Wisconsin hunting season 2023 typically begins in the fall, attracting hunters from all over the state. Wisconsin is a great place for hunters since it has so many different species to choose from. The Badger State is a hunter’s paradise, with seasons for everything from large game like deer and bear to small game like turkey and waterfowl, with highlights like the early teal season in September, the deer hunting season in November, and the waterfowl season in December.
It may be difficult to know where to begin when planning a hunting trip due to the wide variety of seasons, hunting locations, bag restrictions, and laws and regulations that must be considered. Information about Wisconsin’s hunting seasons, application due dates, and other pertinent restrictions will be provided in this section. Having a successful hunting trip in Wisconsin requires preparation, so be sure you have all the necessary equipment and permits.
Wisconsin Hunting Seasons
Hunters may enjoy Wisconsin’s rich wildlife and superb hunting conditions throughout the year. Wisconsin has excellent whitetail deer, bear, turkey, and duck hunting. Cottontail rabbits, foxes, bobcats, and skunks are also targeted for hunting. In addition, the state has disabled and youth hunting seasons. Hunters may choose a game that suits their needs. One must first understand the regulations, limits, and safety precautions to hunt legally and securely in Wisconsin.
WI Deer Season
|WI Deer Season||Hunting Dates|
|Archery and Crossbow*||Sept 16, 2023–Jan 7, 2024|
|Archery and Crossbow**||Sept 16, 2023–Jan 31, 2024|
|Gun hunt for hunters with disabilities***||Oct 7, 2023–Oct 15, 2023|
|Youth deer hunt||Oct 7, 2023–8, 2023|
|Gun||Nov 18, 2023-Nov 26, 2023|
|Muzzleloader||Nov 27, 2023–Dec 6, 2023|
|December 4-Day Antlerless-Only Hunt||Dec 7, 2023–Dec 10, 2023|
|Antlerless-Only Holiday Hunt****||Dec 24, 2023–Jan 1, 2024|
*During the designated antlerless-only hunts, no bucks may be taken.
**Counties and metro subdivisions having extended archery seasons. Check the map to see which counties have longer archery seasons.
***This schedule is not statewide. Know more.
****Only open in a few counties in Zone 2 (Farmland). For a list of acceptable counties, read the combined hunting rules on page 12.
Discover everything you need to know about deer hunting in Wisconsin with our in-depth guide on the state’s deer seasons. From costs to regulations, learn all about this popular pastime and plan your next hunting trip today!
Elk Season 2023
|WI Elk Season 2023-2024||Details|
|Elk Hunt Application Period||• The application period for the 2023 elk hunt in Wisconsin is open until May 31.
• Through coordinated efforts, Wisconsin's elk population has been successfully restored.
• An annual elk hunt has been held since 2018.
|Elk Hunting Season (Archery, Crossbow and Firearm)||
• Oct. 14 to Nov. 12 and Dec. 14 to Dec. 22, 2023.
|• The 2023 elk hunting season is limited to the northern elk management zone.
• Successful applicants can hunt during either period.
|Eligibility||• Only Wisconsin residents are eligible to receive an elk tag.
• Elk license applications are available for $10 each and may only be obtained once per person in person or online.
|Application Fee||• Each application includes a $7 fee, directly supporting elk management, monitoring, and research in Wisconsin.
• Funds are used to enhance elk habitat and benefit local wildlife.
|Selection and Notification||• Winners will be notified by early June.
• Wisconsin residents can only draw an elk tag once in their lifetime.
|Elk Hunter Orientation||• Winners must attend a Wisconsin elk hunter orientation before getting an elk hunting license.
• Elk hunting is one of the topics covered in the course, along with its history, laws, biology, behavior, and methods.
|Elk Quota Approval||• This year's elk quota will be submitted to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board for approval in May.|
|More Information||• For further details on the elk hunt, visit the DNR Elk Hunting webpage.|
Wisconsin has not reintroduced moose, however numerous sightings in northern Wisconsin each year are confirmed. No moose hunting is allowed.
Elk & Moose Hunting Rules
|Elk & Moose Hunting Rules||Information|
|Reminder Message||The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) advises hunters to distinguish between elk and white-tailed deer during hunting season.|
|Archery and Crossbow Seasons||• Deer season starts on September 16 for both archery and crossbow.
• Occasionally, particularly during mating season, elk may go outside of management zones.
