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MADISON – With bonus antlerless permit sales and archery and crossbow seasons just around the corner, license sales have begun to increase. Crossbow hunters are reminded that they will need to purchase a different license than in previous years.
New laws have established two kinds of deer hunting licenses applicable to archery and crossbow seasons. A crossbow license will allow hunting deer and small game with a crossbow. An archer license will only allow hunting with what is typically considered archery gear – a bow drawn and held through the effort of the person releasing it (this excludes crossbows). Under the new law, those who wish to hunt with a crossbow must purchase a crossbow license.
“In the past, hunters age 65 or older and those with permits for hunters with disabilities could hunt with a crossbow after purchasing an archer license,” said DNR wildlife regulation policy specialist Scott Loomans. “Under the new law, they will need to purchase a crossbow hunting license. We want to remind people of this change and make sure they buy the right license.”
Hunters may also purchase a crossbow/archer upgrade in addition to a single crossbow or archer license. This reduced price license option will allow hunters to hunt with both a bow and crossbow, but will not include an extra set of tags. Conservation patron licenses include an archer and crossbow license.
“People do ask us why there are separate license types,” said DNR lands division administrator Kurt Thiede. “It was a compromise reached between people who were interested in allowing more crossbow use and those who wanted to move forward a bit more slowly with the new opportunity. The department will be sure to evaluate the crossbow season, talk to hunters, and make sure folks are satisfied with how things are going.”
Crossbow licenses are currently on sale through dnr.wi.gov, keyword “license,” or at participating license sales locations throughout Wisconsin.
Hunters are encouraged to check out the frequently asked questions page for more information regarding rule changes. The FAQ feature provides brief responses to a wide variety of deer hunting questions, ranging from deer management unit boundaries to antlerless permits. To view the FAQ page, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “deer.”
Those interested in receiving email updates regarding crossbow deer hunting can sign up to receive occasional email reminders about season dates, regulations and other important information. Visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page for “subscribe for updates for DNR topics,” then follow the prompts and select the “Crossbow Deer Hunting” distribution list.