The close of this year’s gun deer season on Sunday signals the opening of the muzzleloader deer season, which opens today, November 30, and runs through December 9.

Hunters have the option of using a muzzleloader, a bow and arrow, or a crossbow during the season. It is important to note that muzzleloading firearms are the only firearms that may be used during the muzzleloader season.

Wisconsin has a long and storied tradition of regulated gun deer hunting, going back to 1851, but it wasn’t until 1991 that Wisconsin designated a  separate, seven-day muzzleloader season.

“The muzzleloader season is generally far more relaxed and considerably less crowded,” said Kevin Wallenfang, big game ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources. “The gun deer season crowds are gone, so it’s a much quieter time in the woods that many hunters find enjoyable and the deer start getting back to their normal movement patterns.”

Remember, if you’ll be taking advantage of the muzzleloader season, adhere to all rules*, like wearing blaze orange. Likewise, hunting with a muzzleloader requires a bit more knowledge, so review basic safety before every hunt.


*Rule overview