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DNR releases fall deer hunting forecast

The 2020 Wisconsin deer hunting season will provide excellent hunting possibilities, quality time with family and friends, and the opportunity to secure tasty venison for the dinner table. Wisconsin continues to be a national leader in record book entries for the size of bucks, and there are ample opportunities to see and harvest deer in most of areas of the state. With over seven million acres of land open to public access in a wide range of habitats, there are endless ways to explore the hunting adventures waiting for you this fall.

Despite some far northern areas with prolonged deep snow over the past winter, average cold season temperatures across the state were warmer than normal, resulting in moderate conditions in most northern counties. While some winter losses are experienced every year, they were not known to be significant this past winter. Population objectives in most northern deer management units are to increase deer numbers. In order to achieve those objectives, three northern units will see buck-only deer seasons, and the remaining northern units will provide at least some limited antlerless hunting opportunities.

The farmland areas of the state saw a relatively mild winter overall despite short periods of snow and cold, and the effects of winter are not expected to negatively impact the herd. Excellent deer hunting opportunities can be found in the farmland areas of the state, although the land in this area is more privately owned. Gaining access to private land for deer hunting can be a challenge.

The DNR and County Deer Advisory Councils (CDACs) recognize the continued challenge of managing the deer herd at socially and biologically acceptable levels in some units.

Many farmland units have multiple antlerless harvest authorizations included with each deer hunting license and offer an antlerless-only holiday hunt. In addition, hunters, landowners and farmers have programs available to provide site-specific deer management assistance and deer hunting opportunities where most needed.

For a complete overview of all deer hunting rules including changes for this season, check the 2020 Wisconsin Hunting Regulations available online or at hunting license vendors.

New for 2020

A total of 32 counties will offer the Dec. 24 to Jan. 1 antlerless-only Holiday Hunt.

The archery and crossbow deer seasons have been extended in several deer management units and will close Jan. 31, 2021. Baiting and feeding regulations have changed in select counties.

The archery and crossbow seasons run concurrently from Sept. 12 to Jan. 3, 2021. Seasons have also been extended through Jan. 31 in 26 counties including: Brown, Buffalo, Crawford, Dane, Door, Eau Claire, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau (Farmland Zone portion), Kewaunee, La Crosse, Lafayette, Milwaukee, Oconto (Farmland Zone portion), Outagamie, Ozaukee, Pepin, Pierce, Richland, Sauk, Sheboygan, Vernon, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha. The archery/ crossbow seasons in all metro subunits also run through Jan. 31, 2021.