Cooler evening temperatures are a signal to many bow hunters that the Sept. 15 opening of Wisconsin’s archery deer season is just around the corner.

“What a great time of year,” says Kevin Wallenfang, the states big game ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources and ardent bow hunter. “For those of us who love to bow hunt, it’s like Christmas eve. The greatest time of year is almost here!”

Wallenfang is enthusiastic about the prospect for bow hunters this fall, saying with good conditions, hunters can hope to see plenty of deer in most areas of the state. Archers shot the third all-time highest number of bucks last year, which he says, could mean this will also be a very good year.

“In general, the past couple of years have had conservative antlerless quotas in the north to allow herds to increase, and there are good numbers of deer in most farmland areas as well,” he said. “Combine that with one of the mildest winters on record and good fawn production this spring, everything should add up to give bow hunters a great season.”

Many archers in the CWD management zone will be pleased to see the absence of a four-day October gun hunt, which has been the norm in recent years, but will not take place this year. The only interruption of the archery season will be a two-day statewide youth hunt Oct. 6-7.

Wallenfang also stresses that all properties are not created equal and that deer are not evenly distributed through a deer management unit.

“Doing your homework, as always, is important,” he says.

The 2012 archery deer season runs from Saturday, Sept. 15, through Thursday, Nov. 15 and then from Saturday, Nov. 17, the start of the gun season, through Jan. 6, a Sunday.

Archery deer hunters will again be allowed to hunt during the regular nine-day gun deer hunt in November, and new this year, they will be able to fill a gun license deer tag with a bow or crossbow during the gun deer seasons. During the gun deer season, bow hunters will be required to follow the same blaze orange clothing regulations as gun hunters.

As always, there is be no deer hunting of any kind on the Friday preceding the gun deer hunt. This single day separates the early and late bow deer seasons.

There were 255,423 licensed archery hunters in 2011 who harvested a total of 90,200 deer, up from 254,014 archery hunters who harvested 83,833 deer in 2010.

Wallenfang wished all of Wisconsin’s bow hunters a safe and fulfilling season. “Wisconsin is one of the best states in the country to bow hunt deer. Be safe in your stand, wear a harness, and enjoy

More information about deer hunting in Wisconsin is available on the DNR website.

Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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