Both the regular archery/crossbow and cantonment archery seasons begin at Fort McCoy Saturday Sept. 15 at the same time as the opening of the Wisconsin archery season.
The seasons run from Sept. 15 to Nov. 15 and Nov. 26 to Jan. 6, 2019.
“There’s always a break in the archery season for the gun-deer season, which is Nov. 17-25 this year,” said wildlife biologist David Beckmann with the Natural Resources Branch of the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division. “New for 2018, cantonment archery permit holders are allowed to hunt in the cantonment area during the nine-day gun-deer season. The regular archery hunting season remains closed.”
The installation awarded tags to 165 archers for the cantonment archery season, Beckmann said. Each was awarded two antlerless tags.
Cantonment archery rules are different than for regular archery/crossbow hunters, Beckmann said. For example, crossbows are not allowed to be used for cantonment archery − just regular compound or recurve bows are allowed.
Also, if archery hunters were selected for a cantonment archery tag and also want to be able to hunt areas outside of the cantonment area, they will have to purchase a separate Fort McCoy regular archery tag.
“The Fort McCoy regular archery permits are not part of a drawing like the cantonment archery and gun-deer licenses are,” Beckmann said. “Cantonment archery tags are for cantonment archery only, so if you want to archery hunt outside the cantonment area, you will have to purchase that separate regular archery permit.”
A Fort McCoy archery permit and a DNR bow or crossbow hunting license are required to hunt on Fort McCoy for regular archery/crossbow, Beckmann said. Harvest is limited to one deer (antlered or antlerless) with the appropriate DNR deer harvest authorization.
For cantonment archery hunters, an antlered deer can be harvested only after two antlerless deer or spike buck deer have been harvested, Beckmann said. The Earn-A-Buck authorization will be issued through the Permit Sales Office after confirmation through DNR registration that the initial two deer have been harvested in the cantonment area. Any antlered deer harvested must be registered using the DNR archery buck harvest authorization.
Beckmann said archery hunters also must remember that when hunting with both bow and crossbow, they must have the appropriate Wisconsin bow/crossbow license upgrade.
“The upgrade allows for use of either; otherwise, you have to choose between just using a bow or just using a crossbow,” he said.
Regular Wisconsin archery licenses are $24 for resident archery and $24 for resident crossbow. An upgrade on either license is $3. The Fort McCoy regular archery/crossbow permit is $17, and the cantonment archery permit is $13. Fort McCoy also offers an archery antlerless bonus tag for $12.
People with questions on licensing requirements for Fort McCoy can get answers by visiting the Fort McCoy i-Sportsman website or by calling the Permit Sales Office at 608-388-3337. For Wisconsin archery rules and regulations, visit dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/wm/WM0431.pdf.
Beckmann said that annually approximately 800 archery permits are purchased for Fort McCoy, and hunters have had a success rate of about 20 percent. He said the deer numbers for the 2018 seasons look good.
“Our deer populations look really healthy,” Beckmann said. “Fawn births were good this year, and we’ll know even more after we complete some surveys by early October. Hunters should have plenty of opportunities available.”
The installation is averaging more than 30 deer per square mile at the start of the archery season, which Beckmann said bodes well for hunters. “We wish them the best success possible,” he said.
Hunters are also reminded that use of any tree stands or blinds must be temporary, and they must be taken down each day. Also, if hunters succeed in harvesting a deer, that deer must be registered with the DNR, which can be done online through the DNR Go Wild website.
Fort McCoy offers hunting, fishing, and trapping opportunities to military (active and retired) and their dependents, government employees and the general public. Revenue generated from the sale of hunting, fishing, and trapping permits is used for the management of fish and wildlife habitat and populations on Fort McCoy.