The archery season for whitetail deer in Wisconsin is in full swing. At this time, there appears to be some confusion regarding the use of crossbows for this year. Following a news report last week on local television, I phoned DNR Conservation Warden Jim Jung. Jim referred me to page 22 of the 2012 Deer Hunting Regulations pamphlet. A summary of the regulations explained the following information.
Crossbows and bow and arrows may be used by any persons hunting under the authority of a gun deer license during any firearm (i.e., Gun Deer or Muzzleloader) deer season. When hunting under the authority of an Archery License, crossbows are only allowed for hunters age 65 or older and any disabled hunter with a Class A, B crossbow, or C disabled permit or a Crossbow Permit. If used while hunting deer, bows must draw a weight of 30 pounds or greater and metal broadheads must be at least 7/8 inch wide and kept sharp. Crossbows must have a minimum draw of 100 pounds, a working safety and at least 14 inches long bolts or arrows equipped with broadheads. Bows equipped with a drawback mechanism that is capable of holding the bow at full draw without the aid of a hunter are considered crossbows. These are exempt from the 100-pound requirement but must meet the 30-pound minimum draw weight. You may not possess any poison, drug or explosive-tipped arrow while hunting.
During the past several years, there have been numerous efforts to change the law such that the age to use crossbows during the archery season would be lowered. Apparently, the Wisconsin bowhunters lobby has the ability to resist this change.
While looking at the regulations pamphlet, the topic of shooting coyotes during the gun deer season in Northern Wisconsin came up. The pamphlet, on page 41, says that coyote hunting in northern Wisconsin is closed for 23 days during the regular deer season and four-day December antlerless season. A rule change is in effect that was passed after the pamphlet was printed. Coyote hunting season is open all year statewide.
The former closed season for coyotes was an effort to prevent the accidental shooting of a wolf that was mistaken for a coyote. Hunters should use caution when shooting at a coyote to make a positive identification.
This past Monday, the historic wolf season opened statewide. Thus far, we are aware of four wolves that have been killed during this season. It is my belief that the most effective method to kill a wolf will be with a trap.
We have been asked about the property formerly owned by Consolidated Paper Company. Much of this land has been gated for quite awhile. The reason for this closure is to prevent the woods roads from being rutted up. We have been told that these gates will be open for the gun deer season as well as the muzzleloader season. These road surfaces are hard and will resist damage once they freeze.
Looking through the regulations pamphlet, we saw that there are limitations for hunters using scent to attract deer. Up to two ounces of scent may be placed or used in any manner. We recommend that all deer hunters spend some time reviewing the regulations pamphlet before they enter the woods.
Several people have commented that the doe scents that are used to attract bucks have the potential to spread CWD.
Enjoy the next month-and-a-half outdoors.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors personality Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column appearing in the Star Journal.