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

Hound dog training


Hounds baying up a tree.

Hound dog training license is required to train on certain furbearer species. In addition, rabbit/hare, coyote and fox may be purchased, possessed or used for dog training purposes if held in a permitted hound dog training enclosure.

Note: In addition to needing a hound dog training license, a hound dog trialing enclosure permit is required to possess and use captive wild rabbits/hares, fox or coyote for dog training purposes. Unless the hound dog training enclosure is covered under a dog club training license or a dog trial license, individuals that release or train their dogs on rabbits, hares, fox or coyote within a hound dog training enclosure must possess an individual hound dog training license.

The license does not authorize commercial or organized shoots, selling, breeding or propagating of animals or training of dogs with the use of captive black bear on DNR lands.

Individuals issued a bird dog training license are subject to the following requirements. The licensee must:

  • be in possession of the license and make the license available to any DNR conservation warden or other authorized DNR agent upon request while engaged in hound dog training; and
  • train only on the properties or areas identified and approved on the license.

See section on Care and Treatment of Birds and Animals in the Wisconsin hound dog & dog club training regulations [PDF] and the Captive Wildlife Pen Specifications & Transportation Standards [PDF].

Hound dog training on free-roaming wild animals

Except as described below, any person may train hound dogs on free-roaming wild animals without a dog training license.


  • All dogs must be kept on a leash from April 15-July 31 on all DNR public hunting lands with the exception of Class I dog training grounds and certain Class II dog training grounds where approved on the dog training permit.
  • Except where prohibited in state parks, campgrounds, natural areas and other posted areas, from July 1 to the following April 14, hound dogs may be trained on free-roaming raccoons and rabbits on DNR lands without a leash.
  • Northern Restricted Zone: Dog training on any captive or free-roaming wild animal in the northern restricted zone is prohibited May 1 to June 30 on all lands except as follows for raccoons and rabbits only (all the following must apply):
    • the licensee applies for and receives a hound dog training or trialing license;
    • the licensee complies with any restrictions placed on a license to prevent the intentional or unintentional pursuit of wild bear;
    • the licensee may list up to three townships in the same or adjoining counties for training purposes;
    • the DNR approves the property locations listed; and
    • no more than two dogs in a single pack may be used to pursue raccoon or rabbit for training purposes regardless of the number of persons assisting or accompanying the hound dog training license holder and regardless of the dog ownership.
  • Bear dog training period: An individual may ONLY use dogs to pursue free-roaming wild bear from July 1 to August 31 and provided:
    • the person possesses a class A or B bear hunting license or is under age 12 (a hound training dog training license is then not required);
    • each dog is uniquely tattooed or wears a collar with the owner's name and address attached; and
    • no more than six dogs in a single pack may be used to pursue bear regardless of the number of persons assisting the licensee and regardless of the dog ownership. Note: Bears may not be pursued where prohibited in state parks, state campgrounds, state natural areas or other posed or restricted areas.
  • No person engaged in training dogs may kill or cause to be killed any free-roaming wild animal including unprotected wild animals without department approval.

Regulations and applications

Last revised: Wednesday February 08 2017