Notable Events in Wisconsin’s Wildlife & Hunting History
Pre-hunting History: 1804/05
- Approximately 933 deer hides from area of Iron,
Oneida, and Vilas Counties traded by Indians through French clerk at Lac du Flambeau.
- Last bison killed in Wisconsin (anywhere east of Mississippi) in Trempealeau
County. The Blackhawk War ended August 27, 1832 opening Wisconsin to European
settlers. Deer numbers likely began to decrease in southern Wisconsin and increase
in northern Wisconsin.
- Lafayette County, first reported crop damage by deer.
- Last caribou seen in Ashland County.
- Wisconsin becomes a state.
- Hunting season for prairie chicken, ruffed grouse, quail, and woodcock
open for 6 months.
- First game laws, little enforcement for them. First time deer protected,
season closed for 5 months. Indians permitted to hunt at any time.
- Deep snow along the Wisconsin-Illinois border caused starvation of many deer
that far south, and farmers killed many deer with clubs. Sale of sharp-tailed
grouse, prairie chicken, ruffed grouse, or quail prohibited.
1856 - Wild turkeys sold for $0.25 a piece in Lancaster, Grant County.
1857 - "Deer have become so lean by starvation that their flesh is not
marketable" - Grant County Herald. All birds, nests, and eggs protected on
any cemetery or burial ground.
- Indians permitted to hunt at any time. Possession of protected game
- Market hunting for deer very common. Wild turkey’s rare.
- The lumbering industry began to employ deer hunters to shoot for their
camps. For the first time in history, ducks were protected in Wisconsin with
a closed season on wood ducks between Dec 1 and the first Tuesday in July.
- For the first time in history; muskrat, mink, otter, beaver, marten,
and fisher seasons were closed (closed for 6 months).
- State financed bounties on wolves established.
- State financed bounties on bobcat (wildcat) and lynx established.
Woodcock season 5 months long. Ruffed grouse, prairie chicken, and quail
season 4 months long. All game bird nests and eggs protected, except those of passenger pigeons.
- Possession, sale, and transportation of venison prohibited during
- Deer laws did not affect Indians on their own reservations.
- Set guns prohibited (1869- ). All insect eating birds protected
within two miles of any incorporated city.
- Door is the first county to prohibit use of dogs for hunting deer.
Peshtigo forest fire burned 1,280,000 acres in northeastern Wisconsin.
Largest described passenger pigeon nesting event, covered approximately 850
square miles in south central Wisconsin.
- Duck eggs protected from March through June. Use of nets, traps, and
snares prohibited statewide (except for taking passenger pigeons). Swivel and
pivot guns outlawed for duck and goose hunting.
- Traps and snares for deer prohibited (1875- ). Poison legalized for
killing wolves and bobcat November 10-December 20.
- Hunting deer with dogs prohibited statewide, "local laws" superseded
"general laws" so dog hunting still permitted by local law in some counties
until at least 1905. Landowner's consent required to hunt any wild animal in
- Unlawful to disturb or kill passenger pigeons within three miles of
their roost. All insect eating birds and their eggs protected statewide.
Snare, nets, and traps permitted for taking ducks.
- Nets and spring guns prohibited (1878- ). Exportation of grouse,
and prairie chicken prohibited.
- Exportation of deer prohibited.
- Allowed to kill deer for food purposes only in Door County.
- Beaver dropped from the protected species list. Shipping of upland
game birds out of state permitted for commercial purposes.
- State intermittently paid bounties for red fox.
- Last native wild turkey reported killed, Lafayette County.
- First resort, built in northeastern Wisconsin on Lac Vieux Desert lake.
- Shining deer prohibited.
- Cougar killed in Ashland County.
- Killing deer permitted "only for food"; estimated that 10,000 deer
were shipped out of the state, a large number of which were shipped to Chicago
despite the law, and labeled “mutton”.