• Elk hunting without the appropriate tag might result in penalties and license revocation.
|Identifying Elk||• Adult elk are larger than adult deer, standing 1-2 feet taller at the shoulders.
• Elk calves are similar in size to adult white-tailed does but have elk-like coloration.
• Elk antlers sweep back, while white-tailed deer antlers curve forward.
• Elk have tan rump patches, black legs, and dark brown manes, while deer have legs matching their bodies, white throat patches, and fluffy white tails.
• Some elk may have ear tags or tracking collars, often orange with visible numbers.
• A DNR comparison guide is available online for identifying elk.
|Moose Sightings||• Wisconsin occasionally reports moose sightings in northern areas, although they cannot be hunted.|
|Elk Reintroduction||• After being eliminated in Wisconsin in the 1880s, elk were reintroduced there in 1995.
• In Wisconsin's reintroduction locations, there are now more than 500 elk, mostly in the northern counties and Jackson County.
• Elk may occasionally roam outside these zones.
|Reporting Elk/Moose Sightings||Observations of elk outside management zones or moose can be reported to the DNR through the Wildlife Observation Tool at pps.dnr.wi.gov/wildlifeobservation/.|
|Bear Zone||Hunting Season Dates||Permitted Hunting Methods|
|A, B, D||Sept 13 – Oct 3||With aid of dogs, aid of bait, all other legal methods|
|A, B, D||Oct 4 – Oct 10||With aid of bait, all other legal methods not using dogs|
|A, B, D||Sept 6 – Sept 12||With aid of dogs only|
|C, E, F||Sept 6 – Oct 10||With aid of bait, all other legal methods not using dogs|
Wild Turkey Season
|WI Wild Turkey Season||Hunting Dates|
|Period (A)||April 19, 2023–April 25, 2023|
|Period (B)||April 26, 2023–May 2, 2023|
|Period (C )||May 3, 2023–May 9, 2023|
|Period (D)||May 10, 2023–May 16, 2023|
|Period (E )||May 17, 2023–May 23, 2023|
|Period (F)||May 24, 2023–May 30, 2023|
|2023 Spring Turkey Youth Hunt||April 15, 2023–April 16, 2023|
|Statewide||Sept 16, 2023-Nov 17, 2023|
|Zones 1 - 5||Nov 18, 2023–Jan 7, 2024|
Note: Find the Zones 1 – 5 Details here
Small Mammals Season
|Cottontail Rabbit Season||Hunting Start Date||Hunting End Date|
|Southern zone||14-Oct-23 (9 am)||29-Feb-24|
|Squirrels Season||Hunting Start Date||Hunting End Date|
|Statewide Squirrels (gray and fox)||16-Sep-23||29-Feb-24|
Note: It is forbidden to hunt some protected species including badgers, jackrabbits, moose, and flying squirrels. You may review the small game hunting regulations for a complete list of requirements.
|Bobcat Season||Hunting Start Date||Hunting End Date|
|North and south zones (Period-1)||14-Oct-23||25-Dec-23|
|North and south zones (Period-2)||26-Dec-23||31-Jan-24|
|Coyote Season||Hunting Start Date||Hunting End Date|
|Fox (red & gray) Season||Hunting Start Date||Hunting End Date|
|Beaver Season||Hunting Start Date||Hunting End Date|
|Zone A (northwest)||4-Nov-23||30-Apr-24|
|Zone B (northeast)||4-Nov-23||30-Apr-24|
|Zone C (south)||4-Nov-23||31-Mar-24|
|Zone D (Mississippi River)||One day after the end of duck season||15-Mar-24|
|Mink Season||Hunting Start Date||Hunting End Date|
|Mississippi River zone||13-Nov-23||10-Mar-24|
|Muskrat Season||Hunting Start Date||Hunting End Date|
|Northern Zone||October 21, 2023||April 15, 2024|
|Central Zone||October 28, 2023||March 27, 2024|
|Southern Zone||November 4, 2023||March 15, 2024|
|Mississippi River zone||November 13, 2023||March 10, 2024|
|Fisher Season||Hunting Start Date||Hunting End Date|
|North & South Zones||14-Oct-23||7-Jan-24|
|Otter Season||Hunting Start Date||Hunting End Date|
|Raccoon Season||Hunting Start Date||Hunting End Date|
Skunk, Opossum, Weasel, Snowshoe Hare, Porcupine and Woodchucks
These species may be hunted with a valid license; however there are no season limitations, bag limits, size limits, or possession limits. To protect the environment and ensure the availability of resources in the future, responsible and sustainable practices should still be followed.
