DNR sets 2 December deer hunts as part of CWD management efforts

Hunters can participate in two special deer hunts to help limit the spread of chronic wasting disease in wild deer in southeastern Minnesota.
Residents and nonresidents can participate in the hunts from Friday, Dec. 20, through Sunday, Dec. 22, and Friday, Dec. 27, through Sunday, Dec. 29, in deer permit areas 643, 646, 647 and 648, which are the only permit areas where the disease has been found to be persistent in wild deer.
Additional permit areas (and their included public hunting lands) may be added to this hunt, as pending CWD sampling results come in. Any added areas will be noted on the CWD webpage at mndnr.gov/cwd by Nov. 28.
These hunts are part of the DNR’s three-pronged approach to limit the spread of CWD. Because the disease is spread through direct contact with an infected deer’s saliva, urine, blood, feces, antler velvet or carcass, reducing deer numbers in localized areas helps lower deer densities and remove CWD-positive animals. In some areas, the DNR has also implemented deer feeding and attractant bans to reduce the human-facilitated contact between deer, and restricted how hunters are allowed to move deer they harvest.

Hunt details
Hunters must plan ahead and should check the DNR’s website at mndnr.gov/cwd for complete details about the special hunts, including hunt rules, locations for registration and CWD sampling, carcass movement restrictions, a map of the hunt area, and information about the DNR’s efforts to keep Minnesota wild deer healthy.
During these hunts, hunters may tag deer of either sex with disease management tags or unused tags from a 2019 landowner license, youth or adult firearm license, youth or adult muzzleloader license, or youth or adult archery license. Only antlerless deer may be tagged with bonus tags or early-season antlerless tags. Hunters may purchase an unlimited number of disease management tags.
Hunters participating in the disease management hunts in deer permit areas 643, 646, 647, and 648 may use only legal shotguns loaded with single-slug shotgun shells, legal muzzleloading long guns, legal handguns or legal crossbows for taking deer.
Private land makes up most of the area within the hunt area and hunters must have landowner permission to hunt that land.
Public lands open during the regular season are open during the special hunts. Hunters can check the DNR’s Recreation Compass at mndnr.gov/maps/compass for more details about public lands.

Permits required to hunt on some public lands
Permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for Forestville State Park, Pin Oak Prairie Scientific and Natural Area and Great River Bluffs State Park (including portions of King’s and Queen’s Bluffs SNA starting at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 4.
There is no fee for these permits, and they can be obtained online or wherever DNR licenses are sold. Permits will be valid for either the first or the second weekend hunt in these locations. The permits will not be valid for both weekends.
The Cherry Grove Blind Valley SNA, which adjoins the Cherry Grove Wildlife Management Area, and Rushford Sand Barrens SNA will also be open to deer hunting. No special permit is required for these two SNAs.

Too much meat for your freezer?
Hunters who choose not to keep their meat can utilize the venison donation program. More details can be found on the DNR website.
Additional CWD informationSince CWD was first detected in Minnesota in 2002, the DNR has tested more than 80,000 wild deer in the state. To date, 59 wild deer have been confirmed positive for CWD in Minnesota. Test results, including locations of confirmed positive test results and statistics, are available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck.
Keeping Minnesota’s wild deer population healthy remains the goal in the DNR’s response to chronic wasting disease. As part of its response plan, the DNR is monitoring for CWD in disease management zones around areas that the disease has been detected in wild deer, as well as in a CWD surveillance area where the disease was found in captive deer. The CWD management zones are located in southeastern and north-central Minnesota. The CWD surveillance area is located in central Minnesota.
The DNR’s three-pronged approach to prevent spread of the disease was detailed in an earlier news release. The department’s CWD response plan can be found on the DNR website.
CWD is an always-fatal neurological disease that affects the cervid family, which includes deer, elk and moose. For more information on chronic wasting disease, including maps of 2019 CWD surveillance areas and disease management zones, frequently asked questions, and hunter information, visit mndnr.gov/cwd.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


DNR seeks public help in Washburn County hunting incident

MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking the public's help in the case of an adult male shot while deer hunting in Washburn County on Sunday, Nov. 24, of the opening weekend of the annual gun deer season, which so far has four hunting incidents.
The DNR's Bureau of Law Enforcement is looking for information regarding individuals or groups who would have been hunting around 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, in the block of Washburn County land in Minong Township bordered by these roads: East Sleepy Eye Road, south of Sleepy Eye Fire Land, north of Nancy Lake Road and west of CCC Road.
Anyone with information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, may confidentially relay their information by text, phone call or online to the WDNR Violation Tip Line: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trained staff relay report information to conservation wardens.

