Fallen leaves, colder weather, and maybe even some snow, are signs that Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season, which runs Nov. 23 through Dec. 1, is here.
For folks who grew up deer hunting with their families, this is part of our heritage. Sure, we all hope we get that elusive big buck. But most of all, we enjoy this time out in the woods together, passing this tradition on to the next generation.
I encourage hunters to share this tradition with our youth through Wisconsin’s mentored hunting law. This program allows anyone 10 or older, born on or after Jan. 1, 1973, to hunt with a mentor under strict guidelines. The mentor must be older than 18, the hunter’s parent or guardian, or have permission of the hunter’s parent or guardian to act as a mentor for hunters younger than 18. The mentor must remain within arm’s length of the hunter and only one firearm, bow, or crossbow can be used jointly between them.
Something new this year to commemorate a first deer harvest is the First Harvest Certificate. Just go to the Department of Natural Resource’s website, tell your hunting story, and the DNR will send the certificate free of charge.
One of the most important parts of preparing for the hunt is making sense of the deer hunting regulations. Nobody wants to meet a DNR warden because he or she didn’t take the time to read the rules. Everything you need to know about deer hunting in Wisconsin is available on the DNR’s website. The DNR’s toll-free customer service line, 1-888-936-7463, also can help answer your questions.
Last year, Wisconsin recorded a total of 28 hunting-related firearm injuries with four fatalities. There were three major causes for these incidents: failure to positively identify targets, victim out of sight of the shooter and victim covered by shooter swinging on game.
Even though incidents are historically on the decline, any incident is one too many, so please be mindful of your safety and the safety of others. Know where your hunting partners are at all times, have a safe zone of fire and a safe backstop, and know your target.
Good luck and have a safe, enjoyable hunt. I look forward to hearing your stories and seeing your deer camp pictures.