Last chance to prepare for gun deer opener
Thousands of hunters in Kewaunee and Door counties are mentally making their lists and checking ‘em twice in preparation for next Saturday’s gun deer hunting season opener.
This is the final weekend to make sure your favorite firearms are sighted in and your shooting lanes clear of obstructions that might cost you a chance at a bounding whitetail.
If you’re a procrastinator, it’s also the right time to purchase your license and print out your carcass tags. Even though three free antlerless permits are awarded with each license, you still need to indicate public or private land, as well as county.
Even if you’ve already purchased your license, you’ll need to still print out your tags unless you paid extra for the service via a licensing agent; if you didn’t, you can do so through online your Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources account at gowild.wi.gov.
As of Nov. 6, Kewaunee/Door Peninsula hunters had registered 1,433 whitetails with bow (556), crossbow (659) and during the youth gun hunt (218).
Phone and online reports show crossbow users at 341 deer in Door County and 318 in Kewaunee, while archers were at 294 and 262, respectively.
For much more on the 2016 deer hunt, pick up a copy of the regulations pamphlet wherever licenses are sold, or download a copy or read all about the hunt at dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/deer.html.
If you still have any questions, call the DNR Call Center at 1-888-WDNRINFO (1-888-936-7463). Staff are available 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
Door County Deer Advisory Council Chairman Dick Baudhuin said it’s possible that the council would recommend an antlerless-only hunt in 2017 if hunters don’t target more does.
“It’s not my decision to make, but we don’t have any other tools to make it happen unless the Legislature gives us earn-a-buck authority,” said Baudhuin. “I think if we don’t see a big increase in doe harvest the rest of this season, (CDAC members) may ask for an antlerless-only hunt (in 2017).”
Baudhuin knows the bulk of the deer harvest comes opening weekend of the gun hunt, but he’s concerned that a lot of adult does will go nocturnal before more hunters get serious about pulling the trigger.
“Once (adult deer) know the hunt is on, they get so nocturnal it’s hard to see them,” Baudhuin said. “Now is the time we need to harvest them, when they’re active.”
If hunters don’t like the idea of an antlerless-only season, Baudhuin said they need to start using the free antlerless tags they get with each permit, especially so in areas with very high deer densities.
“If they can’t use the venison, the food pantries, friends and neighbors will,” Baudhuin said.
Deer donated for the food pantry program must be field-dressed, tagged and in good condition. Call a participating processor first before dropping the deer off to verify they are accepting them and have space.
You must donate the entire deer to receive the processing for free (head and/or antlers can be removed on site). If you pay for processing, you can choose to donate some venison and keep some. You will fill out a log sheet on site.
The following businesses are listed on the DNR deer donation site as accepting whitetails this season:
• Haberli’s Deer Processing, Sturgeon Bay; 920-743-5736.
• Marchant’s Foods, Brussels; 920-825-1244.
• They’s Venison Processing, Casco; 920-609-0309.
• Easy Street Meats, New Franken; 920-866-2461.
• Paul’s Pantry in Green Bay (drop-off only).
The Wisconsin Lions Foundation can put your deer hides to good use. Donated hides are used for Lions Camp.
Hides can be dropped off at Blue Water Services in Kewaunee, Bradley Gun Sales in Denmark, Uni-Mart in Forestville, Charlie’s Pumps & Well Drilling in Brussels, Q-Mart in Sturgeon Bay and Citgo in Baileys Harbor.
Don Niles of Dairy Dreams in Casco has been giving 30-minute presentations on Peninsula Pride Farms to groups around Kewaunee and Door counties and would be happy to do so for any sportsmen’s clubs.
“The questions and answers can be very good,” Niles said. “A couple weeks ago, with the Door County Property Owners, there was an hour of questions with some people just wanting to vent about farmers and others wondering who we are and what we are doing. All comments are welcome.”
Niles said the group put out its first newsletter recently, has surface and groundwater plans and held a cover crop field day.
Anyone interested in the presentation can contact Niles by email at [email protected].
Kevin Naze is a freelance outdoors writer. Email him at [email protected] or call 920-883-9792.
This article originally appeared on Wisconsin: Last chance to prepare for gun deer opener