MADISON — After a successful 2014 pilot program, deer and bear hunters in Wisconsin will be able to electronically register their harvest during 2015 hunting seasons.
Electronic registration will provide additional convenience and reduced cost for hunters and will also give the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources instantaneous access to harvest data. Electronic registration is currently in use for Wisconsin’s turkey and goose hunting seasons, and agencies in other states have reported high hunter satisfaction through electronic registration for deer and other big game.
While walk-in registration was the only option available for many hunters in the past, all deer and bear will be registered electronically in 2015. In-person registration is expected to continue to be available in many locations throughout Wisconsin, and will also use the new system.
“We are encouraging local businesses to volunteer their services as a registration station to help give hunters an opportunity to continue their traditions,” said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer ecologist. “Any business can offer registration services if they are willing to provide a phone or computer for public use, or assist a hunter with registration. We have worked with stakeholders and will continue to offer on our website a list of businesses that will offer in-person registration with the new system.”
In 2014, 14,000 hunters were selected to register deer by telephone or online and test a new electronic registration system. Those hunters registered more than 10,000 deer electronically during the archery, crossbow, muzzleloader, and gun deer seasons.
“We received feedback from a number of hunters, and overall, most users found both the telephone and online systems easy to use and very convenient,” said Wallenfang. “We’ve used many of their suggestions to make our system even more user-friendly in 2015.”
Improvements for the 2015 deer season include a shortened and much simpler carcass tag confirmation number. In addition, a more efficient keypad-based phone menu will replace the voice-activated system used in 2014. With help from Wisconsin hunters, the electronic registration process has been further streamlined to allow hunters to register their deer with ease.
According to Dave MacFarland, DNR bear ecologist, while bear hunters will also be required to use electronic registration, they will still need to submit a tooth from a harvested bear.
“While the transition to electronic registration will provide some unique challenges, we hope to make it as simple as possible for hunters,” said MacFarland. “Historically, we have seen nearly 100 percent compliance in the submission of bear samples–continued partnerships with Wisconsin’s bear hunters will help keep this track record of success going under the new registration system.”
Hunters who successfully drew a bear permit in 2015 will receive further instructions and sampling materials by mail this summer.
To register electronically, hunters will simply need to go online or call the registration system and provide the same basic harvest information as in the past. Upon successful registration, each hunter will receive a confirmation number – this will need to be written on the carcass tag attached to the animal.
Both deer and bear hunters will be required to register their animal by 5 p.m. the day after harvest. Regardless of the method used, registration for both deer and bear remains mandatory for all hunters.
People who would like to receive email updates and other information regarding deer and bear hunting and season structure in Wisconsin, can go to the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page for “subscribe for updates for DNR topics.” Follow the prompts and select “white-tailed deer” or “black bear” within the “hunting” list.
For more information regarding deer and bear hunting in Wisconsin, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords “deer” and “bear” respectively. To learn more about electronic registration, search keywords “electronic registration.”