By: DNR Bureaus of Law Enforcement and Wildlife Management
Welcome to the second chapter of Warden Wire's feature FAQs: Special Edition - 2017 Gun-Deer Season. These special edition FAQs were taken by the DNR Call Center, the Department of Natural Resources' conservation wardens and the Bureau of Wildlife Management. Today's topics include hunting on public and private lands. The Call Center is staffed daily, 7 a.m. - 10 p.m., and offers bilingual service in Spanish and Hmong. The DNR Call Center staff is happy to help you with any and all of your questions. The number is 1-888-936-7463.
Question 1: What is the penalty for someone who harvests a deer in the correct zone and DMU but does not have the correct land-type specified on their tag?
Answer: This has not changed with the new rules. The penalty would be $222.90 plus the cost of a bonus antlerless deer tag they should have purchased for that land type ($12 for residents or $20 for non-residents).
Question 2: If someone in a group has an antlerless tag valid for use only on public land, will everyone else be able to participate under group hunting rules?
Answer: Yes. If the antlerless tag is valid for the DMU that the group is hunting (correct zone, DMU and land-type) and if all group members comply with all group deer hunting requirements, anyone in the group may participate in group hunting and fill an open antlerless tag. All members of the group must be using firearms and each must hold a regular gun deer license in addition to contact and tagging requirements. A person hunting with a bow or crossbow cannot shoot a deer for someone else to tag, or tag a deer shot by another.
Question 3: Will the Farmland Zone antlerless tag(s) included at no cost with the purchase of a deer hunting license need to be specified for use on public or private land?
Answer: Yes. Hunters are required to specify zone, DMU and land type (public or private) for all antlerless tags, including those that are issued with the purchase of a deer hunting license.
Question 4: Do bonus antlerless tags require the purchaser to indicate public or private land?
Question 5: If a person buys an antlerless tag valid for use on private land, is that person restricted to only shooting a deer that is actually on private land or is he/she able to shoot a deer that is on public land so long as the shot originates on private land?
Answer: Both the hunter and the deer must be located on private property. A hunter with a private lands tag cannot shoot a deer standing on public lands even if he/she is standing on private land.
Question 6: If a person plans to hunt on private land AND public land, which antlerless tag is that person required to have?
Answer: Hunters must specify land type on all antlerless tags. If a hunter wants to hunt both public and private land within a given DMU for antlerless deer, this could be accomplished by selecting one land type (public or private) for the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tag that is included with a deer license, and selecting the other type (public or private) for a bonus antlerless tag (if bonus tags of that land type are available in that DMU). If the DMU offers more than one Farmland Zone tag with each licenses, those tags could be divided among public and private lands. Buck tags are valid statewide in any zone and unit, including on both public and private lands.
Question 7: If a hunter possesses an antlerless tag for use on private lands, can that hunter access any private lands within the unit?
Answer: No. Trespassing laws exist and hunters need landowner permission prior to entering private land. There are lands enrolled under open Managed Forest Law, Forest Crop Law and Voluntary Public Access programs that allow public hunting access, but these lands are considered public lands for purposes of where antlerless deer tags are valid. Hunters must possess an antlerless tag for public lands to harvest antlerless deer on these “open” lands.
Question 8: If a hunter purchases a bonus antlerless tag for hunting public lands, can that person switch it to a private lands tag after the purchase?
Answer: Yes. A hunter may switch land types as long as there are antlerless tags available for the desired zone, DMU, and land type, and does so before the deer season is open. That hunter would also have to pay a $2 processing fee if picking up the tag at a Go Wild license agent. Once the exchange has been approved and posted to their Go Wild account by the department, customers may print the tags themselves at home for no charge.
Question 9: For people enrolled in open Managed Forest Law or Forest Crop Law programs and hunting their own land, should their antlerless tag be designated for use on public or private lands?
Answer: If all or part of the property is enrolled in Managed Forest Law, Forest Crop Law or Voluntary Public Access and open to public hunting, the landowner will need a public lands antlerless tag to hunt on land enrolled in one of these programs. If the property is enrolled in one of these programs but is closed to public hunting, or if the landowner plans to hunt on part of the property that is not enrolled in one of these programs, the landowner will need a private land designation on their antlerless tag.
Question 10: What are some resources for finding land open to the public for hunting?
Answer: Hunters can consult several resources to help determine where to hunt, including the Public Access Lands Atlas, the listing of Voluntary Public Access lands and the Managed Forest Law lands map. For more on other deer hunting topics, visit dnr.wi.gov and search “hunting regulations” or “deer.”
If you have information regarding natural resource violations, you may confidentially report by calling or texting: VIOLATION HOTLINE: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff relay report information to conservation wardens.