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Archery and crossbow deer season starts Saturday in Wisconsin


The Bow Deer Season in Wisconsin starts Saturday.

As hunters prepare to hit the woods, the Wisconsin DNR shares some important reminders.

Where you hunt in the state will likely play a role in how successful your deer hunt is this season.

DNR Deer Program Specialist Jeff Pritzl says estimates put the overwinter deer population about 7% larger than the same time last year.

While the deer herd is growing, parts of the state, like in the Northwest, that had a harsher winter might not see that growth.

“There are a few counties in the far northwest part of the state that may see some impacts to their deer population and prospects for this fall, but that should be pretty minimal. In general, it should be as least as good as it was last year, if not better,” said Pritzl.

As we get into the bow season, the DNR is stressing tree-stand safety for hunters.

A 2015 study found falls from elevated hunting platforms have replaced firearm accidents as the largest source of hunting-related injuries and deaths in the United States.

“We always encourage hunters, when they're getting out there to inspect their stands, make sure they still function well, that the straps are good. Obviously anytime a hunter is going up or down a tree or sitting, make sure to wear that full body safety harness, definitely going to keep you safe out there,” said Mike Weber, the hunter education administrator for the DNR. “When you're going up and down a tree, make sure to always use a safety line so you're always connected to the tree. And then always ensure to have three points of contact as well when going up and down.”

The bow season starts Saturday and will run through early January.

As deer hunting season begins, the Wisconsin DNR is once again urging hunters to help with Chronic Wasting Disease findings.

Cases of C-W-D have been found in wild deer in more than 40 counties in the state.

Locally that includes Vilas, Oneida, Lincoln, and Langlade Counties.

The most common way the DNR finds cases of CWD is from hunters submitting their kills for testing.

“For the 2023 upcoming season, we estimate that we may sample around 19,500 deer this year. Our surveillance plan for the year does still focus in continuing sampling in the southern part of the state as well as some of our central Wisconsin counties that have had the majority of our positive detections. We also have surveillance areas statewide around wild and farm-raised CWD positive detections as well,” said Erin Larson, the DNR’s Deer Herd Health Specialist.

There are sampling drop-off sites throughout the state.

Larson also reminds hunters to check baiting and feeding bans where they plan to hunt.

It’s currently prohibited in more than 50 counties.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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