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Contact information
For information on the dog training and trialing, contact:
Jaqi Christopher
Assistant upland ecologist
Bureau of Wildlife Management
608-261-8458

Dog training and trialing

training

Training a gun dog with live birds increases the likelihood of a successful harvest of game during the hunting season.

Dog training has deep roots in hunting and conservation culture. In order to develop dogs that can reliably hunt and recover game, it is vital to train with a variety of game under varying conditions. It is important that dog trainers and clubs know the rules concerning use of game during training to both support wildlife conservation and stay out of trouble with the law. Many state and federal laws and regulations apply to the importation, possession, use and disposal of game used in training and field events. These rules serve two general purposes: to protect the health and welfare of native wildlife populations in Wisconsin, and to ensure that hunting regulations are enforceable.

Dog training refers to any teaching or exercising activity involving sporting dogs in which the primary purpose is to enhance field and/or water performance. Sporting dogs are utilized for hunting game birds and game mammals and include breeds as pointers, setters, retrievers and hounds.

Regulations governing the training of sporting dogs vary according to what species the dogs are being trained with and where the training takes place. In addition, the department also issues permits for dog trials occurring on both public and private land.

Map - Dog training areas

Map of dog training areasDog training on state land is allowed on designated Class I and Class II dog training grounds. Class I grounds are open year-round for dog training activities and trainers may use equine animals on approved land. Class II grounds are those areas approved for dog training, but may have specific regulations. Many Class II areas are closed April 15-July 31 to protect nesting birds. Use the map of dog training areas and the list of dog training areas by county[PDF] to find your nearest training ground and see site-specific regulations.

Notice: Many current browsers do not open PDF files on their own. If you experience trouble opening the PDF documents below, visit the PDF Help page which provides instruction on how to open PDF files using Adobe Reader.

Training licenses

Rules and regulations

A bird dog, hound dog and dog club training license authorizes the licensee to purchase, possess, release and use certain captive-bred species for dog training purposes. A training license does not allow for commercial shoots, selling, breeding or propagating of animals.

Bird dog training license

A bird dog training license [PDF] allows you to purchase, possess, release and shoot the following species for dog training purposes:

  • captive bred quail of the subfamily odontophorinae,
  • gray partridge,
  • chukar partridge,
  • red-legged partridge,
  • mallard duck and
  • ring-necked or Reeves pheasants.

A bird dog training license costs $25 and is valid until the third December 31st after the date of issuance. For more information and regulations, visit the bird dog and dog club training webpage.

Hound dog training license

A hound dog training license [PDF] allows you to:

The hound dog training application is the application for 3 types of licenses: hound dog training, dog club training and bird/hound dog trialing. Please use a separate copy for each type of license.

A hound dog training license costs $25 and is valid until the third December 31st after the date of issuance. For more information and regulations, visit the hound dog and dog club training webpage.

Dog club training license

A dog club training license [PDF] is issued to an organization that owns or leases land for the purpose of training bird or hound dogs to retrieve, point, flush or track game. A dog club training license allows the members of a club to purchase, possess and use approved captive wild animals for dog training on the club training grounds. This license cannot be used on Class I and II dog training grounds. The dog club training application is the application for 3 types of licenses: hound dog training, dog club training and bird/hound dog trialing. Please use a separate copy for each type of license.

A dog club license costs $100 and is valid until the third December 31st after the date of issuance.

A dog club must consist of 2 or more people, one of whom is at least 14 years old. All members must be eligible to participate in legal dog training activities. A list of club members must be kept in writing and made available to the department upon request. For more information and regulations, visit the bird dog and dog club training webpage, or the hound dog and dog club training webpage.

Reports and record keeping

Each person holding a dog training or trial license must keep a record by date of all captive wild animals that are purchased, acquired, transferred, have died, been killed or have escaped. An annual report [PDF] is required for all license holders, while quarterly reports [PDF] are required for transactions pertaining to bobcat, coyote and fox. See the regulations for more information:

Trialing licenses

Rules, regulations and licensing

A dog trialing license authorizes the licensee and participants to engage in an organized, competitive field event that involves sporting dog breeds. The event must be sanctioned, licensed or recognized by a local, state, regional or national dog organization. A dog trialing license does not allow for commercial shoots, selling, breeding or propagating of animals.

The dog trial application and license is the application for 3 types of licenses: hound dog training, dog club training and bird/hound dog trialing. Please use a separate copy for each type of license.

Bird dog trial license

A bird dog trial license allows the licensee and participants to purchase, possess and use for dog trialing purposes:

  • captive bred quail of the subfamily odontophorinae,
  • gray partridge,
  • chukar partridge,
  • red-legged partridge,
  • mallard duck and
  • ring-necked and Reeves pheasants.

A bird dog trial license costs $25 and is valid until the first December 31st following the date of issuance.

Hound dog trial license

A hound dog trial license allows the licensee and participants to:

A hound dog trial license costs $25 and is valid until the first December 31st following the date of issuance.

Application

Dog trial applications should be sent to the wildlife biologist or DNR service center nearest the trial grounds. Applications must be submitted 10 days before the trialing event. For trials prior to July 31, applications should be submitted by March 1st. Applications for trials after July 31 should be submitted by July 1. After these deadlines, applications will be considered on a first come/first serve basis. Trials can only be conducted on lands specified on the approved license.

DNR Lands

Dog trialing on state land is allowed on designated Class I and Class II dog training grounds. See the map of dog training areas for all the dog trialing areas on state land. Class I field training grounds include the following:

  1. Richard Bong State Recreation Area - the west unit of the special use zone
  2. George W. Mead Wildlife Area
  3. Lower Wisconsin River Wildlife Area - Mazomanie Unit
  4. Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit
  5. Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest - Ottawa Unit
  6. Pine Island Wildlife Area

Dog trials may occur on other DNR lands if approved by the property manager. Trialing with captive bears is not allowed on any department land. Equines may only be used if authorized on the trial license.

Reports and record keeping

Each person holding a dog training or trial license must keep a record by date of all captive wild animals that are purchased, acquired, transferred, have died, been killed or have escaped. An annual report [PDF] is required for all license holders, while quarterly reports [PDF] are required for transactions pertaining to bobcat, coyote and fox. See the Dog trialing regulations [PDF] for more information.

Last revised: Wednesday January 31 2018