Hunters are gearing up for this year's bow season but many of them are surprised to learn there are some changes. The Department of Natural Resources says this year will be the longest bow season in Wisconsin's history.
The DNR says the bow hunting season will run from September 17th until January 8th with a small break, on November 18th. However this year hunters will be able to use their bow during the traditional nine-day gun season.
Hunters Tuesday were pulling out their gear or buy new bows and getting it all ready for the start of the bow season.
"I can't wait to get out in the woods it's been a long wait so I’m really excited for it," says hunter Brady Hauser.
He says he would love to be able to spend more time in the woods.
"It's exciting, being a student and working part time any chance to get into the woods and have some flexibility is going to be great," says Hauser.
Hauser and many other hunters were surprised to find out they could use a bow for some more time this year. However they say even though they can use a bow during the gun season that doesn't mean they will.
"I know it's the longest because you can use your bow during the 9 day gun season and we don't have the four day antler less season in the early season but most hunters haven't talked about it much because unless you have land that's in city limits that you can't gun hunt most guys will use their gun," says Will Moulton who helps run Mouldy's Archery.
He says a lot of hunters will also be excited about not competing with the four day October doe hunt. The DNR says during the 9-day gun deer season, bow hunters will be required to follow the same blaze orange clothing rules as gun hunters but hunters say they're just excited for more chances from their tree stand.
"Any time you can gain some hunting days it's great," says Moulton.
"Just having the option is a neat idea," says Hauser.
The DNR says the number of licensed archery hunters has tripled since 1966 and last year was the third highest buck harvest by bow on record.
DNR Press Release
EAU CLAIRE – The 2011 Wisconsin’s archery deer hunt that opens September 17 will be the longest bow deer hunt in state history.
For the first time, bow hunting will be allowed during the regular nine-day gun deer hunt in November. As before, there will be no deer hunting on the Friday preceding the gun deer hunt. This single day will now separate the early and late bow deer seasons.
The 2011 archery deer season runs from Saturday, Sept. 17, through Thursday, Nov. 17 and then from Saturday, Nov. 19, the start of the gun season, through Jan. 8, a Sunday.
During the gun deer season, bow hunters will be required to follow the same blaze orange clothing regulations as gun hunters.
Another piece of welcome news this year for many bow hunters is the absence of any October gun deer hunts outside the Chronic Wasting Disease management zone in south central Wisconsin. The four-day, antlerless only gun deer hunt occurs Oct. 13-16 this year in the disease management zone.
With warm temperatures and insect activity in mid September, many archers are less enthusiastic about opening day and the season begins with much less fanfare than the annual gun deer hunt. But as summer fades into fall, the number of bow hunters in the field will grow dramatically.
In 1966 about 85,000 licensed archery hunters took just under 6,000 deer. In 2010, the number of bow hunters had swelled to 260,000, and they harvested 87,000 deer, 36 percent as many deer as taken by gun hunters in the previous year. The 2010 bow buck harvest was the third highest on record. Pope and Young record book entries show Wisconsin as the leading stat for large-antlered whitetails.
Other changes of interest to bow hunters this year:
- Most hunters are not allowed to hunt antlerless deer in eight regular, buck-only deer management units, primarily in northern and northeast Wisconsin. Archery and gun antlerless deer carcass tags are not valid in units 3, 7, 29B, 34, 35, 39, 44 and 45. No bonus antlerless tags will be available in these units. There are exceptions, explained in the regulations, for members of the Armed Forces, for the holders of certain disabled hunter permits and for youths ages 10-17.
- In the CWD-MZ, the Earn-A-Buck requirements do not apply when using a Gun Buck Deer Carcass Tag or when using an Archery Buck Deer Carcass Tag. All other buck deer harvest in the CWD-MZ and tagged with any other tag must follow EAB rules.
- Beginning in 2011, all youth ages 10-17 will automatically be issued a free antlerless deer carcass tag when they purchase a gun deer license. This tag is valid for one antlerless deer in any DMU during any open deer season with the appropriate license and corresponding weapon. This tag is issued along with the youth’s gun deer license through any license agent, and may also be filled in any DMU statewide during the archery season with legal archery gear if the person also holds a valid archery license. Antlerless deer carcass tags are no longer issued to now Hunter Education Class graduates.
- Whole deer carcasses and certain parts of those carcasses may be transported outside of the CWD-MZ and its adjacent DMUs if the carcass or parts are transported to a licensed taxidermist or licensed meat processor within 72 hours of registration.
- The DNR will mail a 2011 Buck Authorization Sticker to hunters who harvest a CWD-positive buck. If you harvested a CWD-positive buck last year and did not receive a 2010-2011 Buck Authorization Sticker in the mail, please notify the DNR at 1-888-WDNR-INFO.