Other Game Birds
Ruffed Grouse Season
|Ruffed Grouse Season||Hunting Start Date||Hunting End Date|
|Pheasant Season||Hunting Start Date||Hunting End Date|
|Statewide||14 Oct, 23 (9 a.m.)||7-Jan-24|
Hungarian partridge Season
|Hungarian partridge Season||Hunting Start Date||Hunting End Date|
|Statewide (closed in Clark, Marathon, and Taylor counties)||14-Oct-23 (9 a.m.)||7-Jan-24|
Seasons for Migratory Birds in WI
|Migratory Bird||Season Dates & Schedule|
|(Early Teal)||September. 1–9|
|(Early Goosel)||September. 1–15|
|(Rail (Virginia, Sora)||September. 1–November. 9|
|(Snipel)||September. 1–November. 9|
|(Common Gallinulel)||September. 1–November. 9|
|(Mourning Dovel)||September. 1–November. 29|
|(Youth Waterfowll)||September. 17–18|
|(Woodcockl)||September. 24–November. 7|
|(Northern-Duck Zonel)||September. 24–November. 22|
|(Southern-Duck Zonel)||October. 1–9|
|October. 15–December 4|
|(Open Water-Duck Zonel)||October. 15–December 13|
|(Cootl)||Same as Wild Duck Zone you are Hunting|
|(Northern Goose -Zonel)||September. 16–December 16|
|(Southern Goose-Zonel)||September. 16–October. 9|
|October. 15–December 4|
|December 18–January. 3, 2023|
|(Mississippi River Goose - Zonel)||October. 1–9|
|October. 15–January. 3, 2023|
Wisconsin Falconry Season
|Rail (Virginia, Sora), Snipe, Common Gallinule and||September. 1–December. 16||30 minutes before sunrise until sunset|
|(Early Teal)||September. 1–9||Sunrise to Sunset|
|(Ducks, mergansers and coots)||September. 17 and 18; January. 13–February. 17, 2023||All Zones||30 minutes before sunrise until sunset|
|October. 1–9||South Zone||30 minutes before sunrise until sunset|
|October. 15–December. 4||30 minutes before sunrise until sunset|
|October. 15–December. 13||Open Water Zone||30 minutes before sunrise until sunset|
|September. 24–November. 22||North Zone||30 minutes before sunrise until sunset|
|(Geese)||similar to the regular statewide season||30 minutes before sunrise until sunset|
- There is a daily bag restriction of three migratory game birds, regardless of how many you shoot at once, with the exception of the maximum number of Canada geese allowed in your hunting area during the shooting season.
- The maximum number of bags an individual may hold at any one time is three times the daily limit.
Seasons for Trapping in Wisconsin
|Wisconsin Trapping Seasons||Season Dates||Zones|
|BOBCAT||October. 15 – December. 25, 2022||North and south zones, Period 1|
|December. 26 – Jan. 31, 2023||North and south zones, Period 2|
|FISHER||October. 15 – Jan. 8, 2023||North and South Zones|
|OTTER||November. 5 – April 30, 2023||North zone|
|November. 5 – March 31, 2023||South zone|
|COYOTE||October. 15 – February. 15, 2023|
|FOX||October. 15 – February. 15, 2023|
|BEAVER||November. 5 – April 30, 2023||Zone A-(northwest)|
|November. 5 – April 30, 2023||Zone B-(northeast)|
|November. 5 – March 31, 2023||Zone C-(south)|
|December. 5 – March 15, 2023||Zone D-(Mississippi River)|
|MINK AND MUSKRAT||October. 22 – April 15, 2023||Northern-Zone|
|October. 29 – March 22, 2023||Central-Zone|
|November. 5 – March 15, 2023||Southern-Zone|
|November. 14 – March 5, 2023||Mississippi River-zone|
|RACCOON||October. 15 – February. 15, 2023||Resident|
|October. 29 – February. 15, 2023||Non-resident|
Deadlines for Permit Application
|Spring Turkey||Late Jan|
Wisconsin Hunting Regulations
- In Wisconsin, hunting is prohibited without a valid hunting license and the necessary stamps.
