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The fall season is in full swing and the leaves have completely changed colors. Hues of yellow and orange paint the outer parts of Wisconsin forests, but deep inside, blaze orange is starting to appear. Hunting season is back, officially opening earlier in September with the start of the archery and crossbow season and continuing with the gun deer hunting season that opens Saturday, Nov. 17.

However, before you gear up, pack your truck and head to your favorite hunting spots, make sure that you are prepared to catch that prized game.

First, double-check the requirements for the licenses, permits and tags that you might need, as well as the rules and regulations for hunting in your area. Some regulations can be different from last year’s hunt due to changes made by the Legislature and the Department of Natural Resources.

For example, this year we enacted new regulations for mentored trapping licenses and tags for hunting dogs. The first new law allows individuals under the age of 16 trap without their own license if they are in the company of an individual who has a trapping license and it also allows for a trap to be tagged and operated by more than one hunter.

The second new law eliminates the requirement for dogs hunting bears or wolves to wear a rabies vaccination tag and for owners to carry a tag that proves they have a license to hunt with their dog. To check other restrictions, regulations or rules about permits, tags or licenses, check out the Wisconsin DNR website.

The DNR website offers some other tips and tools for you to use as you get ready for the hunt. The DNR has a summary of their four basic rules of firearm safety to refresh your memory from your hunter safety education lessons. There are even more resources on the website that can benefit all hunters. The Go Wild website gives you an easy to navigate page for license and permit applications, harvest reporting, safety education classes, and the chance to purchase a conservation card that acts as another form of all your required paperwork for hunting.

After the gun deer hunt ends on Nov. 25, there are more deer hunting opportunities across the state. Archery and crossbow season continues through Jan. 6 and this year’s muzzleloader season will be from Nov. 26 to Dec. 5. The December antlerless hunt will take place Dec. 6—9, and the holiday antlerless hunt will be held for farmland units from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1.

For more information on deer hunting in Wisconsin you can visit dnr.wi.gov. DNR Customer Service Representatives are available 7 a.m.—10 p.m., seven days a week at 888-936-7463 or by e-mail at csweb@wisconsin.gov.

Once your licenses and permits are printed and your gear is packed, the fun can finally begin. As the last of the leaves begin to fall, I hope you and your family and friends are able to make it out to the woods to enjoy this special season in Wisconsin.

Have a fun and safe hunt!

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Sen. Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls, represents Wisconsin’s 23rd Senate District. He can be reached at 888-437-9436 or Sen.Moulton@legis.wisconsin.gov.

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