Deer Hunting Season Forecast in Wisconsin

Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites and visiting non-residents eagerly await the arrival of the 2017 nine-day gun deer season, which runs from Nov. 18 to Nov. 26. To help prepare hunters for the 2017 Wisconsin deer hunting season, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources shares a season forecast, and tips for a successful hunt.

Nearly ten percent of Wisconsin residents take to the field for the annual hunt, along with thousands more who will participate by providing food, hotels and other services. 

The information is provided by the Wisconsin DNR. Download the full 2017 Fall Hunting & Trapping Forecast for more information.

What's New in 2017?

Zone, DMU and land type-specific antlerless permits will help more closely manage deer populations on each land type with the hope of enhancing the hunting experience on public land.

E-registration for everyone will provide fast, easy and convenient method for hunters to register their harvest. In-person options also remain available. Find a registration station near you by searching "registration stations" at

Deer Population Objectives

This year, County Deer Advisory Councils recommended population objectives (increase, decrease or maintain) for their respective counties, these will help manage each county’s deer herd on a more local scale with key input from the public.

In the Farmland Zones, most CDACs voted to maintain the deer herd. However, high deer populations led to many CDACs recommending moderate to high antlerless quotas and bonus antlerless permits – this will give hunters opportunities to harvest antlerless deer.

In the Forest Zones, most CDACs voted to increase the herd. Many Forest Zone DMUs will remain closed to antlerless deer hunting, but in 2015 some Forest Zone counties bordering the Central Farmland Zone are offering a limited number of bonus antlerless permits in recognition of higher deer numbers in these areas.

Tips for a Successful Hunt

Even with increasing deer populations in many units, hunter success during the gun season can vary based on a wide range of factors. Hunter effort, weather events, rut activity, hunting pressure, and stand site locations in addition to deer numbers can all play influential roles in whether or not individual hunters see and harvest deer.

Deer are not distributed evenly across the landscape and their movements vary greatly from one day to the next. Some hunters simply have access to better hunting and more deer. While some hunters will see lots of deer, their neighbor may struggle to even see deer for a variety of reasons.

Another step hunters can take to increase their opportunities and enjoy their season is to take advantage of more days in the field. There has been an increasing trend of hunters spending fewer days in the woods than in years past, often hunting just the opening weekend.

Although deer sightings can be fewer after opening weekend, there are still deer to be hunted and the later part of the season can be more relaxing than the high pressure of opening weekend.

Visit the Department of Natural Resources website for weekly harvest numbers and more information on planning a successful hunt.

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