MADISON, Wis. – Anyone who has ever experienced Wisconsin’s famed gun deer season knows it’s a tradition bigger than any buck. The ultimate excuse to unplug begins this weekend with Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season officially starting Saturday, Nov. 21 and running through Nov. 29.

“The 2020 deer hunt will be different as it relates to our interactions with family and friends. With COVID-19, we all must work together to keep our communities healthy and safe this deer season. To help stop the spread of this virus, I want to remind folks that they should hunt with people from their household,” said DNR Secretary Preston D. Cole. “Equally important is firearm safety which is essential to any responsible hunting trip so we can all get back to our families safely. Hunting is a long-established tradition in Wisconsin. Good luck to all hunters and be safe.”

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As of Nov. 16, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports and patron licenses reached 591,689. Of that total, 343,627 are for gun privileges only.

With one of the most robust herds in the nation, Wisconsin offers great hunting opportunities. Overall, the deer population is doing well. However, it varies across the state and there are areas where the population is lower than desired. Be sure to check the hunting regulations for your area.

Use the DNR’s free Hunt Wild Wisconsin mobile app for everything Wisconsin hunters need in the field from property boundaries and electronic regulations, including shooting hours, to chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling and deer carcass disposal locations.

Find new public lands to explore, brush up on the regulations or listen to podcasts all within the Hunt Wild Wisconsin app. With mobile mapping, up-to-the-minute shooting hours and much more, all the tools are available to focus on what’s important – enjoying your time in the outdoors. 

To download the free hunting app on your mobile device, search “Hunt App” on the DNR website,, or search for Hunt Wild Wisconsin in the iTunes app store or Google Play store on your mobile device.

Although activities such as heading to deer camp or gathering at check stations are often considered an integral part of hunting season, extended physical or close contact increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission. To help keep your distance from others, hunters are reminded to register their deer online or by phone.

New this year, hunters can complete the paperwork necessary to submit a CWD sample on their phone while at a CWD sampling kiosk. Not only is this feature quick and easy but it also provides an opportunity to enter the information without spending significant time at the kiosk.

There are still ways to enjoy the social aspects of deer hunting and mentoring while helping slow the spread of COVID-19. Share your successes through video chats, text messages and other creative ideas that keep you and others safe. Don’t forget to tag the DNR or use the hashtag #WildWisconsin on social media.

For specific information regarding COVID-19 we encourage the public to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the CDC website.