- Game slaughter reported in Peshtigo and Pike River areas of Marinette
County, Marinette News recommended "Game Constables". Last known successful
mass nesting of passenger pigeons in Wisconsin, southeastern Langlade County,
reported to cover 40 acres.
- A newspaper tells of the oldest and most experienced hunter in the
vicinity of Eau Claire killing 3 tons of venison. Last native elk reported killed.
- Nighttime hunting of deer prohibited statewide (1887- ). First
actual game wardens (2) appointed by governor, with a monthly salary of $50.
Hunting from open water or from boats and sink boxes prohibited. Muskrats
dropped from the protected species list. Wisconsin became the first state
in the nation to prohibit killing birds for millinery purposes. Last known
attempt at nesting by passenger pigeons in Wisconsin, near Wautoma; efforts
destroyed by shooting.
- The use of dogs again permitted during the deer season. Game laws
to be published in pamphlet form.
- Use of guns not discharged from shoulder prohibited.
- Reports of deer scarcity in northern counties. Two additional wardens hired.
- Movement by sportsmen to close deer season for five years.
First chief warden appointed.
- Hunting deer with dogs again prohibited.
- Mink dropped from the protected species list.
- Hunter killed by a set gun near Chelsea.
- Lawful for any person to kill any dog running or hunting deer.
Hunting deer with dogs common. First open season for Mongolian and Chinese pheasants.
- Warden reported wolves and lynx killing many deer in northern Wisconsin.
- Hotels and restaurants could not serve venison during closed
- Phillips forest fire burned 100,000 acres in Price County.
- Sheboygan is the first county closed to deer hunting.
- Although nighttime hunting prohibited, "nighttime" defined further
by statute as time between 1 hour after sunset to 1 hour before sunrise.
- Deer carcasses could not be transported unless accompanied by owner.
- Last October deer season until 1996. Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a
decision handed down October 13, 1896, held that what was supposed to be our
fish and game laws for 1895-1896, never had passed the legislature (legally),
and therefore was null; consequently laws of 1893 deemed in force, and deer
season dates were October 1-November 1, and not November 1-20. Sudden court
decision during middle of season confused no small number of deer hunters;
number of hunters, particularly nonresidents, reduced.
- First deer hunting license required; resident $1.00; nonresident $30.00
(same ratio today would equal $720 non-resident deer license). Licenses sold
only in "counties frequented by deer" (northern counties). Hunting without
license fine $50 to $200; illegal transportation of deer fine $100 to $500;
false swearing fine $500 to $1,000. Possession of skins in the red, or
spotted coat, unlawful. Wolves reported as being numerous. Moose killed in
either Bayfield or Douglas County. First otter season, October 1 to June 30.
State ownership of game established.
- Killing deer on ice prohibited.
- Killing deer in water areas prohibited.
- Disastrous forest fires occurred in northwestern Wisconsin.
- Hunting License required to hunt game of any kind. Height of lumbering
production. Nonresident small game license established. Last passenger pigeon
in Wisconsin shot in Wood County.
- Home consumption of deer after the season, permitted by written
- High-power guns popular. The Federal Lacey Act prohibited interstate
commerce of game killed in violation of local laws. Founding of the Wisconsin
Game Protection Association in Milwaukee to assist in the creation and enforcement
of game laws. They pledged to fight monopolies and political corruption as it
affected hunters. First state park established; Interstate Park in Polk County.
- Dogs found running deer declared public nuisance. Few native moose existed.
Deer required to be tagged. Nongame birds protected by Audubon model law.
- The U.S. Biological Survey reported that the wood duck faced possible
- Beginning of state forest protection organization. Sale or barter of
protected game prohibited.
- Resident hunting licenses issued only to persons 12 years of age or older.
- Resident licenses issued to settlers by state game warden.
- Sale of venison prohibited.
- Beginning of forestry in Wisconsin.
- Hunting deer with dogs prohibited (1905- ). 3.3% of Wisconsin’s
population were licensed hunters.
- Use of salt licks prohibited.
- Twenty caribou released by Brule River, Douglas County.
