Gun Deer Hunt ’22 opens Nov. 19
Brown County metro zone has special rules
Bay-area sporting goods stores could be swamped this weekend as thousands of hunters prepare for the Nov. 19 gun deer hunting season opener.
Statewide, close to 600,000 hunters are expected to be afield during the traditional nine-day season.
Firearm deer hunter numbers have fallen about 15 percent from record highs more than two decades ago, but some of that has been offset by a large increase in the number of hunters using crossbows in a generous 100-plus-day season.
In fact, hunters in Brown County — and a number of others with hunts extended through January including Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Outagamie and Oconto — have 137 days to pursue deer with crossbow or archery equipment this season.
Not since the days of market hunting more than a century ago have hunters had so much time to get after whitetails.
The regular gun deer season is immediately followed by a 10-day muzzleloader deer hunt (or an extended firearm season in Brown County’s metro sub-unit) and a four-day, antlerless-only season statewide.
After a nearly two-week break, there’s an antlerless-only holiday gun deer hunt in Brown, Calumet, Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Oconto and Outagamie counties Dec. 24-Jan. 1.
With only about one in six hunters typically tagging an antlered buck, Department of Natural Resources Deer Program Specialist Jeff Pritzl encourages those who want fresh venison to take advantage of ample antlerless opportunities in farmland and metro zones.
Through last weekend, Brown County hunters had registered 318 bucks and 346 antlerless, a total of 664.
Other area deer harvest totals included Calumet, 271; Door, 693; Kewaunee, 539; Manitowoc, 875; Marinette, 1,260; Oconto, 1,443; Outagamie, 841; and Shawano, 2,175.
Wisconsin’s top typical-antlered bucks with bow and crossbow were both taken last season.
The new state archery No. 1 — a 19-pointer from Dane County —scored 205-4/8 using the Boone & Crockett antler scoring system.
Meanwhile, the No. 1 crossbow buck — a 13-pointer from Trempealeau County — scored 192-5/8.
The state record non typical bow and crossbow bucks were shot in 2013 (bow) and 2019 (crossbow): a 28-pointer from Waukesha County that scored 249-5/8, and a 19-pointer from La Crosse County that scored 221-7/8, respectively.
Although most of the highest-scoring bow and crossbow deer have been shot during the past decade, only two of the top-five gun-buck typicals were shot since the late 1940s: one in 1979, the other in 1999.
And of the top-five nontypical gun bucks in the Wisconsin Buck & Bear Club record book, only one (in 2008) has come since the turn of the century.
Wisconsin’s No. 1 typical gun whitetail is the famous James Jordan 10-pointer taken in 1914 in Burnett County.
It scored 206-1/8 inches: the largest in the world until 1993.
The No. 1 non typical buck taken with firearms is a 30-pointer from Buffalo County in 1973.
That giant scored 253 inches.
Tops in the pickup (found dead) category include a 213-point non typical from Rock County in 2020 that scored 250-6/8, and an 11-point typical in Monroe County in 2009 that scored 193-3/8.
Time to take a stand
If you don’t own or lease hunting land, there’s a good chance you’ll be one of many competing for a prime spot to take a stand this season.
If you’re still looking, a good starting point is dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/lands. There’s also this one, which includes mapping: dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/fl/RealEstate/PALApplication.
Find all the regs on the Hunt Wild app, the print version available where licenses are sold or online at widnr.widen.net/s/pdq5r2sdqc/2022wi_huntregulations.
For a complete look at all the 2022-23 deer hunting opportunities and historical data, check out dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/deer.html.
Deer Hunt Wisconsin
The 32nd annual episode of Deer Hunt Wisconsin, hosted by Dan Small, debuted on Wisconsin Public Television this week and will repeat seven times between Nov. 11-18.
Check your local listings for dates and times.
If you’d rather take a peek online, you can visit youtube.com/deerhuntwisconsin.
This year’s show includes advice for creating deer habitat and covers several successful hunts, as well as regulations and a hunting forecast by region.
Meanwhile, WisconsinEye host Lisa Pugh recently interviewed Pritzl for his thoughts on the 2022 hunt.
You’ll need to register (it’s free) to view the show.
Find it at wiseye.org.
DNR Violation Hotline
Call or text 1-800-TIP-WDNR (1-800-847-9367).
Information will be relayed to a DNR officer for investigation.
You do not have to leave your name when reporting a violation.
However, it can be helpful if an officer can follow-up to verify facts and let you know the outcome of the investigation.
You can also submit a violation tip online at dnrx.wisconsin.gov/rav/.
Donate a deer
If you have access to a spot with more whitetails than you can eat, consider donating one or more to the state’s deer-donation program.
Dozens of processors across the state accept legally-registered whitetails and grind the venison into hamburger for food pantries.
Check who’s taking deer in your hunt area at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/donation.html.
DNR customer helpline
7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Vehicle deer kill
Call (608) 267-7691 to register car-killed deer or turkey, request a car kill bear tag, or for non-emergency law enforcement related issues.
License sale locations