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MADISON – The close of the nine-day gun deer season also signals the opening of the 10-day muzzleloader deer season that runs from Nov. 26 through Dec. 5. The muzzleloader season is statewide with the exception of most state parks. New laws opening state parks to hunting and trapping including deer hunting won’t be in effect until after Jan. 1, 2013.
Like the nine-day gun deer season, this year’s version of the muzzleloader season opens on the earliest possible calendar date.
“The muzzleloader season is generally far more relaxed and considerably less crowded,” said Kevin Wallenfang, big game ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources. “The gun deer season crowds are gone, so it’s a much quieter time in the woods that many hunters find enjoyable and the deer start getting back to their normal movement patterns.”
New this year, hunters have the option of using a muzzleloader, a bow and arrow or a crossbow during this season. Muzzleloading firearms are still the only firearms that may be used during the 10-day muzzleloader season.
Following the muzzleloader hunt is a four-day antlerless deer hunt running Dec. 6-9 statewide except in state parks and in Menominee County.
There is also an ongoing gun deer hunting season through Dec. 9 in designated metropolitan, or metro, units due to higher deer populations near some urban areas. Check the current deer hunting regulations for details.
Blaze orange clothing required
Late archery deer season and small game seasons are still in play during the muzzleloader and late antlerless gun deer seasons which means archers and small game hunters must follow blaze orange clothing requirements through Dec. 9. Waterfowl hunters are exempt from the blaze orange requirements.
DNR License sales officials say there are unit-specific antlerless deer tags still available for some regular units for $12 each. Antlerless deer tags for units designated as Herd Control units are also still available for $2 each.
Visit the DNR web site at dnr.wi.gov and search for “deer hunting” for details on license requirements, permit availability, bag limits and harvest rules. For additional questions call the toll free 1-888-WDNR-INFo (888-936-7463) line for answers. The line is staffed 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days per week.