Hunters will use the same buck tag and antlerless tags issued with their first license of choice.

In addition, please note that regulations regarding treestands and ground blinds used on department managed lands have changed for fall 2017. For other types of property such as county or federally owned lands, contact the property manager to learn about these rules.

Bonus antlerless tags remain available in many deer management units. Bonus tags may be filled with any weapon type during the appropriate season, but must be filled in the zone, county and land type designated on each tag.

In 2017, up to five Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags are included with each deer hunting license, depending on the Deer Management Unit (DMU) of choice. Hunters who have not yet purchased a license for hunting deer will be prompted to select the unit and land-type for the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags at the point of sale. Licenses may be purchased through the Go Wild website, GoWild.WI.Gov or at any of the more than 1,000 Go Wild license sales locations.

Hunters who purchased their deer hunting licenses earlier in the year, or who have yet to determine hunting location, may defer the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tag selection. When ready, hunters may:

• make a tag selection online from their Go Wild account and print themselves;

• request desired tag(s) at a local DNR Service Center; or

• visit a license agent (this will require a $2 processing fee).

GameReg

All harvested deer must be registered electronically by 5 p.m. the day after the deer is recovered. GameReg is simple, fast and convenient for hunters. The system will prompt hunters to answer a series of questions, beginning with the carcass tag number and date of birth.

Hunters will have three options for registering their deer:

• online at GameReg.WI.Gov (fastest and easiest option);

• by phone at 1-844-426-3734 (1-844-GAME-REG); or

• electronically at a participating in-person registration station (keyword "registration stations").

For more information regarding electronic registration, search "GameReg."

For any questions or to report a violation, call Conservation Warden Paul Sickman at 715-684-2914 ext. 120.

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