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Fall bow hunting extends through Wisconsin gun season

From Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

-- Wisconsin's archery deer hunt opening Sept. 17 will be the longest bow deer hunt in state history.

For the first time, bow hunting will be allowed during the regular nine-day gun deer hunt in November.

As before, there will be no deer hunting on the Friday preceding the gun deer hunt. This single day will now separate the early and late bow deer seasons.

The 2011 archery deer season runs from Sept. 17 through Nov. 17 and from the start of the gun season Nov. 19 through Jan. 8.

During the gun deer season, bow hunters will be required to follow the same blaze orange clothing regulations as gun hunters.

Another piece of welcome news for many bow hunters is the absence of any October gun deer hunts outside the Chronic Wasting Disease management zone in south central Wisconsin. The four-day, antlerless only gun deer hunt occurs Oct. 13 through 16 this year in the disease management zone.

With warm temperatures and insect activity in mid September, many archers are less enthusiastic about opening day and the season begins with much less fanfare than the annual gun deer hunt. But as summer fades into fall, the number of bow hunters in the field will grow dramatically.

In 1966 about 85,000 licensed archery hunters took just under 6,000 deer. In 2010, the number of bow hunters had swelled to 260,000, and they harvested 87,000 deer, 36 percent as many deer as taken by gun hunters in the previous year. The 2010 bow buck harvest was the third highest on record.

Changes of interest to bow hunters this year:

* Most hunters are not allowed to hunt antlerless deer in eight regular, buck-only deer management units, primarily in northern and northeast Wisconsin. Archery and gun antlerless deer carcass tags are not valid in units 3, 7, 29B, 34, 35, 39, 44 and 45. No bonus antlerless tags will be available in these units. There are exceptions for members of the Armed Forces, for holders of certain disabled hunter permits and for youths ages 10-17.

* In the CWD-MZ, the Earn-A-Buck requirements do not apply when using a Gun Buck Deer Carcass Tag or when using an Archery Buck Deer Carcass Tag. All other buck deer harvest in the CWD-MZ and tagged with any other tag must follow EAB rules.

* Beginning in 2011, all youth ages 10-17 will automatically be issued a free antlerless deer carcass tag when they purchase a gun deer license. This tag is valid for one antlerless deer in any DMU during any open deer season with the appropriate license and corresponding weapon. This tag is issued along with the youthís gun deer license through any license agent, and may also be filled in any DMU statewide during the archery season with legal archery gear if the person also holds a valid archery license. Antlerless deer carcass tags are no longer issued to now Hunter Education Class graduates.

* Whole deer carcasses and certain parts of those carcasses may be transported outside of the CWD-MZ and its adjacent DMUs if the carcass or parts are transported to a licensed taxidermist or licensed meat processor within 72 hours of registration.

* The DNR will mail a 2011 Buck Authorization Sticker to hunters who harvest a CWD-positive buck. Hunters who harvested a CWD-positive buck last year and did not receive a 2010-2011 Buck Authorization Sticker in the mail, can notify the DNR at (888) 936-7463.

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