Wisconsin bow deer hunting season opens Saturday

Local hunters prepare for opening weekend.

It’s been a busy week of preparation for local deer hunters as they put the final touches on their equipment for opening bow season.

It starts on Saturday, but as you head out to the woods, there are some rule changes to keep in mind this year.

For many years, the only hunters allowed to use a crossbow during bow season were hunters with disabilities and those over 65 years old. Now every licensed hunter can use a crossbow, which is easier to use, giving even more people the opportunity to enjoy the sport.

Although it may be a little more crowded this year, one dad said he can’t wait to get out in the woods.

“I look forward to it pretty much when the season closes,” said Chet Kirschbaum.

Kirschbaum is getting ready for a busy weekend.

“I’m just shooting my bow to just get some practice. Try to get everything set up and try to have it perfect for Saturday,” said Kirschbaum.

Bright and early Saturday morning, Kirschbaum and his three daughters will head out to the woods for opening bow hunting season.

“They pop right out of bed, generally they like to sleep in, but when it’s hunting they want to go,” said Kirschbaum.

Although Kirschbaum and his girls haven’t had the best of luck out in the woods, a wildlife biologist suggests maybe this year will be different.

“Our deer population seems to have handled the severe winter a lot better than the northern deer populations, so I am expecting numbers to be very similar to last year or maybe a little higher than last year,” said Ron Lichtie, a wildlife biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

With a good hunt expected, there are other changes hunters need to keep in mind this time around.

“We have five different zones, so knowing what zone you are in, either the central farmland, the central forest or the southern farmland as it relates to the western district over here in Wisconsin would be good to know because there are different regulations,” said Lichtie

Understanding the new rules is only part of the safety measures that should be taken.

“It’s no different with any other weapon but at least understanding how your equipment is shooting in different situations,” said Anthony Schmidt, asst. vice president of La Crosse Archery. “Shooting off the ground or out of a tree stand at a downward angle will cause you bow and equipment to shoot differently.”

Plus, now that everyone is allowed to use a crossbow, you may need to keep your eye out for more than just the 30-point-buck.

Just a reminder, everyone out in the woods this weekend does need a hunting license.

If you choose to use a crossbow, you do need to purchase a license specifically for crossbow. It is the same price as the normal archery license, which is $24.

If you would like more information on licensing or the new hunting regulations, you can call the Wisconsin DNR at 1-888-936-7463. The bow deer hunting season goes through the beginning of January.