Hunter’s choice offered in 78 units
Madison Wisconsin deer hunters have quite a bit of information
to digest when applying for hunter’s choice permits this year
before the July 20 deadline.
First of all, there will be 599,700 hunter’s choice permits
available in 78 deer units that are not part of this year’s Zone T
hunt. DNR wildlife officials also are expecting all of those 78
units to have bonus tags available.
That list of 78 units does not include the state’s six metro
units, where unlimited tags are available.
Hunters do not have to apply for choice permits if they intend
to hunt exclusively in one or more of this year’s 45 Zone T units,
and are satisfied with shooting two antlerless deer with the free
tags available with their bow and gun licenses.
In addition, hunters do not have to apply for choice tags if
they intend to shoot deer in the DNR’s CWD Eradication Zone and/or
CWD Management Zone.
“We’re estimating the deer herd to be at 1.6 million animals
heading into the fall hunting seasons,” said Brad Koele, DNR
assistant deer ecologist.
The statewide over-winter goal is about 750,000 deer, so when
factoring in an average fawn crop, the desired fall deer population
should be about 1.2 million animals. That puts this year’s deer
herd about 400,000 animals above where DNR biologists would like to
see it. That means hunters will again see liberal tag offerings
“There will be quite a few hunter’s choice permits out there,
there will be a lot of bonus tags. We have 45 Zone T units and we
need deer shot in the two CWD zones,” Koele said. “Hunters should
review their options they do not have to apply for hunter’s choice
permits in the Zone T units or CWD zones.”
The CWD zones include the following units: 70, 70A, 75C, 75D,
75A, 76, 76M, 75B, 70E, 71, 73E, 54B, 70 G and 77A.
However, here’s what hunters must know about those units: five
of those units are split, meaning part of those units are not in
either CWD zone. In those areas, hunters will want to apply for
choice permits if they want to shoot antlerless deer. The CWD units
that are “split” include: 71, 73E, 54B, 70 G, 77A.
“The new CWD regulations pamphlet will be out in the next few
weeks and will outline regulations and rules in those zones,” Koele
A look at Zone T
This year, only Zone T units south of Hwy. 8 will be open for
the October and December Zone T seasons. Units north of of Hwy. 8
are only open for the October season, Koele said.
A total of 46 units will be open for a Zone T hunt that will run
Oct. 24-27. The early antlerless firearms hunt will be offered in
units: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 27, 28, 29A,
34, 35, 36, 47, 49B, 51A, 51B, 54C, 59D, 61, 62B, 63A, 63B, 65B,
66, 67A, 67B, 68A, 70A, 70E, 72, 74A, 75C, 75D, 78, 80A, 80B, and
Zone T units that will be open for just the October season
include: 27, 47, 49B, 51A, 51B, 54C, 59D, 61, 62B, 63A, 63B, 65B,
66, 67A, 67B, 68A, 70A, 70E, 72, 74A, 75C, 75D, 80A, 80B, and
Hunters must apply for hunter’s choice and bonus tags by July
20. Hunters should not apply for choice or bonus permits for Zone T
units. Hunters will be issued a free permit for each gun license
and another for each archery license. A regular gun license backtag
can be used on a buck or antlerless deer in these units.
Because July 20 is a Saturday this year, completed applications
must be postmarked no later than July 20, or dropped off at a DNR
office no later than 4:30 p.m. on July 19 to be accepted.
Hunters who miss the July 20 deadline will still be able to by
bonus permits remaining after mail-in applications are processed.
They are expected to go on sale over the counter at select DNR
offices around Sept. 9
New graduates of a hunter education course will be able to shoot
an antlerless deer during the nine-day gun deer season using their
regular gun license in most areas.
Last year, hunters shot 446,957 deer in all seasons. A
relatively mild winter didn’t cause any significant winter
mortality and managers expect strong reproduction this spring in
all regions, including the CWD management zone.
Youth deer hunt
New this year is a youth antlerless deer hunt set for Oct. 24
statewide. That date also coincides with the first day of the early
Zone T hunt, so the youth day will overlap the Zone T season.
However, youths ages 12 to 15 also will be able to shoot an
antlerless deer on that day in units that are not open to Zone T.
Youth hunters will need a regular gun deer license, and must apply
for a hunter’s choice permit, or buy a bonus permit for non-Zone T
units. New graduates of a hunter safety course can use their
certificate as a hunter’s choice permit.