Wisconsin DNR: Archery & Crossbow Deer Hunting Seasons Open September 18th

Posted on 9-16-2021

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding hunters of their first opportunity to pursue deer this fall with the opening of the 2021 archery and crossbow deer seasons. These seasons run concurrently statewide from September 18th to January 9th, 2022. The archery and crossbow seasons extend to January 31st, 2022, in 27 Farmland Zone Deer Management Units and all metro sub-units.

“We saw another mild winter last year, so Wisconsin deer hunters can look forward to increased harvest opportunities this season,” said Jeff Pritzl, DNR Deer Program Specialist. “Whether you’re hunting public or private land, I encourage hunters to get out and become familiar with seasonal food sources as this will influence deer movement in their local area.”

In 2020, archery and crossbow hunters harvested more than 110,000 deer, including more than 64,000 bucks, an increase from 2019.

Those interested in hunting with both a vertical bow and crossbow may do so by paying full price for one license and purchasing a $3 upgrade for the second license. Only one bow buck harvest authorization will be issued to hunters who purchase both licenses.

Hunter Safety And TAB-K

The DNR urges hunters to review these four rules of safety (TAB-K) before enjoying the archery and crossbow season:

Treat every bow/crossbow as if it were loaded.

Always point the bow/crossbow in a safe direction.

Be certain of your target; what is before and beyond it.

Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.

Archery-Specific Safety Tips

Crossbows have a safety. Immediately after cocking, always check to make sure that your bow is on safe.

Always use bolts/arrows recommended by the manufacturer and handle carefully.

Protect yourself and the arrow points with a covered arrow quiver.

The safest way to carry, transport and raise or lower a crossbow from a stand is always to have the crossbow un-cocked.

The safest way to un-cock a crossbow is to fire a bolt into the ground or target.

Make sure that the limb tips are free of obstructions and your fingers, hand or arm are not in the string path at any time while the crossbow is cocked.

Know your range for accuracy.


As a reminder, all harvested deer must be registered electronically by 5 p.m. the day after the deer is recovered. GameReg is simple, fast and convenient for hunters. As conservationists, hunters understand the importance of harvest registration and what it means to deer management in Wisconsin. The system will prompt hunters to answer a series of questions, beginning with the unique harvest authorization number and their date of birth.

Hunters have three options to register their deer:

Online at GameReg.WI.Gov (fastest and easiest option)

By phone at 1-844-426-3734 (1-844-GAME-REG)

Electronically at a participating in-person registration station (keyword “registration stations“)

More information regarding electronic registration is available by visiting the DNR webpage here.