MADISON – With deer season underway, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging hunters to keep COVID-19 safety measures in mind and use the online reporting system to report their deer.

“Hunting is a long-established tradition in Wisconsin. However, with the pandemic, it is up to each of us to keep our communities healthy and safe this deer season,” said DNR Secretary Preston D. Cole. “As hunters new and old make their way into the woods this season, it is important they follow all of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services COVID-19 safety precautions including wearing a mask, keeping six feet of distance from others and avoiding crowds.”

Anyone who has ever experienced Wisconsin's famed gun deer season knows it's a tradition bigger than any buck. As Wisconsin continues to see record-setting numbers of positive cases of COVID-19, health and safety is paramount.

On Nov. 10, Gov. Tony Evers issued Executive Order #94 outlining new measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This order advises Wisconsinites to stay home, use extra precautions if they must leave their home and adopt good public health practices. Businesses are also encouraged to take further steps to protect workers, customers and the surrounding community.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) discourages social gatherings of any size, including getting together with friends or extended family during hunting season at deer camp. The less time spent with people from other households, the less likely you are to get sick or spread COVID-19 to others. Try to lodge in your own room, tent or trailer and limit the number of households using shared spaces.

“Wisconsin is in crisis – our case numbers are rising and our hospitals are strained,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “Each of us must do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Limiting your interactions with people outside your household is a key step, so we ask hunters to reduce their travel and to hunt with the people you live with.”

Although activities such as heading to camp or gathering at check stations are often considered an integral part of hunting season, extended physical or close contact increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

While deer camp will look different this year, there are still ways to enjoy the social aspects of deer hunting and mentoring through video chats, text messages and other creative ideas that keep you and others safe. Hunters are reminded to register their deer online or by phone.

For specific information regarding COVID-19 we encourage the public to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the CDC website.