Know before you doe: DNR offers tips for CWD testing, deer harvest registration, and hunter safety

Local News

(WFRV) – As hunters get back out into the woods, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding everyone of some tips they should be doing during their hunt this year.  

Wisconsin’s famed nine-day deer season officially starts Saturday, Nov. 20, and runs through Nov. 28.

According to a release, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports, and patron licenses reached 686,320 on Nov. 19. Of that total, 327,544 are for gun privileges only.

With a mild 2020-21 winter and below-average harvests in 2019 and 2020, Wisconsin DNR says deer hunters can expect increased harvest opportunities around the state.

Stop the spread

DNR officials say they are aware of recent findings that people can spread SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in people, to white-tailed deer.

On the DNR’s website, they say there is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted to people through handling or eating wild game and explain that there are no documented cases of humans becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 from white-tailed deer, and risk is likely low.

Free CWD testing and various options are available for hunters to make an easy sample drop-off. Visit the DNR’s Sampling For Chronic Wasting Disease webpage for sample submission options and to find a CWD testing location.

Deer Harvest Registration

DNR explains all harvested deer must be registered electronically by 5 p.m. the day after the deer is recovered.

Hunters have three options to register their deer:

Want to give back to the community? Hunters can also take part in the DNR’s Deer Donation Program. In the program, venison from donated deer is processed and distributed to food pantries across the state.

Brush up on firearm safety

Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1973, must have a hunter education certification to purchase a hunting license unless hunting under the Mentored Hunting Law, explains DNR staff.

They also remind hunters to brush up on firearm safety, like the following mantra:

  • – Treat every firearm as if it is loaded
  • – Always point the muzzle in a safe direction
  • – Be certain of your target, what’s before it, and what’s beyond it
  • – Keep your finger outside your trigger guard until you are safe to shoot

To learn more about safe hunting in Wisconsin and to register to take a hunter education course, visit the DNR website here.

ATV and UTV safety

Since January 2021, DNR staff say 41 people have died in all-terrain vehicle (ATVs) and utility-terrain vehicle (UTVs) related crashes. Most of the incidents involved people not wearing a helmet or seat belt. In 2020, there were 38 fatal crashes.

ATV riders at least 12 years old and born after Jan. 1, 1988, must complete a course before operating an ATV on public trails and areas in Wisconsin, reminds the DNR. They add that UTV operators must be at least 16-years-old.  To complete a course, you can find more information here.

DNR officials give the following tips for driving safe this season:

  • Don’t drink and ride.
  • Slow down.
  • Some terrain in Wisconsin is too steep for ATV/UTVs. Traverse hills with caution.
  • Display registration ID number on a rear plate for all ATVs and UTVs registered for public use.
  • Always wear a Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmet. Hunters are more likely to come across low hanging branches or uneven terrain. Serious injuries and death can occur even at low speeds.
  • Just as with other vehicles, long guns and bows/crossbows must be fully unloaded before transporting them in or on an ATV or UTV.
  • Do not operate in or around waterways or wetlands. ATVs and UTVs are only allowed to cross waterways at bridges, roads or legal fords. Machine use in these areas is illegal and causes serious habitat damage that is very costly to repair.

DNR reminds hunters that they should also remove mud, dirt, and any vegetation from their vehicles before traveling to help stop the spread of invasive plant species or seeds that are harmful to local habitats.

There’s an app for that

The DNR also has an app for everything Wisconsin hunters need in the field – from property boundaries and electronic regulations to chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling and deer carcass disposal locations. You can find more information here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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