Whitetail deer try to blend in with the snowy landscape on the cantonment area during a spring snow storm on April 3 at Fort McCoy. Deer are one of the many species of wildlife around the installation.

Wisconsin and Fort McCoy’s 2018 nine-day gun-deer season will be held Nov. 17-25.

In 2017, 1,336 hunters took to the woods at Fort McCoy, harvesting more than 400 deer, said wildlife program manager and biologist David Beckmann with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch. For 2018 approximately 2,000 permits were made available as well as 400 additional bonus tags.

“Our goal again this year is to have a deer harvest close to 500,” Beckmann said. “There are plenty of deer, and it should be a good hunt for all who take to the field.”

To participate in the gun-deer hunt at the installation, hunters must apply for a Fort McCoy permit through the Fort McCoy i-Sportsman site, Beckmann said. The applications for the gun-deer hunt generally become available in late June every year. Everyone who applied for a tag for this year has already been notified through i-Sportsman.

In addition, hunters coming to the installation must also have an annual Wisconsin deer license. Both the Wisconsin license and the Fort McCoy permit are sold through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources GoWild system at Hunters can create an account at the GoWild site, select the licenses they need, pay for the licenses and print them.

On Fort McCoy, DNR licenses and Fort McCoy permits can be purchased at the Pine View Campground office. Military ID card holders can also purchase them at the exchange service desk. The cost of a Fort McCoy gun-deer permit is $21, and a resident Wisconsin gun-deer license is $24.

For the 2018 gun-deer hunt, Beckmann said the biological-data collection station will be set up on South Post in the same location as previous years.

“These used to be deer-registration stations, but they are now biological-data collection stations where hunters are required to bring their harvested deer, where we collect important age and health data,” Beckmann said. “This year, we’re continuing to test for chronic wasting disease as part of a larger information-gathering effort by the DNR.”

Beckmann said the deer population overall looks good throughout the installation, including many larger bucks. In 2017, he said many large bucks were taken during the hunt.

One person who got a “deer of a lifetime” was Pete Hodges with the Fort McCoy Resource Management Office. Hodges said he was hunting on North Post on the last day of the season and harvested a large, mature 10-point buck.

“This was the first trophy Wisconsin buck for me,” Hodges said. “We are lucky that we can hunt on such a wonderful area of the country.”

Successful hunters must now register deer online with the WDNR. For more information on the process, go to

Hunters are also reminded that Fort McCoy requires all privately owned firearms brought on to the installation be registered through the Directorate of Emergency Services physical security. This includes the entirety of the federal land, including the training and housing areas. The requirement pertains to anyone with a privately owned firearm in their possession who is on Fort McCoy for any reason, including hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, shooting range events, or visiting members of the Fort McCoy community.

Firearms are required to be registered with physical security prior to entrance or immediately upon entering any lands identified as Fort McCoy property. The registration is completed by using a form provided by the DES physical security office.

The user who brings a firearm for the purpose of engaging in authorized activities onto the installation is responsible for its registration. In the case of juveniles, a parent or legal guardian over the age of 18 is responsible for firearm registration.

Firearms that are registered with physical security are entered into the Army Law Enforcement Reporting and Tracking System weapons registration module. ALERTS is utilized by and available only to Army law enforcement professionals.

Once completed, firearm registrations will be valid on Fort McCoy indefinitely unless otherwise changed by regulation. If a registrant no longer has a firearm on the registry, he or she should contact physical security to have the firearm removed from the registry.

Firearm-registration forms are available electronically via the Fort McCoy i-Sportsman website at and in hard copy at the Pine View Campground office, Visitor Control Center office in building 35, the Fort McCoy Police Department in building 1681, the Permit Sales Office in building 2168, and at the hunter sign-in building near the installation rail yard next to Highway 21.

Registration forms can be processed during normal business hours within building 35 at the Visitor Control Office or during non-duty hours at the Fort McCoy Police Department.

More information about deer hunting at Fort McCoy can be found on the i-Sportsman website at

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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