- First extensive closing of counties to deer hunting; 36 southern counties
closed. First closed season on moose. A lynx reported killed in Dane County.
National Conservation Commission formed by president Theodore Roosevelt.
- Hunting with dogs or having dogs in possession prohibited in open
counties during deer season.
- Use of elevated scaffold prohibited.
- 1,209,432 acres burned in forest fires. Cougar reported killed in Douglas County.
- For first time, residents limited to taking one deer. The first game
farm law created, "The Fish and Game Warden may issue permits to breed or
domesticate deer, moose, elk, and caribou...". Cougar reported seen in Marinette County.
Wisconsin Fish and Game Protective Association organized (incorporated in 1916).
First civil service exam given on a competitive basis for prospective wardens,
no longer political appointees. First complete closure of spring waterfowl hunting.
- Age limit of licensee - 15 years, citizenship required.
- Deer populations drop to record low numbers due to unregulated hunting
and market shooting.
- First fire lanes established. Forest protection plan developed.
- Gray wolves common in northern Wisconsin.
- Trapping of otter prohibited.
- First closed season on elk. First state operated game farm established
at Trout Lake (elk and deer). A carload of 14 elk was shipped from Yellowstone
National Park to a 300-acre enclosure at the game farm; only two survived the trip.
- First 1 buck only law, “...probably no other act gave greater guarantee
to the future of the deer harvest", Ernest Swift 1946. Game (deer, elk, moose...)
farmers' license issued. "One-half of all deer killed are killed by market hunters".
First game refuge established; two townships closed in Forest County. Federal
migratory game bird laws enacted; sunrise-sunset shooting hours enacted for
first time. Sale of deer and birds (protected by closed seasons) prohibited.
Wood ducks and woodcock protected year round for the first time. State
Conservation Commission (SCC) formed; Chapter 406, Laws of 1915.
Wisconsin’s black bear population probably at its lowest.
- Deer tags established. Thirty-six conservation wardens employed; working
mostly on foot and train, 25 motorcycles and a couple of automobiles. Comment
on returning to the one-buck law, SCC "Something had to be done to save our deer,
as settlements are fast encroaching on the wilderness and the fast increasing
population (humans) is narrowing the area of their habitation."
- License required of guides and trappers, trappers required to report fur
taken. SCC empowered to reduce game laws as to manner, numbers, places, and
times of taking game, upon petition filed and the holding of public hearings.
SCC stated: "A one-buck law is the only law that will protect the deer and
provide an annual open season". Legislature rejected one-buck law.
SCC consisting of three people delegated some powers related to deer season,
but legislature retains authority to set seasons. "Does any man (sic)
contend that these animals can stand that sort of killing?" Chairman of State
Conservation Commission, W.E. Barber. Deer tags (paper) required for first
time; cost $0.10. Indians hunting, fishing, or trapping off Indian reservation
lands subject to all game laws. No person while hunting or in possession
of firearms, could have in possession any light for purpose of hunting
deer (1917- ). Moose seen in Ashland County. Second carload of elk,
32 cows and 8 bulls, secured from Jackson Hole, Wyoming and shipped
to the game farm at Trout Lake. A closed season established for prairie
chicken, grouse, and upland game birds. First game refuge laws created.
- Statement in a Biennial Report regarding the increasing popularity
of the automobile; “Deer, as well as other wild game, have a new weapon pointed
at them, more deadly than powder and bullets, and much harder to escape, as
the range is long and it reaches out into the remote districts where deer
once found refuge safe from the pursuit of the hunter. The automobile has
annihilated this space, and distance will no longer protect them”.
- Wisconsin deer herd probably at its lowest.
- Home consumption of deer permitted anytime.
- Fawns protected by Commission Order pursuant to power authorized in
1917-first use of this power. The federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act between
Canada and the United States executed.
- "A one-buck law is essential to the deer supply, and at the close of
the 1921 season, deer probably will be wiped out". Unlawful to alter deer tags.
