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Wisconsin Hunting Overview

Wisconsin is a haven for big game hunting enthusiasts, boasting a diverse range of species for hunters to pursue and high tag availability for residents and non-residents alike. From the popular species like whitetail deer and wild turkey to more limited black bear and elk opportunities, Wisconsin hunting offers something for nearly every hunter. Opportunities in the state are managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and tags are sold though the GoWild website.

While the DNR generally prioritizes opportunity volume over quality, Wisconsin is still home to some of the best trophy whitetail deer hunting in the world. It boasts more Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young entries than any state, and includes the number one Boone and Crockett county in Buffalo County. With whitetail deer tags available over the counter, Wisconsin should be a destination on any avid hunter’s list.

Big Game Species

Wisconsin hunting offers a number big game opportunities. Whitetail deer leads the list in popularity due to a massive deer herd and easily available tags. Wild turkey follows, with a high number of tags available. Turkey includes an annual draw, but there are multiple weekly spring seasons and later seasons almost always have tags available over the counter. Black bear are abundant in the state and managed through a draw, with some massive bruins being shot each year. Elk have been reintroduced in the state and a very limited number of tags is available through a draw to residents only.

Draw and OTC Sales and Dates

Wisconsin Elk DrawResidentElkApril 10, 2024May 31, 2024
Wisconsin Spring Turkey ApplicationBothTurkeyJuly 1, 2023December 10, 2023
Wisconsin Black Bear DrawBothBlack BearJuly 1, 2023December 10, 2023
Wisconsin Deer SaleBothDeerJuly 1, 2023None, OTC Unlimited through season

Wisconsin Hunting Point System

While most tags are readily available, some Wisconsin hunting opportunities are managed through a draw system utilizing a preference point system. This includes spring turkey and black bear. Residents and nonresidents are treated the same in the draw system, with no allocation limit to nonresidents. Turkey licenses are often leftover after the draw process, and are available on a first-come-first-served basis until sold out. Bear tags are more limited and only available through the draw.

Wisconsin Point Types

BearPreference PointBoth
TurkeyPreference PointBoth

How to build points

Points are acquired through the annual draw processes in the state. Unsuccessful applicants will be awarded a point for use in future draws.

Tags, Licenses, and Pricing

To hunt in Wisconsin, hunters must purchase the species specific tags required for the game they wish to pursue. A small game or general hunting license is not required in addition to the species specific item.

ItemResident PriceNon-Resident Price
Gun Deer Permit$24.00$200.00
Archery Deer Permit$24.00$165.00
Antlerless Deer Tag$12.00$20.00
Spring Turkey Application$3.00$3.00
Spring Turkey License$15.00$65.00
Spring Turkey Bonus Tag$10.00$15.00
Turkey Stamp$5.25$5.25
Fall Turkey License$15.00$65.00
Fall Turkey Bonus Tag$10.00$15.00
Bear Application$4.50$4.50
Bear Hunting License$49.00$251.00
Elk Application$10.00NA
Elk License$49.00NA

Wisconsin Hunting Regulations

Hunters Education and Age Restrictions

  • Hunters Education is required for hunters 12 years of age and older, and born on or after January 1, 1973.
  • Hunters aged 12 and 13 must be accompanied by an adult while hunting
  • Hunters under the age of 12 may participate without hunter’s education through the states Mentored Hunting Program.

Archery Limitations

  • Mechanical broadheads and lighted nocks are allowed.
  • Bows are limited to a maximum of 80% letoff.
  • Crossbows are allowed in archery seasons, though purchase of a crossbow license or a Archery to Crossbow upgrade permit.

Group Hunting

Group applications are permitted for spring turkey and bear applications in the state. Group sizes are limited to 10 for spring turkey and 4 for bear. If group members have different preference levels, the lowest preference will be used for the group in the drawing.

Wisconsin Hunting FAQ

Can I purchase a second spring turkey tag?2023-10-24T16:02:00+00:00

Yes. Hunters can buy additional turkey tags via the bonus harvest authorization system. These are subject to availability, and limited to one bonus authorization purchase per day.

Are Wisconsin deer tags available over-the-counter?2023-09-27T19:27:18+00:00

Yes, residents and non-residents can buy deer licenses over-the-counter. There is no draw in Wisconsin and buck tags are good statewide.

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