With the upcoming deer hunting season, hunters and rural landowners should be aware of Wisconsin’s trespass law. Wisconsin’s trespass law states that you must have written or verbal permission to hunt on someone’s land.

“Good communication between hunters and rural landowners will ensure a safe and enjoyable hunting season,” Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Executive Director of Governmental Relations Paul Zimmerman said. “If landowners are having issues with trespassers, they are to call their county sheriff’s office. 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.

There are two exceptions to when permission is needed to enter private land:

  1. Land enrolled as ‘open’ in the Managed Forest Law program; however, land enrolled in the ‘closed’ Managed Forest Law program does require permission.
  2. 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,” Zimmerman added. “Adherence to the trespass law and open lines of communication will result in a successful hunt for everyone.”

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