Tuesday, July 1, 2014 | OUTDOORS
Time to study up on upcoming deer hunting rule changes
Once July turns to August and a chill kisses the evening air the fall hunting season is almost certainly right around the corner, and if you haven’t been preparing yourself for the season ahead now might be a great time to start. Thursday, Aug. 1, marks the deadline to apply for various hunting and trapping permits. So, if you haven’t yet applied for fall turkey, sharp-tailed grouse, bobcat, fisher or otter tags you’ll need to do so before Aug. 1.
As deer hunters wrap up their planting of summer and fall food plots, and continue to monitor trail cameras in anticipation for the upcoming season, they also might want to take note of the changes to upcoming deer hunting regulations for the 2014 season. The changes are pretty drastic and aren’t too difficult to understand, but the deer management zones have changed and hunters will need to take note of it if they haven’t already.
Burnett County is now located in the northern forest zone, and no free antlerless tags will be issued this year in the bucks only region, a welcomed change for many hunters in areas where deer numbers are significantly lower than they are further south. However, youth ages 10-17 are issued a free junior antlerless deer carcass tag, which is valid statewide, and in buck-only units. The December antlerless only hunts have also been eliminated in Burnett County for 2014, but the two-day, Oct. 11-12 youth gun hunt will still take place in all units.
Polk County on the other hand, is located in the Central Farmland Zone, where a free antlerless tag will be issued with deer hunting licenses, except archery hunting licenses. Those who wish to shoot a doe must purchase a bonus antlerless tag where available according to unit, and land type, meaning hunters must specify public or private land. Sales of these tags will begin statewide Saturday, Aug. 16, and will available on a first-come, first-serve until sold out.
The addition of the new crossbow hunting season has hunters of all ages excited for the 2014 season, but some have been asking about the tag requirements that go along with it. The crossbow season runs concurrent with the regular archery season that starts Sept. 13, through Jan. 4, 2015. If you plan to use a crossbow you’ll need to buy a crossbow license, and likewise, if you intend to go with your recurve or compound you’ll need to buy the archery license. If you plan to mix things up a bit and use a crossbow one day, and a compound the next, you will need to purchase both an archery tag and crossbow hunting license. Just take note that only one buck tag is allowed no matter what your weapon of choice may be.
The topic of baiting and feeding is a lengthy one, but the ban on baiting and feeding for deer still includes Burnett, Washburn, Polk and Barron counties.
There also won’t be any changes to how you register your deer in 2014. You will still be required to take your carcass to a registration station, but beginning in 2015, hunters will have the choice to register their deer by telephone, online or in person.
These are just a handful of the changes to the deer hunting structure for 2014 so it might be a good plan to check the local bait shop or registration station for a copy of the 2014 regulations booklet. If that doesn’t do it, the DNR website has just about everything you could want to ensure that the upcoming hunting season goes smoothly, and without any major surprises.