Hunting in the US - info for an outsider?

Discussion in 'Hunting USA & Canada' started by Alistair, May 15, 2020.

  1. Alistair

    Alistair AH Enthusiast

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    Hello chaps,

    I'm scheduled to move to Wisconsin full time from September (assuming I can get a flight and visa sorted during the present chaos) and I'm keen to learn about the hunting opportunities stateside, specifically in WI.

    So, what's the deal for you guys? In Europe, hunting is easy. Find a venue / outfitter, pay your money or gain landowner permission and crack on. For the US it seems a little more... involved.

    I guess I first need to sort out my hunters training and then apply for a hunting license. But how does one translate that into actually getting out there? A quick browse of the WI hunting website says something about draws and areas and tags and preference points and all sorts, so an overview from people with experience of the system would be much appreciated! Also, what are my chances of actually getting tags in say 2021. The black bear thing especially looks like it could be as long as 10 years before I actually got a permit based on applicant numbers and permits granted.

    I also have questions about the provision of guided hunting in the US? All my hunting up to now, at least for anything bigger than bunnies and pigeon, has been with a professional 'stalker' as is the UK way. As such, I reckon I have a lot to learn before I have any chance of success going it alone. Are there suppliers of such guided hunting in the US whom I can get time with to learn the ropes as it were?

    Species of particular interest would be white tail and black bear, but open to any and all oppurtunities really!

    Cheers,
    Al.
     
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  2. 375Fox

    375Fox AH Veteran

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    I’m not from Wisconsin so I don’t want to say what I don’t know about hunting there, but just an explanation why it might seem more involved to you. From what I’ve seen hunting in Europe it appears more a management tool done by a few hunters and quotas set for an area. Hunting in the Eastern USA is seen as more of a right of everyone, there are a hundreds of thousands of licenses sold, and harvest is managed by shorter gun seasons/longer seasons of less successful methods where a much smaller percentage of hunters are successful.
     
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  3. Tra3

    Tra3 AH Fanatic

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    Typically the state department of natural resources or department of fish and game Is very helpful in answering questions about tags. I would start with a call to them ASAP to verify when you have to put in for a tag. They can also direct you to areas to hunt if you want to hunt by yourself.
    You can expand you plans also and evaluate hunting out west. Again call the dnr/fish and game. Do so soon, since some tag options are already closed for 2020.
    There are lots of outfitters and guides, the cost ranges significantly and there is a fair amount whitetail high fence hunting, so make sure to ask. Wisconsin has a very large number of hunters (600,000!) and they tag somewhere around 300,000 deer a year, so your odds of getting invited to hunt with someone on his/her deer property is pretty good.

    I don’t know the rules for a non us citizen to own or possess a firearm, never had to look that up. If you are moving here as a permanent resident or on a work visa, it shouldn’t be too much an issue. The sooner you start calling each state gov, the better.
     
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  4. Alistair

    Alistair AH Enthusiast

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    Thanks for this!

    Yah, I'm all good on the firearm ownership thing. A quick email to the ATF confirmed that it's ok on a resident work visa as long as you have some sort of good reason. So the plan is get there, join a range, do my hunter training, then sort firearms. After that, let's see how it goes. I've 3 years on the visa and then I can either extend it to 6 or explore my options if it looks like I'll be staying there long term.

    I'm not planning on applying for anything in 2020, both because it's late to be trying to sort tags and also because I'm not 100% that travel restrictions will relax in time for me to make the trip over in time to make the hunting season, especially if I need to sort training and firearms purchase on top of all the other relocation drama. Better to learn a bit more and hopefully make some hunting buddies first as well! 2021 is the plan, so no massive rush.

    It also looks like WI has a mentored hunting programme that might be a good fit for my first season. Get some time with someone experienced before I wander around on my own and all that.

    Al.
     
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  5. IdaRam

    IdaRam SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Also not from Wisconsin and I’m not familiar with their license and tag structure, but as a general overview of hunting in the U.S., in most states once you have completed a Hunter Safety program and passed the written and shooting test (quite easy) you can purchase a hunting license. Some states differentiate between a small game license and a big game license, most offer a combination license which not only allows you to hunt both small game and big game, it frequently also comes with a fishing license. Many states require you to purchase “tags” which allow you to hunt specific big game species such as whitetail deer or bear. Or in the case of states that tags are not available to “purchase” you must submit an application for a drawing. If your name is drawn, you get a tag. You apply for these draws during a specific time period, May1 thru Jun 5 as an example, and you apply for a specific species, such as black bear.
    In most states there is something, usually many somethings, you can hunt with just a license, no drawing required. Small game and varmints such as coyote, fox, squirrel, rabbit, etc. So if you don’t draw a tag for big game you should certainly still be able to get out and enjoy time in the field.
    Also, in most states there are plenty of birds of one kind or another to pursue. Waterfowl, turkey, grouse, partridge, doves. In some states it may be more challenging to find public land to hunt than it is to get a license or tags.
    Best wishes on your upcoming move. Keep us posted how this works out. And start your research on hunting opportunities sooner rather than later. Initially all the new rules and regulations can be a bit daunting, but usually it’s not near as complicated as it seems at first.
    Good luck (y)
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020

