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It would be simpler to tag deer than to explain a deer harvest authorization, but since hunters no longer are required to tag their deer, tags became authorizations.

Changes during the last several years might have left some hunters scratching their blaze orange coat sleeves as to how to legally take a deer carcass into possession.

Remember deer have to be registered by 5 p.m. the day following the kill. An animal shot Saturday must be registered by 5 p.m. on Sunday, and so on throughout the nine-day, gun deer season, and for all seasons that follow, too.

Registration can be handled by phone, computer or by stopping by one of many assist stations (usually businesses) where someone will all but do it for you, or at least provide the computer and talk you through the steps.

If you can shoot a deer, you should be able to register it or know where to obtain help, right?

Deer no longer have to be tagged, and that is one reason why the slip of paper that came with a license is now called a harvest authorization rather than a deer tag (and why these columns are no longer called DeerTags or BackTags).

One buck harvest authorization comes with each license, regardless of whether it is a patron’s, sports or regular gun deer license (archery license, too).

Hunters might also have been awarded one or more antlerless authorizations at the time of a license purchase. In other cases, or in addition, bonus antlerless authorizations might have been purchased along with the deer license.

When in a woods hunting, hunters shall carry some proof of having purchased a license. There are several ways to show a license was purchased, one being to carry a printed copy of the actual purchase.

Other options include carrying a Go Wild Card, an authenticated driver’s license or an electronic device displaying the license.

Any of those methods allows a field warden to access the hunter’s file and see what was purchased or approved along with the license.

Hunters themselves could look into their DNR file online and see what authorizations have been recorded as purchased or received. If there are no antlerless authorizations and some are desired, get them put on the license (or purchase if necessary).

Every authorization has a customer number, which is needed when registering a deer. Check to make sure the correct authorization is used for each situation. Printing on the top of the authorization says what can be registered, buck or antlerless deer and taken with gun or archery equipment.

This system is not new, so follow what you did last year or ask before the coffee gets cold.

Any questions? Call 1-888-WDNR-INFO, which is 1-888-936-7463.

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Jerry Davis writes daily DeerTrails 11 times during the nine-day, gun deer season. This is the third column. Reach out to him at sivadjam@mhtc.net or 608.924.1112.

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