The first open season for gray (Hungarian) partridge.
- Hound hunting and market hunting disappear; forests regrow; wardens
more effective; and deer numbers increase.
- First use of metal deer tags, to be fastened "at the hock joint back
of the tendon and around the leg"; cost $0.10. Serving venison in resorts
fairly common as late as 1920.
- "Our instructions to the conservation wardens are that all deer found
in possession of a hunter, with horns less than 3 inches in length, is a fawn
and should be confiscated". Moose found swimming in Allouez Bay, Douglas County.
The Wisconsin Legislature established the Conservation Fund provided by fish
and game license sales. Trapping of American marten prohibited (1921- ).
Fisher declared extirpated.
- "Deer are destined sooner or later to cease to be a game animal in
Wisconsin” W.E. Barber. Last known wolverine trapped in Sawyer County.
- First year-round closed deer season. Last known American marten taken in Douglas County.
- Alternate annual open and closed deer seasons established by Legislature.
- The Conservation Act established the Wisconsin Conservation Department
(WCD: Forestry and Parks, Fish Propagation, Game Law Enforcement) with 6 person
1928 - At Peninsula State Park, a State Experimental Game and Fur Farm created,
marking the beginning of the Department’s pheasant stocking program. Game
Division of Wisconsin Conservation Department created, Wallace Grange was
hired as the first “Game Superintendent”.
- Deer hunters required to wear official conservation button while hunting.
1929 - Survey undertaken by wardens and sportsmen revealed the following counties
as having no deer: Brown, Buffalo, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green, Jefferson
, Kenosha, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Lafayette, Milwaukee, Outagamie, Pierce, Rock,
Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, and Waushara. First licensing of deer farms.
Migratory Bird Treaty Act amended to authorize the purchase of waterfowl refuges.
Thirty-nine pen-reared game farm turkeys released in Sauk and Grant counties.
- Forest fire devastation brought under control.
- First game census card return required of hunters. Use of bow and arrow
authorized (1931- ).
- First annual Legislative appropriation for deer and bear damage -
$12,000 in each year in which open season occurs.
- Moose seen in Douglas County. First emergency action taken by the
Wisconsin Conservation Commission to reduce the duck season length by 35 days;
the population status of ducks and coots indicated action was necessary.
- Commission given power to set open season dates on all game. Aldo
Leopold hired to start a game management program at the University of Madison,
becoming the first person in the country to have the title “Professor of Game
- First bow and arrow (archery) deer season held in the United States
(Columbia and Sauk Counties only). First gun bear season. The State
Conservation Commission (the predecessor of the Natural Resources Board)
created the Conservation Congress. Game Committees formed for the first
time to advise the WCD on fish and game (deer) rules. The State Experimental
Game and Fur Farm moved to its present (2008) location in Poynette. Federal
Duck Stamp law was passed.
- Successful archers prohibited to hunt during the gun deer season.
- Mandatory beaver registration.
- Legislation passed allowing state to fence areas having continuous deer
damage. Winter of 1935-1936 very severe; deer starvation in 6 northern counties;
"somewhat alarming starvation losses noted." U.S. Forest Service requested
removal of 14,000 deer by controlled hunting in the Chequamegon area of
Ashland, Price, and Sawyer Counties. Save the Deer Club (Hayward) formed,
"would soon seriously depopulate, if not exterminate, the deer in Wisconsin."
Statewide feeding becomes standard WCD policy. Wardens put out feed of
hay, grain, and concentrates (pellets). Teaching of conservation required
- CCC deer census drives began; counts averaged 30 deer per section.
- The Wisconsin Conservation Department propagated and released raccoons.
- Shortest gun deer season on record, 3 days. Voluntary Sportsmen's
License established with a minimum age requirement of 15; portions of fund to
be used for acquiring refuges and public hunting grounds. Moose seen in
Florence County. Having a deer season every year caused some of the public
to predict that deer would soon pass with the buffalo and passenger pigeon!
