2015 Gun-Deer Season Q&A from the DNR Warden Wire
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Welcome to Warden Wire’s periodic feature FAQs: Special Edition – 2015 Gun-Deer Season. These special edition FAQs were taken by the DNR Call Center, the Department of Natural Resources’ conservation wardens and the Bureau of Wildlife Management.
What’s going on with electronic registration this year? I remember it was limited last year. Good question and thanks. Mandatory deer registration has been a requirement in Wisconsin since 1953. But this year — 2015 — marks the first full year of mandatory electronic registration for white-tailed deer and black bear. Last year, the Department of Natural Resources ran an e-registration pilot involving about 200 hunters in each county, and there were more than 10,000 deer registered electronically throughout all deer seasons. Wisconsin is using GameReg for this — a paperless method of registering wildlife harvests by phone or online. Wisconsin already has had success using GameReg for turkey and geese. We now are adding deer and bear to that list.
When and how do I e-register my deer? You have until 5 p.m. the day after the deer (or bear) was harvested to register it during all seasons — and that includes the 9-day gun-deer season. And, you have options to do the e-registration. You can do it using your phone, online or visit a business that has listed itself as a registration station. That means the business has phone and Internet access for hunters to perform their e-registrations.
How would I register by phone? Call this toll-free number (1-844-GAME-REG). You will be asked a short list of questions which takes a few minutes. The information the hunter provides will then be loaded to the system and available for department use.
How about registering online — on the Internet? Easy! Go to gamereg.wi.gov and answer the few questions. It takes less than two minutes to do this.
Will there be a smartphone app or link in the Pocket Ranger app that can take hunters to the e-registration site, and show where the registration stations are? Yes. The Pocket Ranger app will have a link to the e-registration system. You’ll also find a searchable list of walk-in registration stations on the app link. The list of registration stations also is on the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov and search the keyword ‘deer.’
What kinds of questions will I be asked when I call or go online to register my deer? Questions such as what is your customer ID number, the deer’s sex, county/deer management unit, date of harvest.
Do I have to have the deer with me if I use one of those registration stations? No, you can leave the deer hanging at camp and drive to the station without it. But you will need your hunting license. Once you return to your deer, you’ll need to write the registration confirmation number on the carcass tag to show proof of registration. Try to use a ball-point pen or a permanent marker. A gel-type pen tends to smear. And pencils don’t work well on this surface.
What happens if I get back to the deer and I don’t have a pen or a good marker to write the number, is there a way to get the number again when I do have the right marker? Sure! Just call the DNR call center at 1-888-936-7463 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. A customer service rep can get that number for you. You just have to remember the registration is not complete until the number is written on the tag.
What happens if a warden checks my registered deer? How will the warden know it is a real confirmation number? The wardens can verify your confirmation number through their phones or laptops.
Where can I find a place to hunt? A great tool for you is the Public Lands Atlas. This is an online atlas. You’ll find all the DNR properties, most federal lands and those owned by counties. The maps are downloadable to print at home. The atlas has 441 maps and contact information for the various land managers. You should contact the landowner to confirm hunting is allowed before you go to that property. You can find the online atlas by going to the DNR website at dnr.wi.gov and search this keyword in the white search box: atlas.
Can I hunt in state parks? Generally speaking, most of the state parks do have some open areas. But some do not due to their location near residential areas or environmental factors. You can check what’s allowed in each park at dnr.wi.gov, and search hunting state parks. Also, a vehicle admission sticker is required for any vehicle in a state park.
I hear about people hunting on lands in the Managed Forest Law. How do I get an OK to hunt on those areas and where are they? The Managed Forest Law and the Forest Crop Law are incentive programs for landowners who use sustainable forest methods for harvesting, wildlife management, water quality and more. When a landowner joins these programs, the landowner chooses to allow — or not to allow — public recreation on their lands. Lands that are open to public recreation are only open for hunting, fishing, hiking, sight-seeing and cross-country skiing. To find more information on approximate locations of these areas, the DNR has an online mapping tool on its website — MFL open land . You’ll see a link for “Find a forester” — use this to contact the local DNR forester who has responsibility for that area and can help you.
What is the Voluntary Public Access program and can I hunt on those lands? The Voluntary Public Access program provides financial incentives to private landowners who then open their lands to public hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife viewing. If you want to hunt on these lands, go to the DNR website and read about it — and please review the code of conduct for these properties.
How has the Pocket Ranger App changed? The Pocket Ranger App has a lot of information to help you. You can find places to hunt, rules and regs, license information, GPS mapping features and more. It is available in the Apple App Store or the Android Market on your device. It’s free.
What is new this season for antlerless permits? There are antlerless permits for specific types of lands, zones and deer management units. The reason for these permits is to more closely manage the deer populations on each land type with the hope of enhancinc the hunting experiences on public land.
What’s the bonus antlerless permit process? At the time of purchase of bonus antlerless permits, hunters are asked to pick the zone, unit and if they are hunting public or private lands. Bonus antlerless permits are sold at a rate of one per hunter per day where available. The permits will be sold until no longer available or the season closes. You can fill these permits with any legal weapon during the proper open season. Each antlerless permit costs $12 for residents, $20 for non-residents and $5 for youth hunters. Also, the antlerless-only Holiday Hunt will not be offered in 2015.
Can I use bonus buck stickers this year? No. The bonus buck authorization has been discontinued. You may not use any bonus buck stickers from previous years to tag a buck in 2015.
Are albino deer protected statewide? Yes, albino and all-white deer are protected across the state and cannot be harvested. This protection does include areas affected by chronic wasting disease.
For more on e-registration, go to dnr.wi.gov and search “deer.”
If you have information regarding natural resource violations, please call or text: VIOLATION HOTLINE: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff relay report information to conservation wardens. Anyone who calls the Violation Hotline or provides information can remain anonymous.