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.
“Good communication between rural landowners and hunters is one of the biggest ways you can ensure a safe and enjoyable hunting season,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Executive Director of Governmental Relations Karen Gefvert. “If landowners are having issues with trespassers, they should call their county sheriff’s office as DNR wardens do not have the authority to investigate trespassing 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.
“It is also a good idea to contact surrounding landowners to get permission to retrieve killed or injured deer that have crossed property lines,” Gefvert 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.
“Hunters play an important role in managing our state’s deer herd, which is important to farmers,” said Gefvert.