- Turkey season in Adams and Sauk Counties. Aldo Leopold formed the
Department of Wildlife Management; changing the title from Game Management
to Wildlife Management, and becoming the first academic department in the
world dedicated specifically to wildlife management.
- Use of .22 rifle and .410 gauge shotgun, incendiary or tracer
- Archery hunting for migratory waterfowl permitted. American marten
- Use of buckshot prohibited for first time.
– Unlawful to possess venison year round.
- Licensees between ages of 12 and 16 required to be accompanied
by parent or guardian while hunting.
- Specialized survey of deer yards began under Pittman-Robertson research project.
- Protection of albino or white deer at all times.
- WCD Research on deer, "...all indicate that the hunting season illegal
kill approximates the legal kill and may be even higher." Nonresident Archer
License established. Wisconsin Bowhunters Association organized.
Deer predators uncommon, gray wolves nearing extinction.
- Back tags while hunting first required by Commission Order. Heavy loss
of fawns by starvation. Probable date when deer herd reached peak. Citizens
Deer Committee for survey of deer yards appointed. Trap tags required.
First archery bear season; open in 51 counties. Wisconsin Conservation Department
released black bear cubs in Door County.
- Additional funds were needed annually to provide for increased deer
and bear damage.
- First doe and fawn season in 24 years. Deer tag revenue earmarked by the
Legislature for deer yard purchase and deer feeding ($0.50 from sale of each $1 tag).
Use of buck shot legal. All hunters must report the number of each game animal
harvested to the Conservation Commission by the following February 1. Meat
rationing because of WWII causes more people to eat venison. The Conservation
Congress appoints a Citizen's Deer Committee to take an independent look at
deer management; committee includes Aldo Leopold as chairman. Their first
report included, "The herd should be reduced to carrying capacity of the
good winter foods. Reducing the herd means reducing antlerless deer."
“Why we must take more deer now.”, narrative in regulations pamphlet.
- First annual opening of any deer season in agricultural counties.
Buckshot prohibited for hunting deer (1944- ). "Save Wisconsin Deer"
committee organized; newspaper published. Archers must still report deer
kills to warden. "A heavy feeding program...did not remove in the least the
browse pressure on natural forage.” from WCD Quarterly Report commenting on
the poor condition of deer yards. “No one but the farmers, foresters and
biologists worry about too many deer. Nearly everyone wants as many deer
as possible, if not more.", Ernest Swift. Summer wildlife inquiry survey
- Annual deer kill based on special deer hunter poll.
- No license required for servicemen living in Wisconsin for duration of
World War II. Law enacted requiring 50% of clothing be red while deer hunting.
First use of shotgun only, loaded with ball or slug in certain counties as
control measure. Home consumption of deer permitted at any time (1945- ).
Following World War II, camping, outdoor recreation, and state park
development significantly increased.
- Spring trapping season for bear.
- First aerial survey of deer concentration.
- Survey of deer damage to forest reproduction began. More than 6,000
illegal deer kills found in 502,000 acres in central Wisconsin.
- Strung bow in car prohibited.
- Owner required to accompany deer.
- 10-point doe killed in Taylor County. Killing of deer on ice permitted
(1948- ). Occupation of hunters: 37% Farmers; 14% Businessmen; 6%
Professional; 43% Misc.. First archery pheasant season in Milwaukee County.
- 850,000 acres, not including wildlife refuges, closed primarily for
protection of deer. Bobwhite quail survey established. Aldo Leopold’s book
A Sand County Almanac is published.
- Hunters prohibited to purchase deer tags during season.
- First "any-deer" season since 1919. Unprecedented purchase of 1,131
tons of deer feed at cost of $50,049.34. First archery Hungarian (Gray)
partridge season in Milwaukee County.
- For first time, Department personnel permitted to issue big game licenses.
Deer hunting licenses issued to servicemen at resident fees, provided they
are stationed in Wisconsin, or are Wisconsin residents on furlough or leave.
Resident Deer, and Resident Small Game License established.
