A safe and successful hunting season begins with hunters and rural landowners understanding Wisconsin’s trespass law. According to the law, individuals who wish to hunt on land owned by someone else must obtain written or verbal permission.
“Clear communication between hunters and rural landowners is an important measure to ensure a safe and enjoyable hunting season,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Executive Director of Governmental Relations Keith Ripp. “Landowners experiencing issues with trespassers should call their local sheriff’s office; DNR wardens do not have the authority to investigate trespass complaints.”
Hunters are required to make a reasonable effort to retrieve game they have killed or injured, but hunters may not trespass to retrieve such game.
“Contacting surrounding landowners ahead of time to get permission to retrieve a killed or injured deer that has crossed property lines is a preventative measure to avoid a potentially stressful situation,” Ripp added.
There are two exceptions to when permission is not needed to enter private land:
- Land enrolled as ‘open’ in the Managed Forest Law program; however, land enrolled in the ‘closed’ Managed Forest Law program does require permission.
- Land considered ‘inholdings’, which is private land that is surrounded by public land. Landowners must post a sign to prevent hunting by the public on such land. This is primarily found in northern Wisconsin.
“Managing our state’s deer herd is important to Wisconsin farmers,” said Ripp. “Knowing the trespass law and open communication are key measures to ensuring a safe season for hunters and landowners alike.”