By: Bureau of Law Enforcement
Welcome to a special edition of a popular Warden Wire feature -- the Frequently Asked Questions. During the days before -- and during -- the November 17 - 25 gun-deer hunting season in Wisconsin, Warden Wire will carry Frequently Asked Questions dealing specifically with this deer hunt season. Today is the first installment of these special edition FAQs taken by the DNR Call Center. The Call Center is staffed daily, 7 a.m. - 10 p.m., and offers bilingual service in Spanish and Hmong. The number is 1-888-936-7463.
Question 1: After removing a tree stand completely from state-owned public hunting land at the end of the hunting hours, is there a specific time hunters can put the tree stand back up for the next hunting day?
Answer: There is no set time after midnight that a person must honor before putting up a tree stand. But, if a hunter leaves the tree stand unattended, the tree stand shall have the owner's department customer identification number or the owner's name and address, written in the English language, attached to the tree stand in a manner so it is clearly visible to a person standing on the ground. The identification notice left on the tree stand shall be kept legible at all times. And it must be removed completely from the property at the close of hunting hours each day.
Question 2: Who handles trespass violations?
Answer: Landowners who suspect their properties are being trespassed should contact their local sheriff’s department or other local law enforcement agency. Conservation wardens do not have the authority to investigate trespassing complaints. Any person convicted of trespassing is subject to a penalty of up to $1,397.50. According to s. 943.13, of the Wisconsin Statutes: it is illegal to enter land of another without the expressed or implied consent of the owner or occupant of the land. This includes railroad tracks and their adjacent property. Also, it is illegal to enter or remain on land after having been notified by the owner or occupant not to enter or remain. A person has received notice from the owner or occupant if he or she has been notified personally, either orally or in writing, or if the land is posted. Remember: Although hunters are required to make a reasonable effort to retrieve game they have killed or injured, hunters may not trespass to retrieve such game, even if the game was shot from outside the posted area. Ask first for permission.
Question 3: I have a hypothetical question. The hunter shoots a deer, but is unable to find it before sunset. The hunter finds the deer the following morning. However, the hunter discovers that the deer's hind quarters have been eaten by coyotes. Does the hunter tag the deer??
Answer: The hunter is to tag and register the deer. A hunter who kills any deer, must validate their tag and place it on the deer, no matter what the condition of the carcass. This is clearly the obligation under s. 29.347(2), Wis. Stats. and s. NR 10.103(2), Wis. Adm. Code. A deer license provides an opportunity, not a promise of edible meat, or any meat at all. If the deer carcass is not in a condition that is appropriate for transport or presenting to a registration station due to decay or missing parts, the hunter should contact the local warden or wildlife biologist for instructions and assistance in registering the deer. Once registered, the hunter can keep the antlers or other salvageable parts of the carcass. It is not legal to simply cut of the antlers or head without tagging and registering the deer first.
Question 4: If someone gets hurt while hunting on another person’s land, is the landowner held liable?
Answer: Under sec. 895.52 of the Wisconsin Statutes, landowners are generally immune from liability for injuries received by individuals recreating on their lands. This law provides liability protection to landowners for injury or death of individuals participating in outdoor recreation on their land. This includes activities such as fishing, hunting, trapping, hiking, camping, boating and berry-picking. This immunity does not apply when the landowner receives more than $2,000 a year in income from the recreation activity or when the landowner acted maliciously with an intent to harm the person recreating. There also is an exception for social guests invited specifically for an occasion on residential or platted property or property within 300 feet of a commercial building or structure. Courts have consistently interpreted this statute to protect landowners in furtherance of its purpose, which is to encourage landowners to allow others to recreate on their lands. This statute applies to the landowners of Managed Forest Law (MFL) lands as well.
Question 5: I am calling in regard to the solid blaze orange material that needs to be visible on a ground blind used on DNR-owned or -managed lands. Would this requirement also pertain to hunters on their private land?
Answer: The requirement for blaze orange on blinds applies only to blinds placed on lands under the ownership, management or control of the DNR. However, it does not apply to blinds made solely of dead vegetation found on the property nor does it apply to tree stands or other elevated stands. This rule also generally applies to those private lands leased by the DNR for public hunting, such as Voluntary Public Access properties. This rule does not apply to federal, county or municipal lands open to hunting, or to private lands not leased by the DNR for public hunting. It also does not apply to privately owned lands that are enrolled in the state's Managed Forest Law (MFL) or Forest Crop Law (FCL) programs. At least 144 square inches of blaze orange material must be visible when looking at the blind from any angle, the full 360 degrees around the blind. When the ground blind is left unoccupied, the owner must post their DNR customer identification number or name and address written legibly in English somewhere in a conspicuous spot on the outside of the structure and near its entry.