Three other hunting incidents
The three other hunting incidents known by late afternoon on Nov. 24 occurred in Oneida, Fond du Lac and Marathon counties. All occurred on opening day, Nov. 23.
In Oneida and Marathon counties, the two separate incidents involved hunters who discharged their firearms, striking their left feet.
The Oneida County incident involved a 38-year-old male and a 29-year-old female in Marathon County.
In Fond du Lac County, a hunter shot toward a running deer and struck a 19-year-old female in the left hand.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Deer Trails 5: Dealing with CWD is up to hunters

By JERRY DAVIS

Having a deer carcass tested for chronic wasting disease is usually up to the hunter.  
In most cases, deer that are less than a year old are not tested, even though some that young have tested positive for CWD, possibly becoming diseased while a developing fetus.
Since 2002, about 227,000 Wisconsin deer have tested positive for CWD.
Department-managed sampling sites offer sampling, followed by testing, at no charge to the hunter. Time for return results vary, but could be up to 10 days. There are some individuals, kiosks, registration assist stations, and DNR sites that offer to sample deer. Check the DNR web site for locations, businesses and other information, even beyond the gun deer season.
Any hunter who kills a deer that tests positive for CWD also can request a replacement harvest authorization be added to their Go Wild account.
There are lists of tips on reducing transmission of CWD including field dressing deer. See the DNR Web site.
The most important step is that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that there have been, to date, no reported cases of CWD infection in people. However, the CDC advises that hunters not consume venison from deer, elk, or moose that has tested positive for CWD.
While the final choice is personal, and if a hunter chooses not to test a deer and does consume the venison, it would be wise that if the hunter gifts or serves venison that has not been tested to convey that to consumers at gatherings and parties. The Wisconsin Division of Public Health recommends the same as the CDC.
It should not be enough for someone to simply say, “I eat CWD-positive deer and have not gotten sick.” Commercially-processed deer should not be mixed and batch processed. If the processor does not keep individual deer separate, it would be impossible to say the venison received is coming from CWD-free deer.

Season Snippet: A pilot program for electronic deer registration was established in 2015.

Jerry Davis writes daily Deer Trails 11 times during the nine-day, gun deer season. This is the fifth column. You may contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-924-1112.


Deer Trails 4: Deer opener finds hunters in relaxing moods

By JERRY DAVIS

Calm, sunny skies, warming into the high 30s, and beyond, seemed to put most hunters in a great mood to be out and enjoy recreating during yesterday’s 2019 nine-day gun deer season.
Wisconsin continues to be a destination state for white-tailed deer hunting and this year is no different with the likelihood every state being represented by at least one hunter, as well as 10 or more foreign countries sending representatives.
Many hunters, who were up before dawn and at their location shortly thereafter, were not conforming to the “if it’s brown, it’s down,” philosophy.
A former Wisconsin resident, now living in Atlanta, GA, let the first three deer pass, two does and a buck, maybe so as not to be done before noon.
It was that way with many spending the first few hours or even the day soaking up the outdoors, hearing coyotes howling, watching squirrels nutting and listening to birds calling.
A group of five Janesville men spent two years renovating a school bus into a deer hunting camper with five bedrooms and more if necessary. While they use the bus for more than deer hunting, painting it blaze orange signals its primary purpose.
A laid-back approach was a case of necessity for one 76-year-old man who had hunted 51 consecutive years before calling it enough. Then his friends and relatives talked him into a second go at it and he mostly sits in his truck with his rifle outside and ready. He’s back for another streak of deer hunting years. He’s shot a number of deer, all legally, with his relaxed method.
So-called assisting registration stations primarily for chronic wasting disease sampling, were feeling the laid back approach, too, with hunters waiting until later in the day to bring in their bucks and does.
While some hunters were not in a rush to kill a deer, bald eagles reacted to a new source of food with more urgency, sitting in wait in rural areas away from lakes and rivers, in anticipation of entrails for supper.
Mike Burns, DNR warden in Lafayette County, said the opener was good, starting with fine weather. State properties were not overloaded with people. Some not arriving until 9 or 10 in the morning. One individual was a bit confused with the law on loaded guns in vehicles, but otherwise everyone is happy to be out and glad the nine-day season is here.
Matt Groppi, DNR warden in Jackson County, found the opener fairly quiet. There are always a couple who forget to check rules, with one hunter leaving a stand overnight on state property and a young hunter and mentor who forgot about being within arm’s length of one another.
“Overall it has the makings of a good season,” Groppi said.
Most hunters will pick up the pace as the season progresses, except  those who just can’t seem to get enough of all aspects of deer hunting.

