Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources makes it easier to enjoy the state's wild side

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Go Wild initiative encourages people to “Go Wild” by heading outdoors and enjoying recreational opportunities made possible by sound management of the state’s natural resources.

The Go Wild brand is a highly visible part of a customer licensing system that started in 2016, which makes it easier than ever for DNR customers to purchase licenses, register boats and recreational vehicles and get information on hunter education and safety classes. The system is available at more than 1,000 vendors statewide and through mobile devices at GoWild.Wi.Gov.

The system will store information online. Customers can purchase an optional conservation card, eliminating the need to carry the old thermal paper licenses. License options will include hunting licenses, fishing licenses, conservation patron licenses and boat, ATV and UTV registration renewals.

A large buck is seen pushing a doe in a hayfield in northeast Wisconsin last fall.  The large white-tailed buck survived last year's gun season and still roams the woods in northeast Wisconsin.

The DNR provided answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the Go Wild system. 

What do I carry with me as proof of my license?

Every completed transaction will provide a printable output. Customers will receive a sales receipt, license document, tags or harvest authorizations and operating passes in a printable format whether purchasing online or at one of more than 1,000 partnering vendors. Additionally, Go Wild provides other options for most licenses. 

Check the website or your regulations pamphlets to find out where you can use an optional conservation card or display permissions on your cell phone. The system also will allow you to use your Wisconsin driver’s license, if authenticated within the Go Wild system. While in the past customers purchased licenses and permits and were provided with thermal paper documentation, with the Go Wild system, these permissions are stored electronically and can be accessed in many convenient ways.

What about youth hunters who don’t have a driver’s license?

One of the best new features of Go Wild is flexibility. Youth and nonresidents have the option to purchase a conservation card to use as card documentation since the Wisconsin driver’s license is not an option. Other options include using the display from a mobile device or using the printable documents provided through all sales channels.

Will you have your hunter education identification on your card?

Yes! All hunter safety certificates will be accessible via the conservation card and authenticated Wisconsin driver’s license and also will be printed on your license documents.  Customers will have the option to print a single certificate “card” from their account at any time.

How do I validate my harvest, what do I punch without a harvest tag? 

When you purchase your license, either at a vendor or at home, you will receive a printed paper copy of your harvest permits or authorizations, such as spring turkey or deer. Each tag (bear, sharp-tailed grouse and sturgeon) will include instructions and a “validation stub” that must be removed to validate the tag. However, deer and turkey tags/authorizations no longer need to be validated or attached to the harvest, and a conservation card, authenticated WI driver’s license or digital file displayed on a mobile device are acceptable forms of deer tags and turkey harvest authorizations.

How do I register a harvest if I am not carrying a paper tag or harvest authorization? 

Paper tags or authorizations contain a unique tag authorization number that is required to start the registration process. You can also find a list of your tag authorization numbers in the GameReg section of your Go Wild account.

Will all states be doing this so another state will know my license and history? 

Hunting regulations and licenses are established at the state level so you would still need to buy a separate license in others states and follow those procedures. Some states already have electronic license sales and access while others do not.

What if I don’t hunt or fish?

GoWild.Wi.Gov is the gateway to outdoor recreation in Wisconsin. The website includes access to information on camping, details on outdoor activities, information on state parks and links to land maps, to name a few.