Located between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, Wisconsin is often considered the top state in the U.S. for hunting big white-tailed deer. The northern part of the state is heavily forested, with mixed hardwood and coniferous forests interspersed with thousands of small lakes. Much of the rest of the state is rich in farmland and is the reason the state is famous for its dairy products. This geographic diversity has produced a thriving herd of over a million whitetails. In addition, Wisconsin has nearly 6 million acres of public land and sells licenses over the counter for nonresidents that are good for one buck and one doe, making the state a deer hunter’s paradise.
In addition to deer, Wisconsin offers hunting for black bears, wild turkeys, waterfowl, and upland game. Wolves were recently re-listed as endangered and are currently not huntable. The black bear population is thriving and expanding its range; in 2010, the state recorded a record harvest of 5,000 black bears. Baiting and hunting with dogs are legal; however, these methods are restricted to certain season dates. Wild turkeys were reintroduced to Wisconsin in 1976 and population levels are increasing statewide. Turkeys can be hunted in both spring and fall.
Full regulations here.
Wisconsin Deer Seasons
|Archery and Crossbow||Sept. 18-Jan. 9|
|Disabled Hunters||Oct. 2-10|
|Youth Deer||Oct. 9-10|
|Muzzleloader||Nov. 29-Dec. 8|
|December Antlerless||Dec. 9-12|
|Holiday Hunt||Dec. 24-Jan. 1|
Deer permits are required, only one deer may be harvested per permit. Because of Chronic Wasting Disease, deer harvested in disease management zones are considered “bonus bucks” and can be tagged for free. Note that disabled hunter deer seasons are not statewide, and are limited to private property sponsored by landowners. For more information on how to apply for a disabled hunter season, or to give hunters with disabilities the opportunity to hunt on your property, visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website.
Wisconsin Bear Seasons
|Zones C, E, F (No Dogs)||Sept. 8-Oct. 12|
|Dog-Permitted Zones||Sept. 8-14 (dogs only)|
Sept. 15-Oct. 5 (dogs and bait)
Sept. 6-12 (bait only)
Four bear hunting zones are available, but regulations differ by region.
Wisconsin Turkey Seasons
|Fall General Season||Zones 1-5: Sept. 18-Jan. 9|
Zones 6-7: Sept. 18-Nov. 19
**Season dates vary by zone.
Wisconsin Small Game Seasons
|Cottontail Rabbit||Northern zone: Sept. 18-Feb. 28|
Southern zone: Oct. 16-Feb. 28
Milwaukee County: Open Season
|Squirrel||Sept. 18-Jan. 31|
|Pheasant||Oct. 16-Jan. 9|
|Quail||Oct. 16-Dec. 8|
|Ruffed Grouse||Zone A: Sept. 18-Jan. 9|
Zone B: Oct. 16-Dec. 8
|Hungarian Partridge||Oct. 16-Jan. 9**|
Hunting may be limited or closed to specific counties.