Wisconsin Hunter Safety Course


Chapter 13: Wildlife ID

Being able to properly identify wildlife is a keystone of being a safe and ethical hunter. Every hunter must have basic wildlife ID skills in order to know which species is legal to harvest while out in the field.  For hunters, wildlife can be divided into 5 categories:

Big Game

Big game animals are mainly large mammals such as deer, moose, bear, etc. These animals will usually bear young once a year, or in rare cases once every few years. They are found in various habitats, but usually remain in wild or semi-rural areas. It can be difficult in some cases to distinguish males from females, though in most cases the females will be a little smaller than the males.

Most states have very specific regulations on hunting big game, including different seasons for the methods in which you are allowed to harvest the game. Always consult local regulations will in advance of the hunting season to find out about bag limits, dates, firearm restrictions, tagging and transporting requirements, etc.

Big Game in Wisconsin

White Tailed Deer

White Tail Deer
  • Males: 150-310 lb.
  • Females: 90-210 lb.
  • Found throughout most of the US in forests, woodlands and thick brush.
  • When alterted to danger, the deer raises its tail, exposing the white fur underneath.


  • Males and Females usually between 20 and 40 lb.
  • Resides mainly in light brush, grasslands, fields or other open areas.