- Orange-colored clothing now included in red clothing law.
- One deer per hunter, all seasons.
- First December archery deer season. First season gun deer hunters
required to register deer at checking stations. Minimum age of sportsmen and
settler license reduced by Legislature to 12 years. WCD released five American
marten from Montana on Stockton Island in Ashland County, none survived.
- Second wild turkey restoration attempt with the release of game farm
birds from Pennsylvania onto Meadow Valley Wildlife Area and Necedah National
Wildlife Refuge. First archery hunting accidents occurred (none from 1934-1953);
three hunters injured.
- Law Enforcement Personnel increased to 134 Officers. Last open season
for Greater Prairie Chicken. Badger placed on the protected species list.
- 100th established gun deer season. The Conservation Commission called
for deer management by designated areas, rather than on a uniform statewide basis;
the state was divided into 77 deer management units to serve as a basis for zoned
harvests. Mandatory black bear registration began.
- WDNR and USFS reintroduced 60 fisher trapped from New York and
Minnesota and released them into the Nicolet National Forest in Forest County.
- Legislature enacted first party permit (deer hunter law 29.107).
Legislature designated the white-tailed deer as the state animal. Department
agents authorized landowner or lessee by permit to capture or destroy wild
animals doing damage. Gray wolves and Canadian lynx protected at all times,
Chapter 157, Laws of 1957 (state financed bounties lifted). Bear trapping
prohibited (1957- ).
- Longest deer gun season since 1916 (16 days). White deer protected at
all times (1958- ).
- First registration of deer by management unit statewide. Game Management
Division took over responsibility for coordination of deer program. The age of
complicated regulations begins!
- Bright yellow clothing included in the bright orange or red deer
hunter clothing law.
- First verified report of moose in Burnett County. Law Enforcement Division
develops air patrol system. Gray wolf declared extirpated. Summer observations of
deer-fawn per doe survey established.
- Unlawful to transport deer from the time it was killed to time of
registration, unless openly exposed in such a manner that the locked tag could
not be manipulated by the occupant of the vehicle.
- Hunters not permitted to purchase deer license after opening of gun
- First use of SAK - sex-age-kill population-reconstruction technique for
estimating deer numbers. Game manager Art Doll begins measuring deer range
from aerial photos. The County of Menominee was established, making a total
of 72 counties in the state. Nonresident students allowed to purchase fishing,
deer, and small game licenses at resident rates. Ten-year, $50-million Outdoor
Recreation Action Program established.
- Deer management unit specific over winter population goals established
in Administrative Code. "Questions come up continuously about the accuracy of
deer population figures in different management units." Rachel Carson’s book
Silent Spring is published. State park naturalist and conservation education
- Effective July 1, 1963, variable quota deer management plan passed by
Legislature authorizing the Conservation Commission to issue party permits
in areas where the population of the deer herd was such that additional cropping
was necessary to properly manage the herd, 29.107. First managed bear gun hunt
permitting the use of dogs, two-day season in limited areas.
- Ruffed grouse drumming survey established.
- Resident Archer, and Resident Junior Archer license established. Created
free fishing and small game licenses to resident members of the Armed Forces.
Bear cubs protected from hunting (1965- ).
- “If whitetails had adopted the characteristics of the caribou, among
which the females normally have antlers, deer management and season regulations
would invite considerably less controversy.” Otis S. Bersing. Permitted to
hunt deer in any stream, lake, or pond (1966- ). Development of the Unit
Management system resulted in more deer shot and less range damage, with the
ultimate goal being a more stable deer harvest and population. Children between
the ages of 14-16 permitted to hunt alone if they have a hunter safety
certificate (1966- ). Shooting bears in dens prohibited (1966- ).
- Sixty fisher trapped in Minnesota and released in the Chequamegon National Forest.
