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Wisconsin Hunting Seasons

Mike Slinkard

December 8, 2022

Every year, deer hunters flock to Wisconsin to participate in the hunting season. If this is your first year hunting in the state, you’re in for a treat!

On average, approximately 300,000 does and bucks are harvested during Wisconsin’s open season. With over seven million acres of public land to traverse, outdoorsmen can find their favorite spot to take aim and harvest a majestic white-tailed deer. 

Recently, Wisconsin has implemented an online system for completing hunter education, purchasing hunting licenses, and reporting tagged deer. If you don’t have time to stop by a local hunting license supplier, you can pay and print your license from the convenience of your own home.

Deer Hunting Season in Wisconsin

Outdoorsmen have numerous opportunities to harvest white-tailed deer in Wisconsin. But before you embark on the latest hunting adventure, you’ll need to prepare accordingly. Here’s a rundown of the season dates, license costs, and approved equipment for hunters in the state.

Dates for Deer Hunting Season

Deer hunting season in Wisconsin is unique — this state has an exclusive season for individuals with physical disabilities and a special winter holiday hunt.

Youth HuntOctober 8th & 9th
Hunt for Individuals with DisabilitiesOctober 1st – October 9th
Archery and CrossbowSeptember 17th – January 8th
GunNovember 19th – November 27th
MuzzleloaderNovember 28th – December 7th
Antlerless Deer OnlyDecember 8th – 11th 
Holiday Hunt (Antlerless Only)December 24th – January 1st

Where to Hunt During Wisconsin Deer Season

With over seven million acres of land, Wisconsin hunters have an array of options for places to hunt. Here are a few state parks that welcome outdoorsmen during deer hunting season: 

Outside of public land, Wisconsin landowners can enroll their private property in the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program to allow public hunting, trapping, and fishing during open seasons.

Approved Hunting Equipment in Wisconsin

Here’s what you can use to hunt while tracking game in Wisconsin: 

  • Bow and Arrows
  • 10 gauge or lower shotguns
  • Rifles
  • Handguns (Hunter must be 18 years or older)
  • Muzzleloaders
  • Crossbows

If you have any questions about potential hunting equipment, consult the Wisconsin general hunting guidelines for more information.

Cost of Deer Hunting Licenses

Before entering the Wisconsin state forests to punch a tag, you’ll need to select your preferred hunting equipment. The gun, archer, and crossbow season licenses are purchased separately, so you will need two licenses to participate in firearms and archery season. 

Licenses can be purchased in person at one of the many available locations throughout the state or online through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

YouthJunior HunterResidentsNonresidents
Gun, Archer, or Crossbow$7.00$20.00$24.00$160.00
Antlerless Deer Harvest Authorizations$5.00$12.00$12.00$20.00

Wisconsin has two categories for young hunters ready to hit the field and tag a deer: youth and junior. Youth licenses are for individuals under 12, whereas junior hunters are teenagers between 12 to 17 years old.

Hunters who have met their seasonal bag limits may purchase antlerless deer harvest authorizations through the Wisconsin DNR. This authorization permits hunters to harvest one additional deer during the open season.

Deer Hunting Rules

Open season in the badger state has begun, and you’re ready to harvest your first deer. However, Wisconsin has some specific hunting regulations to consider before embarking into the forest. 

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Before purchasing a hunting license, Wisconsin requires everyone to participate in hunter education courses. Individuals who attended hunter education in another state or served in the military may be exempt from their requirement. 

Outdoorsmen are permitted to start their hunt 30 minutes before sunrise and must cease fire 20 minutes after sunset. For safety reasons, hunters must wear fluorescent orange or neon pink on 50% of their bodies during the firearm season. 

Wisconsin does not allow hunting within 100 yards of public buildings or home dwellings. In addition, hunters may not shoot within 50 feet of a public roadway. You may not use the aid of drones to track animals during the hunt. 

If a harvested deer tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, Wisconsin hunters will receive authorization to harvest an additional deer during the current season. 

Every harvested deer must be registered through the Department of Natural Resources by 5 p.m. the day after the hunt. The county deer advisory councils use tag registration to track deer population numbers.

Other Wisconsin Hunting Seasons

Sometimes, outdoorsmen continue to crave the thrill of the hunt after they’ve hit their bag limit or outside of the deer hunting season. If you’re hoping to tag a new animal in the state of Wisconsin, here are some of the other open seasons available:

AnimalSeason Dates
TurkeySpring Youth: April 15th & 16th Spring: April 19th – May 30th Fall: September 17th – January 8th 
PheasantOctober 15th – January 8th 
CrowSeptember 17th – November 17th 
Ducks, Coots, and MergansersSeptember 17th & 18th January 13th – February 17th 
BearsSeptember 7th – October 11th 

Central and northern forest areas, farmland zones, and state wildlife areas have varying rules and regulations for harvesting animals. Hunters can find additional details for their county through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


Whether a resident or a visitor to the state, Wisconsin welcomes outdoorsmen to experience white-tailed deer hunting within their bountiful fields and forests. 

The state will send you a personalized certificate — complete with a picture of you and the captured game — to honor your first deer harvest of the season. Not many states commemorate the thrill of the hunt like Wisconsin!  

Season dates will vary across the state and by county. Please visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website to learn more about specific dates, rules, and regulations.

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About the Author : Mike Slinkard

A hunter displaying his bear on rocks near a lake

Mike Slinkard is a life long bow hunter, professional archer, successful entrepreneur, and self described science geek from the rural town of John Day Oregon. Mike has spent his life in close proximity to all types of animals. His grandfather was a well known cattle and horse rancher who first instilled Mike’s keen interest in animals and why they react the way they do in different situations. Mike’s insatiable curiosity in this realm led him to team with other professionals to make the HECS discovery in 2009. Mike has hunted all over the world and has taken over 30 species with archery gear including 48 elk to date. Mike currently hosts “Hunting with HECS TV” on the Pursuit Channel. He has also written many bow hunting and archery articles as well as being a guest on many different hunting podcasts.

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