Things to know for Wisconsin’s 2022 Gun Deer Hunt

Deer hunting
Deer hunting(Photo courtesy: ND Game and Fish)
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 6:58 AM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - It’s a tradition unlike any other. Wisconsin’s nine-day gun-deer hunt starts Saturday, Nov. 19.

More than half a million hunters will take to the woods and fields of Wisconsin, and there are some promising signs ahead of this year’s hunt.

Here are some things to know about the season.

SEASON OUTLOOK

DNR Deer Program Specialist Jeff Pritzl says the calendar is shaping up to be a friend of hunters this year.

“The opening day on the 19th is getting closer to its earliest possible opener which means it’s getting closer to the breeding season which is going on right now, and that can also positively affect natural deer movement over opening weekend,” explains Pritzl.

And for those hunting in farmland zones around the state, there will likely be fewer areas for the deer to take cover.

“Agricultural harvest right now is pretty much on track with the norms as well which is good news, it means most of the standing corn should be off in the farmland zones opening weekend, that’s good news for the farmland deer hunters, takes away a little bit of that extra hiding cover and sanctuary where deer like to hang out in standing corn,” says Pritzl.

Pritzl expects most hunters to stay put in their deer stands.

“Another thing that we’ve seen change over time with the gun season is that the hunting strategy has evolved and become more like the strategies that archers use throughout the year in as much as hunters tend to choose a strategic position and stay put and let the deer move and come to them as opposed to taking a more active role in trying to move the deer,” says Pritzl.

CLICK HERE for the DNR’s guide to deer hunting in Wisconsin.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Local hospitals have teamed up to spread a message of health and safety for hunters.

“Some of the most common injuries associated with hunting are heart attacks, and broken bones and back injuries related to falls from tree stands. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, tree stand falls are more common than gun-related injuries and deaths for hunters,” reads a statement from local hospital systems.

Dr. Kyle McCarty, Emergency Medicine Director and physician at HSHS St. Vincent and St. Mary’s Hospitals, says hunters should watch for warning signs and not go into the woods unprepared.

“Cell phones and hunting partners can serve as a lifeline when health-related injuries occur in the heart of the woods,” said Dr. McCarty. “Whether a hunter accidentally cuts themselves, experiences chest pains or happens to twist their ankle – being able to ask for help is critical. The seriousness of these injuries can only get worse when a hunter finds themself unable to get help because they ventured out alone or didn’t bring along a cell phone.”

Doctors and wildlife experts recommend the following:

  • • Always wearing fall-restraint harnesses while in trees
  • • Maintaining 3-points of contact with trees at all times while climbing
  • • Bringing a first-aid kit along on hunts to deal with potential injuries
  • • Taking intermittent breaks while hiking, dragging, and processing deer to decrease risks of a heart attack
  • • Packing dry clothes, rain gear and wearing layers to help prevent the risk of experiencing hypothermia
  • • Maintaining proper ventilation when using propane heat inside of cabins and enclosed deer stands to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that is caused by improper burning or venting of fuel, according to Wisconsin Public Service. The utility encourages hunters to install carbon monoxide detectors in cabins.

Carbon monoxide safety

  • • Checking heating vents, flues and chimneys to make sure they are clear. Remove any debris or animal nests from them.
  • • Inspecting fuel-burning appliances.
  • • Never use a portable electric generator indoors.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

  • • A sudden flu-like illness.
  • • Dizziness, headaches or sleepiness.
  • • Cherry-red lips and an unusually pale complexion.
  • • Nausea or vomiting.
  • • A fluttering heartbeat.
  • • Unconsciousness.

Firearm safety

  • • T – Treat every firearm as if it is loaded
  • • A – Always point the muzzle in a safe direction
  • • B – Be certain of your target, what’s in front of it, and what’s beyond it
  • • K – Keep your finger outside your trigger guard until you are safe to shoot

Treestand Safety

  • • Always wear a safety harness when you hunt from any elevated stand, no matter what type of stand it is.
  • • Always unload your firearm before attaching it to your haul line. Your haul line is used to raise and lower your firearm or other gear.
  • • Always maintain three points of contact while climbing in and out of the treestand. This means two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand at all times.
  • • Use a lifeline so you’re connected and safe at all times – while climbing up, while sitting and while climbing down.
  • • Check for worn or torn straps holding the stand to the tree.
  • • Take your time getting in and out of the stand. Think about each move you are making and be deliberate with your actions.

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE

Hunters are encouraged to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease by placing carcasses in disposal sites. CWD is a fatal disease of the nervous system of deer, moose, elk, and reindeer.

CLICK HERE for a map of landfills, dumpsters, and transfer station facilities for deer carcass waste.

Hunters can sample their deer for CWD testing. CLICK HERE to learn more about sampling.

FIREWOOD

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection encourages hunters to prevent the spread of forest pests and diseases by not moving firewood.

“Preventing the spread of forest pests and diseases supports tourism, timber, and nursery industries,” said DATCP’s Bureau of Plant Industry Director Brian Kuhn. “Burning certified firewood is the safest option as it has been treated to reduce the risk of spreading pests and diseases to new areas.”

DATCP recommends using state-certified firewood with labels and certification numbers. These are found at gas stations, grocery stores, and state parks.

“Just because you cannot see them does not mean forest pests are not present in your firewood,” said Kuhn. “DATCP works closely with local, state, and federal partners to survey for pests and diseases and protect the Wisconsin forests our citizens, businesses, and communities rely on.”

DNR DEER DONATION PROGRAM

The DNR says hunters can donate deer to the program to help stock food pantries. The DNR works with meat processors to distribute the venison.

CLICK HERE to learn how to donate.

REPORT HUNTING VIOLATIONS

If you notice a violation, you can report it to the DNR by calling or texting 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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