Bonus antlerless deer permits go on sale Aug. 19 in Forest Zones

A doe stands in a grassy field northwest of Shawano.

Morgan Rode | NEW Media
By: 
Ross Bielema
Leader Columnist

Just before a driving rainstorm hit my homeward-bound car Tuesday night, I thought I felt a touch of fall in the air. The temperature was starting to drop and the wind was picking up. I thought about the Scorpions’ classic tune, “Wind of Change,” and longed for those crisp fall mornings in the deer woods.

Today, I hope to help our Fox Valley Muzzleloaders Club dig out from the severe windstorm that took down many trees on our 40-acre club grounds south of New London. If I get a chance, I might put up a trail cam or two on my favorite deer trails to see what’s been prowling the woods since I last hunted there.

I’m involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and my “Little,” Troy Staerkel, of Oshkosh, is planning to deer hunt with me this year. He hasn’t killed his first deer yet, but with a little luck, he might do that this fall with a used Thompson/Center inline blackpowder rifle I picked up earlier this year at the Sun Prairie Cabela’s.

Three dandy bucks and a doe crossed the road in front of me a few days ago when I was commuting to work. I stopped a bit longer than normal to watch the eight-pointers make their way across an open field. The car approaching me from behind seemed oblivious to why I had stopped. How is it that so many people who live in our beautiful, deer-rich country seem so clueless about the nature all around them? How many car-deer accidents could be avoided with just a little more awareness?

Those of us who hunt in Shawano County, Waupaca County and surrounding counties are again going to get several antlerless deer licenses with their buck licenses. Waupaca County hunters get three free antlerless permits per archery and gun buck permit, while Shawano County hunters get six per buck permit this year.

If four, seven, eight or 14 deer licenses aren’t enough for you (depending on which county and whether you hunt during the archery, gun, or both seasons), you can purchase even more bonus antlerless tags (I know, there are no actual tagging requirements anymore) online or at DNR Service Centers and from any license vendor, starting Aug. 19 for the forest zones and Aug. 20 for the farmland zones.

You must designate which county you want to hunt in and whether you will be hunting on public or private land. The cost of these bonus licenses is $5 for hunters under age 12, $12 for residents and $20 for non-residents.

These licenses will go on sale beginning at 10 a.m. Aug. 20 for Shawano, Waupaca and other central farmland zone counties. Visit dnr.wi.gov/permits/bonusavailability.html for more details.

Shawano County has a total of 1,000 public permits and 3,900 private permits available. Waupaca County has 300 public and 5,000 private permits available.

Outagamie, Kewaunee, part of Brown and part of Oconto counties in the Central Farmland Zone all will have the antlerless-only holiday hunt this season (Dec. 24 to Jan. 1) and will extend the either-sex archery and crossbow season through Jan. 31 in an effort to harvest more deer. The county Deer Advisory Committees in Shawano, Waupaca and surrounding counties (with the just-mentioned exceptions) did not approve these additional harvest measures.

Virtually every county in the Central Farmland Zone has a goal of maintaining or decreasing the current herd size. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologists have repeatedly reported for many years that this area’s forests are not regenerating because of overbrowsing caused by too many deer.

You should have plenty of hunting opportunities this season, thanks to these generous permit supplies. Why not take a friend, neighbor or youngster hunting with you this season? Sharing our sport with newcomers will pass on our cherished hunting heritage and help achieve harvest goals as well.

Ross Bielema is a freelance writer from New London and owner of Wolf River Concealed Carry LLC. Contact him at Ross@wolfriverccw.com.