Season Snippet: Before 1851, Wisconsin had an all-year season, any deer, entire state and no license required.

Jerry Davis writes daily Deer Trails 11 times during the nine-day, gun deer season. This is the fourth column. You may contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-924-1112.


Deer Trails 3: Harvest authorizations replace deer tags

By JERRY DAVIS

It would be simpler to tag deer than to explain a deer harvest authorization, but since hunters no longer are required to tag their deer, tags became authorizations.
Changes during the last several years may have left some hunters scratching their blaze orange coat sleeves as to how to legally take a deer carcass into possession.
Remember deer must be registered by 5 p.m. the day following the kill. An animal shot Saturday must be registered by 5 p.m. on Sunday, and so on throughout the nine-day, gun deer season, and for all seasons that follow, too.
Registration can be handled by phone, computer, or by stopping by one of many assist stations (usually businesses) where someone will all but do it for you, or at least provide the computer and talk you though the steps.
If you can shoot a deer, you should be able to register it, or know where to obtain help, right?
Deer no longer have to be tagged and that is one reason why the slip of paper that came with a license is now called a harvest authorization rather than a deer tag (and why these columns are no longer called Deer Tags or Back Tags).
One buck harvest authorization comes with each license, regardless of whether it is a patron’s, sports, or regular gun-deer license (archery license, too).
Hunters may also have been awarded one or more antlerless authorizations at the time of a license purchase. In other cases, or in addition, bonus antlerless authorizations may have been purchased along with the deer license.
When in a woods hunting, hunters shall carry some proof of having purchased a license. There are several ways to prove a license was purchased, one being to carry a printed copy of the actual purchase.  Other options include carrying a Go Wild Card, an authenticated driver’s license, or an electronic device displaying the license.
Any of those methods allows a field warden to access the hunter’s file to see what was purchased or approved along with the license.     
Hunters themselves could look into their DNR file online and see what authorizations have been recorded as purchased or received. If there are no antlerless authorizations and some are desired, get them put on the license (or purchase if necessary).
Every authorization has a customer number, which is needed when registering a deer. Check to make sure the correct authorization is used for each situation. Printing on the top of the authorization says what can be registered, buck or antlerless deer and taken with gun or archery equipment.
This system is not new, so follow what you did last year or ask before the coffee gets cold. Any questions? Call 1-888-WDNR-INFO, which is 1-888-936-7463.

Season Snippet: The first metal deer tags were used in 1920. Now they are paper and are called authorizations.

Jerry Davis writes daily Deer Trails 11 times during the nine-day, gun deer season. This is the third column. You may contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-924-1112.


DNR reminds deer hunters about mandatory registration

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin hunters are preparing to head out for the nine-day gun deer season opening this Saturday. Nov. 23. The Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that deer registration is mandatory for all successful hunters and it's easier than ever to do. DNR suggests keeping this guide handy during the season to be sure of a legal harvest.
Know the zone, deer management unit and land type on your deer harvest authorizations.
Each license authorizing the hunting of deer comes with a buck harvest authorization valid for harvesting one buck in any Deer Management Unit (DMU) statewide. If you wish to hunt antlerless deer, you must possess an unused, valid antlerless harvest authorization. Hunters under age 18 are issued one antlerless harvest authorization with their deer license, valid statewide on the land type designated.
One or more antlerless harvest authorizations valid in a Farmland Zone DMU are included with each deer license, but hunters must select the Zone, DMU, and land type (public or private) at the time of purchase or later (before hunting). In addition, bonus antlerless harvest authorizations may be available for sale. Check antlerless harvest authorization availability by visiting dnr.wi.gov and searching "antlerless."
For hunters pursuing deer in the Farmland Zone (Zone 2), be sure to select the proper zone, DMU, and land type in Go Wild before harvesting the deer. If this step was skipped at the time of purchasing the deer license, follow this easy guide. (A picture-guide tutorial is also available on the DNR website.)
Go to GoWild.WI.gov and log into the hunter's Go Wild account. Follow the prompts and verify all personal information is current, scroll down to the LICENSE heading.
Select BUY LICENSES. Under the PRODUCT CATALOG heading, the option to receive Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless harvest authorizations will appear. Select the FARMLAND (ZONE 2) ANTLERLESS DEER HARVEST AUTHORIZATION link.
Then select the county or counties (deer management unit) where Farmland (Zone 2) harvest authorizations will be used and whether it is public or private land. Hunters must complete check-out to properly obtain the Farmland (Zone 2) harvest authorizations. Remember to print the Farmland (Zone 2) harvest authorizations to have the number handy when reporting the harvest.
If a hunter is unable to access their online account, they may visit a local DNR Service Center to obtain harvest authorizations at no cost or visit a license agent, which will require a $2 processing fee.
Available Bonus Antlerless Deer Harvest Authorizations may be purchased by:
* Using the Online Licensing Center.
* Visiting a license sales location.
* Visiting a DNR Service Center.