- Hunter Safety Education Program begins. Compound bow patented. Department
of Natural Resources created, combing the Conservation and Resource Development
- Outdoor writer Don Johnson of the Wisconsin Journal conducted an outside
audit of the deer registration system and reported its accuracy. Second growth
forests in Northern Wisconsin now being logged causing new forestry “boom”,
and increase in deer habitat. The state’s forest protection covered about 33
million acres of which 17,082,290 acres were considered “critical area”.
- Research information on establishing and managing forest openings was
an important step forward in range management for deer.
- Nonresident Deer and Bear License established. Bobcats protected for
the first time, with a closed season for 6˝ months. Ten week brood observation
survey established. First Earth Day created.
- “There are those who feel, myself included, that the party permit places
too much of a strain on the deer herd by allowing does to be taken.”, Wisconsin
assemblyman. “Unlawful to place or hunt over any baited area containing paper,
plastic, metal or wood containers, or animal bones…..hunting any species of
wild animals or birds at any time.” The state of Wisconsin bans the use of DDT.
- Portable tree stands now legal, provided they are completely removed each
day at the close of hunting hours and provided such devices do no permanent
damage to trees in which they are placed. Almost half of the hunters oppose
a doe season under any conditions, indicating a lack of understanding of the
ecological principles of deer management (A Profile of Wisconsin Hunters, Tech.
Bull. No. 60, 1972). First time red foxes protected, with a closed season for
7˝ months. Rural mail carrier pheasant survey established. WDNR lists the bald
eagle, American marten, osprey, and Canada lynx as state endangered species.
The federal government bans the use of DDT and other organochlorine pesticides.
- The federal Endangered Species Act established.
- First mention of fluorescent blaze orange (“recommended”) in hunting
regulations. Bears receive big game status, baiting bear restricted to use of
liquid scents. Trapping privileges reinstated on Voluntary Sportsmen's License.
Resident Bear License established.
- First accident free archery season in 22 years. Gray wolves begin to
re-colonize northwest portions of the state, moving in from Minnesota. WDNR
lists the gray wolf, and peregrine falcon as state endangered species.
- One hundred and seventy-two American marten from Ontario and Colorado
released into the northern Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest; establishing a
breeding population of at least 150 martens.
- Goose permit program assigned entirely to State by Federal Fish & Wildlife.
Wild-trapped turkeys from Missouri released in Vernon County.
- Requirement for daily removal of tree stands now applies only to state
owned lands where portable tree stands may be used for hunting purposes provided
they are removed each day at close of hunting hours and do no permanent damage
to trees in which they are placed (1977- ). DNR Secretary Anthony Earl
formed a Hunting Ethics Committee to help solve the quality problems related
to deer hunting pressures by such large numbers of hunters. Otter tag and
permit requirement established. Winter track counts survey established.
- DNR discontinued use of pellet counts as measure of deer population.
Bear bait must be confined in 2 foot square hole. Bear dog permits required.
Waterfowl Hunting Stamp established. Botulism killed over 6,000 green-winged
teal at Horicon Marsh.
- Use of crossbow permitted under disabled DNR permit (1979- ). All
deer and bear bait must be in 2 foot square hole. Senior Citizen Recreation
Card (fishing, small game and entrance to State Parks), Nonresident 5-day Small
Game, Nonresident Deer, and Nonresident Bear license established. Nonresident
Deer & Bear, and Resident Junior Archer license abolished. Trapping eliminated
from Sports License. WDNR lists the prairie chicken as a state threatened species.
Annual gray wolf population monitoring began.
- Blaze orange clothing required for gun deer season, red and bright yellow
are not legal substitutes. Party Permit replaced by free Hunter’s Choice permit.
Use of paper archery carcass tags (tyvac), gun tags still metal. New law
prohibits shining wild animals from 10pm to 7am, Sept. 15 – Dec. 31 (1980- ).
Coyote season closed in northern management units to protect nascent wolf
population. Bobcat tag and permit requirement established.
-It is illegal to place or hunt any species of wildlife over any bait
other then apples, pastry or liquid scents.
- Legal for a tagged and registered deer to be transported by non-owner
(1982- ). Grains added to legal baits when hunting, except waterfowl.
