This year there are 315 in-person registration stations of one sort or another for deer hunters to get help registering their deer, somewhat like all hunters used to do.
For many stations there is another primary purpose too, which is almost as important as the required registration. Some stations take gland samples, which are later taken to a laboratory and tested for the presence of chronic wasting disease prions. Without required in-person registration, there has been a drop in hunters getting their deer tested.
Deer aging is offered at some sites.
These volunteer stations simply help the hunters, if needed, plug the information into a computer or offer a phone where they can call in the information to complete the required registration. Such registrations get counted immediately without any additional human handling. They are in the electronic registration system just as those coming in from the field, home or while sitting inside a vehicle.
Other activities that might be offered at these stations include deer donations, meat processing, taxidermists’ advice, and sale of convenience items including food and gasoline. Those one-stop-shops are very handy for hunters who do not home-process their venison. It saves stopping at two or three locations to get everything done.
On the other hand, a hunter who home-processes can drive home, register the deer there and begin boning it out without leaving home unless there isn’t a location to dispose of the carcass for the birds and coyotes, foxes, skunks and an occasional opossum.
One of the first hunters to bring a deer to the Department of Natural Resources station in Barneveld opening morning got out of his truck and began walking toward a make-shift office in a trailer. His hunting buddy said he just likes to do it the old-fashioned way rather than phoning it in himself.
Most hunters have a plethora of questions that otherwise could go unanswered, unless they call the DNR at 888.936.7463 (888.WDNR INFo).
What are those deer with white collars? Do I really not need to attach a carcass tag? What’s the closest sample site? Have there been any sick-looking deer come through the line this morning?
For many hunters, maybe most, the phone system is the way to go until they run out of gas in their truck on the way home.
The volunteer station near Dodgeville, Kate’s Bait and Sporting Goods near Gov. Dodge State Park along Highway 23, sampled 80 deer opening weekend. About 25 of those hunters also registered their deer at the location.
In addition to Kate’s and the DNR station in Iowa County, hunters in that immediate area also have Uncle Jimmy’s Deer Processing just over the county line in Dane County. Up the road a piece, in Sauk County, McFarlanes’ in Sauk City helps out, too. Those, along with 311 others are willing and waiting. If help is not needed, the business can go about its own work to talk with the retired hunter who stopped just to see how the hunters were doing.