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Many hunters miss the old registration stations

Many hunters miss the old registration stations Many hunters miss the old registration stations

In the discussion about the gun deer harvest this past year, I stumbled across a sentiment that hunters feel certain other hunters are not registering deer under the new system. And we talked about why the DNR didn’t feel that was the case. The department feels that there always was a group of hunters who tried, some desperately, not to register their deer.

“Once they got that untagged deer home, they figured they had it made and could shoot another one and keep using the tag,” one hunter told me. “They used to brag about doing during breaks at work.”

We all know of someone who did this. It’s easier to do on your own land, right behind your house. Funny thing is, not a lot of those telling tales ever shot those deer behind their own house. And, as other hunters told me in these discussions, “it’s easier now, no real tag to validate, and it doesn’t matter if you get stopped.”

“One guy that I know that always played the tag game doesn’t hunt much anymore, but he said if you do get checked now you know you have to register that deer,” my incredulous acquaintance said. “So you know he or his grown kids have done it.”

“I have a friend that shot a deer last year on opening day,” another guy told me. “He doesn’t have signal where he hunts and got home and forgot about registering the deer until Monday evening when he went to cut it up. He was afraid if he registered it late the DNR might give him a fine for failing to register on time, so he cut it up and put it in the freezer fast.”

I’ve had guys call me about what to do in this situation, usually like at 0700 the day after the deer was supposed to be registered. My advice is always: first, just register it. That shows it was a simple mistake of forgetting because you got distracted. Those who have done this have never heard anything more of it. I also tell them to call either their local warden or the tip line, tell them you screwed up and forgot and ask them what to do. I made that call for a good friend to a warden friend of mine and he said he couldn’t speak for the warden in that district, but he would just register it. Not registering it is where you can get into trouble. But what I stumbled upon was best put into words by a friend who, when he’s not caring for his wife’s horses now, he still fishes musky and hunts mature whitetail bucks at a high level. “It’s almost like we lost part of our hunting culture with the loss of registration stations,” said Ben Bain. “There was always that excitement when you registered your deer and getting to see the other deer that were being registered. A lot of the places had pictures of the bucks that were registered and most hunters looked at all of them. It kind of kept you excited about getting out there again the next day.”

And a lot of the other hunters I spoke with also said they missed the registration stations for the same reason. They also agreed with Bain that it must not be that great for business for the places that used to register deer.

“I always saw hunters buy a snack, can of pop, or a case of beer at the place we registered our deer,” stated Bain.

“We registered ours at a tavern,” said another guy. “The whole crew would always go in and order a burger and beer when we registered deer. If we didn’t have a deer to register we didn’t stop.”

I had to agree with Ben, like the others I mentioned this too did. The loss of the back tag bothers some hunters; others enjoy not having to worry about it. But the loss of the registration stations, a place for hunters to gather — that has been a loss to our culture for gun season. There were a lot of recommendations on how those businesses could get hunters to still bring their deer in. But how does a C-Store in Mellen get the word out to a group of hunters from Fond Du Lac?

But more importantly I would like to wish you all Merry Christmas and safe travels to and fro.