Hunters, landowners must heed trespass law

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The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation wants to make sure hunters and rural landowners are aware of Wisconsin’s trespass law for the upcoming deer hunting season.

“Good communications between hunters and rural landowners can help ensure a safe and enjoyable hunting season,” said Paul Zimmerman, Farm Bureau’s Executive Director of Governmental Relations.

“Wisconsin’s trespass law states that you must have permission to hunt on someone’s land,” Zimmerman explained. “Some people still think that landowners must post a sign to prevent hunting on their land, but that law was changed in 1995. Today, you simply must have written or verbal permission to hunt on someone’s land.”

“If landowners are having issues with trespassers, they are to call their county sheriff’s office,” Zimmerman said. “DNR wardens do not have the authority to investigate trespassing complaints.”

Zimmerman also noted that 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.

The one exception (primarily found in northern Wisconsin) to the trespass law is the case of inholdings, which is private land that is surrounded by public land. In that situation, a landowner must post a sign to prevent hunting by the public.

“I wish hunters a successful hunting season because they are the best tool we have to manage our state’s deer herd,” Zimmerman said. “Rural landowners also have property rights that need to be respected. Adherence to the trespass law and open lines of communication will result in a successful hunt for all parties involved.”

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