Hunting in Wisconsin

If you want to go to a state renowned for its rich deer hunting culture and expansive hunting grounds, then the thrill of hunting in Wisconsin is just for you.

While Wisconsin’s deer hunting is among the finest in the country, its popularity can lead to a bustling, crowded woodland, especially during peak seasons. It’s an energetic marketplace of adventure, standing in contrast to the serene hunting grounds of Minnesota or the quiet landscapes of Michigan. But worry not! This bustling energy is all part of Wisconsin’s unique hunting charm.

Wanna explore the possibilities and opportunities that await you? This guide on hunting in Wisconsin will let you experience the spirit of the state’s wilderness.

Wisconsin Hunting Seasons

Bear HuntingWithout Dogs: Early September to mid-October
With Dogs:
Early to mid-September
Wild Turkey HuntingFall Season: Mid-September to early January
Spring Season: Mid-April to late May
Wolf HuntingMid-October to late February
Upland Bird HuntingGrouse: Mid-September to early January
Quail: Mid-October to early December
Partridge: Mid-October to early January
Pheasant: Mid-October to early January
Small Game HuntingRabbit-Milwaukee Co.: Year-Round
RabbitStatewide: Mid-September to late February
Squirrel: Mid-September to late February

Deer Hunting Season

Archery and CrossbowMid-September to early January
MuzzleloaderLate November to early December
FirearmsMid- to late November
December AntlerlessEarly to mid-December
Special HuntsDisabled Hunters: Early October
Youth Hunters: Weekends of early October

Wisconsin’s beauty extends beyond its scenic landscapes. The state is home to diverse wildlife and a thriving population of game species.

Whether you’re an experienced hunter or new to the sport, Wisconsin’s hunting scene offers something for all levels of expertise. Let’s look at the most-sought hunts in the state:

White-Tailed Deer Hunt

Deer hunting in Wisconsin is a long-standing tradition, a cherished pastime deeply rooted in the state’s culture and history. But what makes it so popular in the state?

Well, Wisconsin is home to a robust population of white-tailed deer. Their abundance across the state ensures hunters have plenty of opportunities to engage with this majestic animal.

More importantly, hunting in Wisconsin is not just about the hunt; it’s about tradition. For many Wisconsinites, the deer season is a time of camaraderie and togetherness. It’s the time when families and friends gather in deer camps to enjoy the great outdoors and harvest a deer.

But remember, you must have a hunting license and appropriate deer tag before heading afield and chasing your prospect hunt. Certain tags allow hunters to harvest either sex, while others are for antlerless deer only.

Black Bear Hunting

Wisconsin offers an exhilarating black bear hunting experience that calls for outdoor expertise, perseverance, and excitement. With one of the largest black bear populations in the nation, the state allures hunters every season.

Hunting black bears in the state plays a crucial role in population management. By hunting these game species with thriving populations, you got to help maintain a healthy balance between their population and available habitats.

Just remember, black bear hunting in the state is not for everyone. To hunt these elusive animals, hunters must apply for a permit or a preference point each year, and the number of points accumulated increases the chance of receiving a permit.

Wild Turkey Hunting

Wisconsin offers a fantastic setting for wild turkey hunting, showcasing both the beauty of the state and the thrill of the hunt.

With healthy populations of wild turkeys across the state and the opportunity to hunt in spring and fall, it’s no wonder turkey hunting is growing in popularity. Wisconsin’s spring and fall turkey seasons offer two very different hunting experiences.

The spring season coincides with the turkey’s mating period, making the calling method exceptionally effective. However, only gobblers can be harvested during this season. Meanwhile, the fall season, where either sex can be harvested, provides a different challenge as the turkeys are more cautious and often move in larger groups.

All turkey hunters must purchase a turkey hunting license and a turkey harvest authorization (formerly known as a tag). The harvest authorization specifies the zone and time period for the hunt.

Prime Hunting Locations in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s diverse landscapes provide a range of habitats that support a rich variety of game species. The state has plenty of dense forests, rolling hills, and sparkling lakes and rivers to enjoy your hunt in a scenic backdrop.

Here are the top hunting locations in Wisconsin:

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Stretching across more than a million acres in northern Wisconsin, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is a haven for hunters.

Its dense woods and plentiful food sources support a healthy population of white-tailed deer, black bears, and wild turkeys. Grouse and woodcock can also be found in its vast aspen stands, offering fantastic small-game hunting opportunities.

When hunting in national forests, it’s important to note that all state hunting regulations and seasons apply. Also, hunters must be aware of designated Wilderness and Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized Areas, where certain motor vehicle and equipment restrictions may apply.

Door Country

If you are a waterfowl hunter, then Door County must be included in your go-to list. This peninsula juts out into Lake Michigan, providing a mixture of coastal and inland habitats perfect for ducks and geese. The county’s many public hunting areas offer opportunities for both field hunting and hunting over water.

Waterfowl hunting in Door County follows Wisconsin’s general hunting regulations and federal regulations related to migratory birds. Hunters must possess a state hunting license, a state waterfowl stamp, and a federal duck stamp.

Buffalo Country

Located in western Wisconsin, Buffalo County is often considered one of the best places in North America to hunt trophy white-tailed deer.

The county’s fertile soils, steep wooded hillsides, and well-managed farmlands provide ideal conditions for deer to reach their full potential. Numerous bucks harvested from Buffalo County make their way into the record books every year.

State-wide hunting regulations apply in Buffalo County, but hunters should know that much of the land here is privately owned. Always obtain permission before hunting on private land.

Also, several outfitters in the area offer guided hunts. So if you want access to prime hunting grounds and local knowledge, you should avail these services.

Wisconsin Hunting Regulations

Wisconsin has a long and proud hunting tradition, mainly because of its strong regulations. The main goal of these regulations is to ensure a sustainable, healthy wildlife population, and provide enjoyable and safe hunting experiences for hunters.

Hunting License

Like any state, hunting in Wisconsin is only possible with a valid license. So before heading afield, ensure you have secured your own hunting license. These licenses vary depending on the game species you’re after and your residency status.

Deer Hunting License$24.00$160.00
Bear Hunting License$49.00$251.00
Wild Turkey Hunting License$15.00$60.00
Waterfowl Hunting License$7.00$12.00
Small Game Hunting License$18.00$85.00

Hunter Safety Education

Safety is paramount in hunting, and Wisconsin strongly emphasizes this by regulating Hunter Safety Education.

Anyone born on or after Jan 1, 1973, must complete a state-approved hunter education course before getting a hunting license. The course focuses on several aspects, such as firearms safety, ethics, regulations, conservation, and wildlife identification.

This can be taken online or in person, concluding with a test you must pass to get your certificate.

Tree Stands and Saddle Hunting

Tree stands and tree saddles are excellent tools for getting a good vantage point during your hunt. They can, however, pose safety risks if not used correctly. That’s why it’s crucial to follow the regulations and safety practices.

In Wisconsin, if you’re hunting on public land, you can use portable tree stands and tree saddles, but they must be removed at the end of each day’s hunt. Keep in mind that permanent stands are not allowed on public land.

If you’re hunting on private land, be sure to get the landowner’s permission before installing any tree stand or tree saddle.


Overall, hunting in Wisconsin opens hunters to solid experiences with plenty of hunting opportunities. From the vast selection of game species and public hunting lands to its active hunting culture, Wisconsin got its unique charms that attract seasoned and new hunters.

Do you want to discover more hunting opportunities across the United States? Our hunt-by-state guide, which provides detailed and comprehensive information, might be the perfect resource for you.