Anticipation builds for Wisconsin’s annual gun deer season

Hundreds of thousands of hunters, hundreds of millions of dollars
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 2:21 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - It’s a week full of anticipation for more than half a million Wisconsin deer hunters.

The state’s annual nine day gun deer season kicks off this weekend.

When the sun rises Saturday morning, an estimated 560,000 hunters will be in the woods, and thousands of them will be from out-of-state, continuing Wisconsin’s trend as one of the top deer hunting destinations in the country.

That means hundreds of millions of dollars pumped into the state’s economy.

“Every year thoughts of enjoying the outdoors with family and friends drives people from all 50 states, even abroad, to come to Wisconsin and take part in this hunt and that’s a big deal for us,” says DNR Secretary Preston Cole.

For many hunters, the week leading up to the season is full of excitement.

“Looking forward to the reunions that take place during the gun season and the anticipation of memories to be made, which may or may not include the harvest of a deer, there’s a lot of other things that play out this time of the year,” says Jeff Pritzl, DNR Deer Program Specialist.

With chronic wasting disease now on the landscape in Wisconsin for more than two decades, the DNR continues to monitor and track its spread, again asking hunters to help by getting their deer sampled for CWD.

“Whether you’re a hunter who wants to do it all yourself or use one of our self-service kiosks, it is easier than ever to test your deer for chronic wasting disease, so please, please, please help us learn more about the disease and get your deer tested,” says Secretary Cole.

Because deer are such a vital and treasured resource in the state, conservation wardens are asking hunters, and the public in general, to report any activity they don’t feel is legal.

“Who the violator is, maybe they know them, maybe they don’t, if they don’t maybe getting a description of the vehicle, license plate, description of the people involved would be important, what is the violation, who, what, where and when questions, we want to be able to answer that so we can adequately follow up,” explains DNR Conservation Warden Bill Hanke.

All hunters are reminded, that once in the field, safety comes first.