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Wisconsin and Fort McCoy’s 2021 nine-day gun-deer season will be held Nov. 20-28.
Nearly 1,200 hunters who signed in and took to the woods at Fort McCoy, harvesting just under 300 deer during the post’s 2020 season, said Wildlife Program Manager and Biologist David Beckmann with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch.
The 2020 harvest was similar to the one in 2019, Beckmann said. About 100 deer were brought to the station to collect deer ages and biological data in 2020. Because of the pandemic in 2020, hunters had the option to bring their deer to the collection station.
“That data we collect at the station is important to evaluate the herd health and calculate the installation deer population,” Beckmann said. “We collect important age and health data. We also collect lymph nodes for chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing.”
For the 2021 gun-deer hunt, Beckmann said the biological-data collection/registration station will again be in operation on South Post in the same location just off of Highway 21 as previous years. Collected CWD samples will be sent to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and he encourages all successful hunters to have their deer tested.
Beckmann said the deer harvest goal for 2021 will also be between 300 and 350 deer — the same as 2020. Bonus tags are not available for this year’s season.
“We have these hunts so we can continue to effectively manage our deer population,” Beckmann said. “The archery hunt and the gun-deer hunt are our best tools to maintain a healthy deer population on post and reduce impacts to endangered species, forest regeneration, and training land.”
To participate in the gun-deer hunt at the installation, hunters must apply for a Fort McCoy permit through the Fort McCoy iSportsman site, https://ftmccoy.isportsman.net, and then also purchase their permits through iSportsman, Beckmann said. Applications for the gun-deer hunt generally become available in late June every year. Anyone interested should contact the Permit Sales Office for more information.
In addition, hunters coming to the installation must also have an annual Wisconsin deer gun license. The Wisconsin licenses are sold through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) GoWild system at https://gowild.wi.gov or a designated WDNR GoWild agent.
The cost of a Fort McCoy gun-deer permit is $21, and a resident Wisconsin gun-deer license is $24.
Fort McCoy hunters do not need to register their harvested deer with the WDNR, but they do have to register any harvested deer through the iSportsman check-out process, Beckmann said.
Fort McCoy’s deer population should continue to have many larger bucks available to hunters, as well, Beckmann said.
“There are some big bucks out there,” Beckmann said. “Last year we had some very nice eight- and 10-point bucks come through the station. This year’s season is also closer to when the normal deer rut (mating season) takes place, which also means we could see a higher success rate.”
Beckmann added that 2021 roadside surveys for deer showed a healthy deer population, and he expects a high number of people to hunt.
“We made 1,800 permits available for this year’s gun-deer season,” Beckmann said. “I expect at least 1,400 to 1,500 hunters to actually show up and sign in to hunt at some point during the season.”
Hunters also need to remember that Fort McCoy requires all privately owned firearms brought on to the installation be registered through the Directorate of Emergency Services Physical Security. This includes the entirety of the federal land, including the training and housing areas.
Beckmann also reminds hunters to review the Fort McCoy hunting regulations as changes have been made from previous years. More information about the regulations and about deer hunting at Fort McCoy can be found on the iSportsman website at https://ftmccoy.isportsman.net.
And for more about Wisconsin deer hunting regulations, go to https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/regulations.
Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.”
(The Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch contributed to this article.)
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