- All turkey harvests must be reported to authorities.
- Shotguns and muzzle-loading shotguns, crossbows and bow and arrows are some of the permitted hunting weapons and tactics.
- When on a wild turkey hunt, you can’t utilize any kind of artificially-produced or amplified bird calls or noises.
- During the fall turkey season, however, using dogs to hunt wild turkeys is permitted.
- No use of electronic or live decoys to attract wild turkeys is allowed.
- A valid hunting license, stamp, and harvest permit for turkeys are required to possess a firearm, bow, or crossbow during the spring season.
- The drawing for the harvest permits for turkeys uses a cumulative preference approach.
- Hunting migratory game birds requires a small game license, a Wisconsin Waterfowl stamp, and a Federal Migratory Bird Stamp.
- When going for waterfowl that migrate, you may only use specified firearms and ammunition.
- Some buildings and vehicles are off-limits to hunters.
- Certain hunting equipment, such as decoys left in the water unattended or put more than 200 feet from the cover, is forbidden.
- Only boats powered by paddle, oars, or pole may be used for hunting from the water.
- There are regulations regarding the placement of waterfowl blinds on state land.
- There are restrictions on the use of vehicles, such as drones, for the taking of migratory game birds.
- Waterfowl, coots, and mourning doves cannot be hunted with the use of bait.
- Disabled hunters are afforded certain privileges under the law.
- There are laws and restrictions that must be followed when youths go hunting.
- Certain bodies of water mandate a minimum hunting distance from land.
- Particular bodies of water require the use of blind anchors.
- For certain bodies of water, daily blind removal is required.
- When shooting from shore to shore is practicable in a small stream, jumping shots from a non-motorized boat is permitted.
- Hunting ducks, coots, or mourning doves using bait is prohibited.
- Hunting is permitted over fields that have recently been harvested or planted as part of a legitimate agricultural operation.
- Mourning doves may be legally hunted in areas where agricultural crops or wildlife feeding plots have been manipulated.
- After a crop has been harvested and the grain or seed has been taken from the field, it is against the law to distribute or disperse the crop in any way.
- The Youth Waterfowl Hunt is open only to those who have not yet reached their fifteenth birthday.
- The only kind of waterfowl that adults guiding young hunters are allowed to take is geese.
- Mentors over the age of 16 who want to hunt geese this season must have a valid Canada Goose Permit for the current hunting season.
- Under the Harvest Information Program (HIP), young hunters are expected to report their catches.
Wisconsin Hunting License charges
Harvest permits and licenses can be bought at a number of shops and establishments spread out over the state. Licenses for residents and non-residents are offered; fees vary according on residency, season, bag method, and special designations.
|(Archery)||USD 160||USD 25|
|(Crossbow)||USD 160||USD 25|
|(Gun Deer)||USD 160||USD 25|
|(Small game)||USD 85||USD 18|
|(Elk)||Not Applicable||USD 10|
|(Turkey)||USD 60||USD 15|
For more details on WI Hunting Licenses find at:
FAQs related to Wisconsin Hunting Seasons
When is Wisconsin's deer hunting season?
The bow season for deer hunting in Wisconsin starts as early as September 18
When does the hunting season start in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin’s hunting season normally begins in September and ends in January; however, this varies depending on the kind of wildlife being pursued. The early teal season in September, the deer hunting season in November and the waterfowl season in December are just a few of the season’s highlights.
What types of games can I hunt in Wisconsin?
Deer, bear, wolves, turkey, small mammals, game birds, and furbearers are just some of the animals you may go for on a hunting trip in Wisconsin.
Are there any hunting safety regulations in Wisconsin?
Like many other states, Wisconsin has many rules in place to ensure hunters’ safety. During weapon season, hunters must cover at least half of their bodies in bright orange or neon pink. It’s also against the law to hunt or fire a weapon within fifty feet of a public road or one hundred yards of a public building or private residence. Drones cannot be used to help track the game during the hunting season, either.
Do I need a hunting license to hunt in Wisconsin?
Yes, a hunting license is required in Wisconsin. A hunting license may be bought either online or from a licensed provider.
Are there any hunting seasons specific to youth in Wisconsin?
Young hunters in Wisconsin may participate in the Youth Waterfowl Hunt if they are 15 or under. Participants must be accompanied by an adult mentor aged 18 or older and may collect any authorized species of waterfowl, including geese.
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