Posted on

Licensing/registration reminders to keep in mind during the gun deer season

With several changes to licensing and tagging requirements in recent years for Wisconsin’s deer hunters, there is never a bad time to review those requirements.

Here are some of those key reminders to keep in mind, taken from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Frequently Asked Questions. There are no major rule changes in 2020.

_ Deer tags are now referred to as “harvest authorizations.” Antlerless deer harvest authorizations were available in all but three deer management units this year. The lone buck-only units this year are –– Forest County and the Northern Forest portions of Oconto and Marinette counties.

_ Hunters are no longer required to:

• attach a carcass tag to a deer once harvested.

• retain a deer harvest authorization with meat once the deer is registered.

• print or carry a hard copy of deer harvest authorizations while hunting.

_ However, hunters must carry proof of their license and harvest authorization(s) while hunting. Carry with you one or more of the following:

• A paper copy.

• A department-approved PDF displayed on a mobile device.

• An authenticated Wisconsin driver’s license.

• A Go Wild Conservation Card.

_ The unique deer harvest authorization number is required to register your harvest. You may access the unique harvest authorization number from the paper copy of your harvest authorization, a Go Wild PDF image of your harvest authorization saved to an electronic device or the My GameReg section of your Go Wild account.

Register your deer either online at (available 24 hours), by phone 1-844-426-3734 (1-844-GAMEREG) (also available 24 hours) or in person at a registration station that offers a phone or computer for registration. To find one, search “registration stations” at dnr.

_ Deer must be registered by 5 p.m. the day after recovery of the animal. Proper registration is imperative to provide accurate harvest data for DNR wildlife managers and County Deer Advisory Councils.

_ There is no minimum age to buy a deer hunting license. Junior deer hunters under the age of 18 will receive one buck deer harvest authorization valid statewide and one junior antlerless deer harvest authorization statewide. Youth hunters under age 18 will not need to specify a deer management unit or zone, but will need to specify land type on the antlerless deer harvest authorization. If a junior hunter buys an authorization when he/she is 17 and turns 18 during the season, the authorization is still valid.

_ Group bagging is only allowed during a firearm deer season while possessing a valid gun deer license. It is NOT allowed on junior antlerless deer harvest authorizations.

_ Know where you are hunting. The state is split between forest zones (Zone 1) and farmland zones (Zone 2). You will need to determine if you are hunting public and private land to obtain and use antlerless harvest authorizations. Most counties are their own deer management unit, but there are several exceptions. Clark and Chippewa counties have forest and farmland splits, making it even more imperative to know where you are hunting and what authorizations are needed.

_ Deer baiting and feeding are prohibited in more than half of Wisconsin’s counties, including Marathon, Lincoln, Chippewa and Eau Claire counties. For more information on where baiting and feeding are allowed, search “baiting and feeding” at

_ A person may not possess another hunter’s deer while afield, even if the deer is registered, without the harvest authorization holder being present. However, anyone can possess and transport another person’s registered deer on a public highway for purposes of transportation to, and possession at, a dwelling or a business without the harvest authorization holder being present. A dwelling includes both permanent and temporary residences, and would include hunting cabins and camp sites. This allows a person to leave their registered deer at a hunting camp, meat processor or someone else’s residence when they are not present.

_ Your registered deer can be left at any cabin or campsite and be possessed, in your absence, by someone who is not hunting. This person can also transport the deer on public highways to another residence, meat processor, etc.

_ Anyone who possesses a gun deer license can use any legal firearm, bow or crossbow to hunt deer with that license during any season open to hunting deer with a firearm. A separate bow or crossbow license does not apply.