The regular nine-day Wisconsin gun deer season opens this Saturday, Nov. 19 and state wildlife officials are enthusiastic about the season, with the early archery and crossbow harvests ahead of last year harvest-wise and many hunters reporting increased deer numbers in many areas of the state.
There are also some major changes in store for hunters this year so if they haven't already, they should brush up on the new regulations. Search the DNR website for keyword "deer" to find a wealth of information about the new rules, including A Deer Hunt 2016 — What do you need to know factsheet and answers to frequently asked questions.
One major change is the elimination of backtags and along with that, a change to a paper registration tag that hunters can print off directly from the new "Go Wild" website. An associated change is that hunters no longer have to immediately tag their deer. They only need to affix the tag when they will no longer be in possession of the deer. Hunters can find out more on the "tag it" page of the Go Wild website. They can also watch the entire 2016 Deer Hunt Wisconsin television show produced Dan Small of Wisconsin Public Television on the DNR's You Tube channel, which includes a game registration tutorial.
There is a change in the forecast from the recently unseasonably warm weather Wisconsin has experienced, with temperatures expected to drop into the lower 30s and 40s opening weekend, with a possibility of some tracking snow in the far north.
Hunters who are successful over the weekend can share their hunting experience by posting photos to the DNR Facebook page or Twitter account using the hashtag #WIhunt2016. The photo album will be updated through opening weekend on the DNR Facebook page.
Hunters in the Flambeau River and Black River state forests are also being reminded to make sure of their target and be sure it is not an elk. This year's elk calves are about the size of a big whitetail doe.
Small game and archery hunters are reminded that blaze orange or pink is required when hunting during any gun deer season, including the muzzleloader deer season. And with the recent mild weather keeping many people active in the outdoors, visitors to state park properties should note that hunting is now open on many properties, including most state parks, so all visitors are strongly encouraged to wear blaze orange or pink.
With the approach of the gun deer season and some cooler and windy weather, there has only been a light amount of fishing pressure on waters across the Northwoods. There are still a few musky anglers out trying their luck and success has continued to be good and quite a few catches have been made, with some musky up to 46 inches being reported. There has also been a bit of fishing pressure on the managed trout lakes and success has been fair. There have been no reports of ice on any lakes or flowages and it looks like any kind of ice cover should be well after deer season.