Proposed Hunting Reg Changes in Wisconsin


Proposed Hunting Reg Changes in Wisconsin

Whitetail hunting video maker Jeff Sturgis is up in arms about some proposed hunting regulation changes in the state of Wisconsin. Here’s a quick overview, along with my thoughts on each point he makes.

Extending gun season from 9 days to 19 days.

To me, that is a good thing. More opportunity means more people will hunt! Heck, in Florida and Georgia where I hunt, our gun deer seasons are 2 months long or more, and we are far from running out of deer. Those who wish to do so may bowhunt during that time. Jeff just makes the assumption that more days won’t matter to most hunters:

If you haven’t gotten your deer in the first few days, the first nine days, what’s it really matter extending the season?

Well Jeff, it could matter quite a lot — especially for hunters who choose to follow your suggestion to only hunt when conditions are absolutely perfect. Say the stand conditions are not right to hunt the trophy buck until after the first nine days? You’re contradicting yourself by opposing this.

And if your proposed solution to a gun hunter not getting a buck is, “Pick up a bow and go bowhunting,” you are not being inclusive of all hunters — period.

Crossbow-Only in October

This would restrict crossbow users from hunting during part of the archery season, and I agree with Jeff 100% that anytime archery hunting is legal — especially with compound bows — crossbows should also be allowed with no restrictions.

What I don’t agree with is Jeff’s assumption that gun hunters are somehow bad and are jealous of crossbow hunters. Yeah, nope.

No Bow Tags Allowed During Gun Season

This silly change would mean no archery hunting would be allowed during gun season. Talk about stupid! Jeff and I are in agreement that this regulation should not be enacted.

No Hunting One Week Prior to Gun Season

I have to admit, this one hits home with me somewhat. In one WMA I used to hunt every year, there were very limited hunts for modern guns and muzzleloaders; each only got two weekends per year. Later, they opened up archery hunting for long periods of time before those hunts, and the first muzzleloader hunt — which had always been a great hunt prior to that — became a non-event. There’d been so much activity and pressure from archery hunters that the rest of the hunts pretty much sucked. So allowing the woods to “rest” before a popular hunt doesn’t sounds like a bad idea to me.

That said, Jeff’s complaint is that this new reg would prevent archers from hunting the rut. If so, that’s about as dumb as it gets. Move gun season forward a week and allow all hunters to hunt the rut! Duh.

But Jeff’s blind devotion to arrow hunters and his looking down on gun hunters? I don’t like that one bit.

He also pitches the notion that pre-gun archery season is a good time to get new hunters into the woods. I couldn’t disagree more; no new hunter should begin with a bow in my opinion. Newbies should begin with something less restrictive and less difficult, and then move on to archery hunting when/if they feel the need for an increased challenge.

So I agree the rut should be hunted, but I disagree that it should be archery-only.

Jeff is Also Wrong About…

Jeff points out that last year’s gun season opened on November 23, when the rut was winding down, thus reducing the number of bucks that were moving around for gun hunters to shoot. Then he makes the following statement:

That’s a good thing.

Ummm, nope. It’s really not. Claiming that will preserve more bucks for next year doesn’t help anything, it just makes him seem out of touch. Guess what, Jeff: Hunters want to kill deer. Above all, we want to see deer when we go hunting. Arguing that it’s good for hunters to see fewer deer is just dumb. If anything, you’ve just made a fine case for opening gun hunting earlier.

But Jeff strongly opposes giving all hunters equal access to the rut, saying “God forbid!” about allowing gun hunting during the rut. So much for his claim that he supports all types of hunters.

Show up at the Meetings

Whether you agree with me or with Jeff, if you hunt in Wisconsin you can have some input. They will be holding a total of 72 public meetings to discuss these proposed regulations, so show up and let your voice be heard.

Here’s hoping gun season will be moved to encompass the rut — and that archery hunters will also be allowed to hunt during that time. Reserving the rut exclusively for bowhunters (or gun hunters) just isn’t right.

Anyhow, here’s the video. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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