Grant

On the hunt! Grant Cook of Amery shot this 10-point buck during his 2018 hunt. Cook is gearing up for repeat success with his 2019 hunt. See the hunting preview on page 2.

For some deer hunters it is tall tale season, but for all it is White Tail rifle season. The traditional nine-day gun deer season opens annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. In 2019, the hunt occurs Nov. 23 to Dec. 1.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said 2019 Wisconsin deer hunting seasons are shaping up to be excellent. 

There is an estimated 1.8 million deer on the landscape statewide. The addition of more and longer hunting times, along with an abundance of antlerless harvest hunts, makes for greater opportunities for those on the pursuit of a ten-point-buck.

Speaking of those points, just how are they counted? The most commonly used scoring system for giving recognition to exceptional North American big-game animals is the Boone and Crockett (B&C) system. 

Avid hunters have always recorded the sizes and measurements of racks on the deer they killed. This helped them remember how big the animals were and compare them to bucks shot by others. But without one universal way to measure and tally rack sizes, many hunters argued which bucks truly were the biggest.

The B &C Club is a nonprofit organization of big-game hunters founded in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt. In 1949, B&C committee members took on the task of creating a comprehensive, equitable and objective measurement system intended to give recognition to exceptional North American big game animals. Their efforts resulted in the Boone and Crockett scoring system. 

Points are determined on each antler by counting. A point must be at least 1-inch long to be considered a true point. Measure the antlers from tip to tip to determine the spread. Start at the inside of the left main beam and measure to the inside of the right main beam.

There are plenty of antlers to be counted this season, along with a great number of Does. Despite some areas of deep snow and cold temperatures across northern areas of the state, Wisconsin’s winter didn’t really settle in until late January in 2019. While some winter losses are experienced every year, the DNR does not feel they were not known to be significant, making the 2019 fall outlook excellent. 

According to the DNR, for the first time in 10 years, no deer management unit will be restricted to buck-only deer seasons, and even the far northern counties have at least some limited antlerless hunting opportunities. County Deer Advisory Councils (CDACs), in the Farmland Zones especially, are struggling to bring deer populations down to socially and biologically acceptable levels. Many counties have made multiple antlerless harvest authorizations available, including them with each deer-hunting license. 

Many hunters have a secret or lucky spot for finding their prized deer. Groups may hunker down at deer camp or a hunter may have a stand set up on their own land. If you are looking for a hunting location, there are various sources to use. The Hunt Wild Wisconsin app is one way. According to the DNR, the Hunt Wild Wisconsin mobile app has everything hunters need, all in one place so they can focus on what’s really important – enjoying the Wisconsin outdoors. Search “Hunt Wild Wisconsin” in the iTunes app store or Goolge’s Play store on your mobile device.

Another options is a Public Access Lands Atlas. Those in search of public grounds this fall are reminded to check out the DNR Public Access Lands atlas. The atlas includes all DNR properties, as well as nearly all federal and county-owned lands. Hunters are reminded to contact landowners beforehand to verify that hunting is allowed on a given property. You can download and print these maps free of charge.

If you are looking for more information on the 2019 deer-hunting season, visit dnr.wi.gov, keyword “deer.” Hunters are encouraged to check out the Frequently Asked Questions for additional information where documents provide brief responses to a wide variety of deer hunting questions, ranging from Deer Management Unit boundaries to antlerless deer harvest authorizations.

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