Deer hunting in Wisconsin is an ingrained part of the culture throughout the entire state. It’s also a rite of passage for newcomers to the fold. One thing is for sure, there are plenty of deer in Wisconsin so hunting is always good business.
Whitetail is the most popular and most heavily populated of the deer species local to the state. Currently, there are around 1,500,000 whitetail spread throughout the state, and the population is increasing yearly.
Wisconsin also happens to be one of the most friendly and open states when it comes to deer hunting. The state knows and understands its own roots and is more than willing to cater to a constituency that loves the thrill of hunting and eating venison.
Best Places to Hunt Deer in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is divided into four zones—Northern Forest Zone 1, Central Farmland Zone 2, Central Forest Zone 1, and Southern Farmland Zone 2. Basically, the hunting opportunities in Wisconsin revolve around forests or farmland.
Wisconsin’s Driftless Area
It may sound like some sort of nuclear wasteland in a science fiction novel, but the Driftless Area is home to some of the best deer hunting in the state.
Hunting areas that are the most popular inside the Driftless Area (which is basically a bunch of glaciers melded together, forming the land) are the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, the
Coon Creek Fishery Area, and the public hunting lands within the zone.
While the name may confuse you as to what the area is about, this is arguably the best area in Wisconsin for deer hunting. In fact, Boone & Crocket lists Buffalo County as the number one spot in the entire country for trophy bucks.
Another place that’s frequently listed in Boone & Crocket, Trempealeau County contains the Borst Valley Wildlife Area, which is world-famous for whitetail hunting. It’s not the prettiest of areas in the world, home to a lot of marshy areas, but it is a deer hunting haven.
If you miss any one of these areas, pull up a list of all the counties in Wisconsin, place your finger on one of them at random, and you will probably bag a buck there. Wisconsin is a great state for whitetail deer hunting, and you will have a high rate of success no matter where you decide to set up a blind or a tree stand.
Wisconsin Hunting Licenses
Another thing that makes Wisconsin one of the best states in the Union for hunting is how easy it is to get a license and how affordable. You won’t have to take out a second mortgage on your home or sell a kidney on the black market to afford an annual deer hunting license.
- Deer hunting (gun): $24
- Deer hunting (Bow): $24
- Deer hunting (Crossbow): $24
- Deer hunting (Junior Gun): $20
- Deer hunter (Junior Bow): $20
- Deer hunter (Junior Crossbow): $20
For kids under the age of 12, guns, bows, or crossbow hunting licenses are only $7. For non-residents, a hunting license for the year will run $160, regardless of the type. The rest are considered non-resident students and they only have to pay $24 for any type of deer hunting.
Like most states, Wisconsin splits all of its hunting licenses based on the animal, with a separate license for deer, turkey, bear, goose, wolf, fishing, and waterfowl. The rest of the licenses pertain to trapping and you can’t trap deer.
It’s hard to nail down exact dates because they are subject to change from time to time. In Wisconsin, it gets a whole lot colder much sooner than in southern states, which alters the rut and gestation periods a little.
In Wisconsin, archery and crossbow seasons start around the middle of September and last until the end of the first week in January. Gun dates open based on the status of certain citizens. For instance, hunters with disabilities start their season in early October.
The same is true for the youth deer hunts, which also start in early October. All other hunters have to wait until the middle of November if they want to hunt whitetail with a gun. Muzzleloaders have a separate start date which usually begins at the tail end of November.
Gun hunting runs through close to the end of November, with muzzleloading going through the first week of December.
Deer hunting in Wisconsin is hugely popular, and the state is open and friendly to deer hunters every time the season rolls around. Wisconsin has affordable prices for annual hunting licenses as well, especially if you are disabled or elderly.
Wisconsin also happens to be one of the best states in the country for whitetail deer hunting and holds two of the top spots in the nation, according to Boone & Crockett. There is probably no better place to hunt. If you’re out of state, it may be worth the extra expense for a Wisconsin hunting license.