Cooler evening temperatures are a signal to many bow hunters that the Sept. 14 opening of Wisconsin’s archery deer season is just around the corner.

“For those of us who love to bow hunt, it’s an exciting time of the year and anticipation runs high,” said Kevin Wallenfang, the big game ecologist for the state Department of Natural Resources and an ardent, enthusiastic bow hunter.

With good conditions hunters can hope to see plenty of deer in most areas of the state, said Wallenfang. Archers set an all-time record buck harvest last year, he said, including yet another new state record trophy deer shot in Fond du lac County.

“In general, during the past couple of years we’ve had conservative antlerless quotas in the north to allow herds to increase,” Wallenfang said. “As a result, I’m hearing from a lot of folks that they are seeing more deer across the north than in recent years. In addition, we continue to have good numbers of deer in most farmland areas.”

Many archers in the chronic wasting disease management zone will be pleased to see the absence of a four-day October gun hunt, which has been the norm in recent years. The only interruption of the archery season will be a two-day statewide youth hunt Oct. 5-6.

Hunters understand, Wallenfang said, that all properties are not created equal when it comes to deer abundance. Deer change their movements in response to weather, food availability and other factors and are not evenly distributed through a deer management unit. Aerial surveys often show a large number of deer in one square mile of habitat with very few deer in one of the neighboring square-mile blocks.

As always, there is no substitute for scouting and pre-season contacts with neighboring land owners, Wallenfang said.

The 2013 archery deer season runs from Saturday, Sept. 14, through Thursday, Nov. 21 and then from Saturday, Nov. 23, the start of the gun season, through Jan. 5, a Sunday. As always, there is 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.

Archery deer hunters will again be allowed to hunt during the regular nine-day gun deer hunt in November and for the second year 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 are required to follow the same blaze orange clothing regulations as gun hunters.

There were 263,852 licensed archery hunters in 2012 who harvested a total of 94,267 deer, up from 255,426 archery hunters who harvested 90,200 deer in 2011.

Wallenfang urged bow hunters to be especially careful when climbing into and out of deer stands. This is when most injuries occur.

“Things are shaping up to be another excellent year. Be safe in your stand, wear a harness, and enjoy the fall woods.”

More information is available by searching for “deer hunting” on the DNR website.

Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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