Hunters must carry form of proof
Hunters are no longer required to validate or attach a paper harvest authorization to the deer but must still carry proof of their license and harvest authorization. Hunters must carry one or more of the following:
* A paper copy;
* A department-approved PDF displayed on a mobile device;
* An authenticated Wisconsin driver's license; or
* A Go Wild Conservation Card.

Registering deer harvest
All deer harvested must be registered by 5 p.m. the day after recovery. Go online to gamereg.wi.gov (fastest and easiest option), call 1-844-GAME-REG (1-844-426-3734) or find an in-person registration station that provides one of these methods. A short registration guide is available online.
Hunters must have their deer harvest authorization number to begin the registration process. Those who do not have their authorization number at hand may access it from their online Go Wild account. The "My GameReg" section of the customer homepage provides information on current harvest authorizations. Hunters may view and reprint unused authorizations or click the quick link to report a harvest.
For more information regarding deer hunting in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov, keyword "deer."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Deer Trails 2: Hunters aren't smiling about 'great' weekend

By JERRY DAVIS

The word “great” coming from meteorologists should put a smile on the faces of deer hunters and deer viewers.
“Things look great for the upcoming weekend with dry weather both Saturday and Sunday,” said Haddie McLean, WISC-TV Channel 3000 meteorologist, in Madison. “There’s no rain or snow in that forecast.”
Alyssa Triplett (pictured), WXOW News 19 Daybreak meteorologist in La Crosse, dittoed Haddie’s words saying, “It’s looking dry, no rain, and sunny Friday, Saturday and Sunday in central Wisconsin.”
But, there is often a "but" with weather forecasting. The "yeah, but," likely comes into play midweek with the possibility of a huge snowstorm could that may disrupt plans for hunters as well as millions of travelers during the Thanksgiving Day holiday.
Looking back, last year’s nine-day, gun deer season started out, according to many, as a “perfect stormless” opener.
There wasn’t a blizzard followed by a record high, or the reverse, but as many recall, the ground was bare during walks to deer stands, and then a light snow began to fall and continued most of the morning.
Can anything top last year? Probably not, but it may come close, at least with the opener’s relatively mild conditions.
Deer hunters will often argue that snow is mainly for sighting and safety, not thought of so much as tracking snow these days. Deer, and hunters become more apparent with a white background, provided it isn’t a blizzard or fog.
But that’s not in the forecast, at least not in southern Wisconsin and not until closer to Thanksgiving. No rain, little breeze and limited fog all are good for opening weekend.
Mild temperatures will keep hunters in the woods longer. There’s always the danger, with fine weather, of hunters drifting off and deer dreaming, but the sounds of rifles may cut those naps short.      
There are hints that the deer mating season is continuing, at least in a restrained way. Anything like that is a gift, but with the season six days later this year, deer movement will not be great.
“High temperatures will be in the 40s,” Haddie said, “with lows below freezing and fog and wind should be minimal. There’s a high directly on top of us, so that usually means nice, quiet conditions.”
“With saturated soils, normal temperatures and the long range forecast for some rain, hunters may find creeks and low areas very wet, even some high water with a large system approaching. Temperatures will drop, too, after Tuesday,” Alyssa said.
Without sighting and safety snow, brown deer, plus more standing corn and beans than usual, deer are going to blend into the surrounding. Blaze orange will help considerably, but be sure of your target and what is beyond.

Season Snippet: Thirty-nine years ago, 1980, blaze orange clothing was required to hunt during the gun deer season.

Jerry Davis writes daily Deer Trails 11 times during the nine-day, gun deer season. This is the second column. You may contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-924-1112.