Blaze orange is again in fashion. The days are getting cooler and the nights longer. The 2014 deer hunt most likely been planned and past hunts relived.
The annual November hunt, a Wisconsin tradition, is closing fast and the nine-day hunt is still about family, friends and fun. That remains unchanged. There have been a few rule changes for 2014 and we'd like to share some information, and, if needed, answer any questions you have so that all you need to worry about is sighting your gun.
The main change in the north this year is a return to a buck-only hunt in 19 counties: Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Florence, Forest, Iron, Jackson (central forest zone), Langlade, Lincoln, Oconto (northern forest zone), Oneida, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Vilas, Washburn and Wood.
To make sure you are clear on the changes, we want to encourage you to stop by one of our offices, give us a call, or go online.
The department has developed a short two-page summary of the 2014 rule changes that you can get by going to the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov and search "deer." You will find the summary there under the tools for your season header.
For hunters who don't have easy access to a computer, please call the toll free DNR help line at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463) and request a copy be sent to you.
You can also call that number anytime during the hunt if you have a question in the field. That number is staffed seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Starting in 2011, an extensive review was conducted of Wisconsin's deer management program. The result of this undertaking, known as the Deer Trustee Report, included over 60 recommendations designed to improve Wisconsin's deer management programs and the hunting experience. After significant effort by DNR, the public, and other partners and stakeholder groups, rule changes were made and officially went into effect this year.
The department is asking for your flexibility and understanding as we move through this first year of the new rule changes. The changes were the result of the hunting community sharing their voice on changes they would like to see.
It is up to all of us who enjoy the sport to make sure we are successful and continue to improve deer hunting in Wisconsin.
Deer in Wisconsin are a public resource. Deer, like any other wildlife don't know land ownership boundaries, or who has the right to hunt on which side of the fence.
We encourage you to be courteous and understanding of your neighboring landowners' rights, and be respectful when you interact with other hunting parties in the field. We do best for the resource and the sport, when we do best by each other. Through lawful and ethical participation, we all can benefit for seasons to come.
Keep your feet warm, and your powder dry. Hold steady. Aim straight. Good luck on a safe and successful hunt.
What you do in the dark will someday come to light.