  6. Tra3

    Tra3 AH Fanatic

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    I live in Minnesota, just next door to where you will be. We have a mentored license for a year, basically you hunt with a licensed adult. It is worth checking out. Also, I think an out of state deer tag in Wisconsin is only around $150, it is inexpensive enough to be worth risking.
    As @IdaRam mentioned, there are hunting options other than just deer. Squirrel hunting with a .22 or a bow is very fun.
    Btw: if you bow hunt, you can usually start the big game season in mid September and hunt until end of December.
    You mentioned joining a shooting club/range, that is a great idea. I have memberships at three different ranges, the yearly membership fees are $30, $60, and $100 for them, surprisingly inexpensive. I suspect you are going to have fun hunting in NA! But the plane flight To Africa Might be a bit longer than you are used to.
     
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  7. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    @enysse is Wisconsin resident, he should be able to help you on hunting in Wisconsin. Each state in the U.S. has it's own game laws and regulations if you've not figured that out yet. We may not have quite the diversity of game as they have in Africa, but there's quite a variance across the country of what is available to hunt in each state.
     

  8. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Bring your long underwear and find some insulated boots. If you have never been to the northern tier of states in the dead of winter you are in for a life changing experience. It helps explain Yankees.

    You will find both commercial and public land opportunities in the state. Hopefully, one of our resident cheeseheads will chime in shortly.
     

  9. wipartimer

    wipartimer AH Veteran

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    A bear license in Wisconsin depends on where in the state you would like to hunt. Some zones it does take several years to draw a tag, zone C can be drawn every other year. Deer buck tags and small game are sold over the counter. There are literally hundreds of thousands of acres of public hunting land that anyone with a license can hunt on. Growing up there,I could usually knock on a farmers door and get permission to hunt, but nowdays, even Wisconsin has fallen victim to the quality deer managment- big bucks are worth big money craze and much of the private land gets leased out.
     
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  10. Tanks

    Tanks AH Fanatic

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  11. Alistair

    Alistair AH Enthusiast

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    Ah, can't be that bad!

    I live in the UK, so gloomy winters are the norm, plus I do much of my hunting in Scotland in January, so used to that too. Possiblya bit more snow than I'm used to, but otherwise it'll be fine.

    Al.
     
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  12. wipartimer

    wipartimer AH Veteran

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    Please remember you said that next January- February ;)
     

  13. Alistair

    Alistair AH Enthusiast

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    Hah, will do!
     

  14. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    You have no idea. :Sorry: We were bidding a major proposal with Oshkosh as our primary Sub back around ten years ago. We decided to actually write it there since so much of the offering was built around their vehicle. I had a large team from one of my units there from early December until we submitted in late February. I was there a lot. :Banghead: If I God is truly merciful, I will never go back. :Nailbiting: The Oshkosh crowd did allege the area was lovely in the summer and during the three days of fall.
     
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  15. Alistair

    Alistair AH Enthusiast

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    Bah.

    What is it, 20F for the winter? Days are longer than they are here and snowfall doesn't look too bad. I've hunted in worse. First time I went after Hinds in Scotland I was there a week and it never got above 15F the whole time. Never stopped blowing a gale either. I was still out on the hill every day from dawn till dusk. It's character building!

    I think Texas is making you soft Red Leg!
     
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  16. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I grew up on the Louisiana Gulf coast, so I admit that my blood was highly refined from birth. Nevertheless, I think it more likely that you will come away from your American experience with a whole new appreciation for the Gulf Stream.
     
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  17. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I live in Wisconsin, there are lots of hunting opportunities. You can bow hunt for whitetail deer for over 3 months a year. You will have to pass a Hunter’s Safety Coarse. How many deer you can shoot depends where you hunt. There is a gun season for deer. Most of big sporting good stores sell maps marketed with public land to hunt. You will have opportunities to fill the freezer with venison. Waterfowl, pheasants, grouse, squirrels, coyotes, fox and other animals. Bear, elk and bobcat are harder to draw. Ontario is not that far away and offers plenty of black bear hunting for good prices with a guide. You can also hunt wolves in Ontario with a guide. Illinois is not that far away and has great hunting for whitetails too.
     
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  18. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I won't try to put you off, but I know in Minneapolis which is just a stone's throw from Wisconsin, 20F in the dead of winter would make the locals think spring was coming.
     
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  19. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Part of living in the winter is you have to be prepared for the winter you have to be ready for the ice and the snow. You have to have the right equipment, dress in layers and to be honest stay off the roads when it’s really bad out there. With 6 million people there are a lot of accidents and you don’t need to be involved in one of them. I mainly drive when the weather is nice, meaning no blizzards or major snowfalls. I do go to work on the bad days but take my time and plan a head. I have a 20 year old Ford F 150 4x4 for the bad weather.
     
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  20. Alistair

    Alistair AH Enthusiast

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    Sounds good. I didn't know there was elk in wisconsin? I definintely need to get in on that at some point, it's on the bucket list!

    Yeah, I think I'd be interested in a bit of out of state stuff as well, so long as it's easy enough to do.

    Where are you based enysse?

    Al.
     
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