The Wisconsin checklist project established.
- First year of bonus antlerless deer permits. DNR discontinued use of
deer trail surveys to estimate deer population. Use of paper gun deer tag
(tyvac) replaces metal tag. Issuance fee on duplicate licenses established.
Baiting restrictions ease and allow the use of fruit, vegetables, grains,
pastry, or liquid scent (previously permitted use of apples, pastry, grains,
or liquid scent). First spring turkey hunting season.
- Group hunting legalized for gun deer hunting. Muzzleloaders now “unloaded”
with cap removed or flashpan empty. Nonresident Furbearer, Turkey Stamp, and
Conservation Patron Card established. Nonresident General Hunting license abolished.
Free pheasant tags/permit required for certain public hunting grounds.
Spring pheasant crowing count and hen index survey established. Frog and
toad survey established.
- Legislature further strengthens road hunting restrictions. Hunters born
on/after January 1, 1973 required to take Hunter Education class. Bear season
closed due to unlimited and increasing bear harvest. All hunting license fees
increased $1.00 for wildlife damage surcharge. The federal Conservation Reserve
Program (CRP) established, authorized under the Food Security Act. Fisher permit
requirement established. Wisconsin’s first fisher trapping season in six decades.
Wisconsin’s Natural Heritage Inventory (NHI) established.
- Gun deer season now nine days statewide (except Milwaukee County).
Driver's license number required on all resident fishing and hunting licenses
or completion of declaration or residency forms. Shooting of any adult bear
with cub(s) prohibited (1986- ). Resident and Nonresident Bear License
abolished. Created a new bear harvest permit program, drawing to be held
using a continuous preference system. Establishment of Resident Bear Hunting,
Nonresident Bear Hunting, Resident Bear Harvest, and Nonresident Bear Harvest
- It is illegal to: transport an unregistered deer or bear in or on a
vehicle unless the animal is in open view and placed so that riders cannot handle
the carcass tag.
- Trumpeter Swan Recovery Program initiated. Annual mammal survey established.
- One hundred and thirty-nine American marten from northern Minnesota
were released into the Chequamegon National Forest.
- “When deer populations are extremely high, the DNR may issue extra kill
permits to reduce deer populations to management goals.” (Bonus tags). Handguns
permitted for deer hunting statewide. Wild turkey landowner brood survey established.
- Stewardship land acquisition created (Wisconsin Act 31), allowing the
state to borrow $250 million to acquire and develop land for recreational use,
wildlife habitats, fisheries, and natural areas. First fall turkey hunting
season. The bald eagle, and osprey reclassified from state endangered to
- Muzzleloader must have exposed hammers and no scope. Bait for deer
hunting limited to 10 gallons. Hunting hours changed to 30 minutes before
sunrise to sunset. Application fee for Hunter's Choice, Bobcat, Otter, and
Fisher established. Fall Turkey License (resident and nonresident), and
Second Archer Permit (resident and nonresident) established. Senior Citizen
Recreation Card abolished.
- Use of salt licks permitted.
- Though deer harvest fourth highest on record, many hunters voice
discontent over lack of success and claim DNR raised expectations by pre-hunt
harvest prediction of around 370,000. Natural Resources Board approves Secretary’s
recommendation to keep the gun season at nine days. The last documented dead lynx
reported in Wisconsin, and picked up near a highway. Mandatory registration of
sharp-tailed grouse established. Application fee for Goose, Spring Turkey, and
Fall Turkey established. Spring Turkey License (resident and nonresident),
Pheasant Stamp, and Senior Citizen Small Game License established.
- Created a provision to allow resident members of the Armed Forces to
take a deer of either sex if home on furlough or leave; Act 259. Created a
waiver to pay license fees for educational special events for fishing and
hunting; Act 217.
- Pheasant stamp required only in designated pheasant management zones.
- For the first time hunter’s choice and bonus tags can be filled during
the archery, gun, or muzzleloader season in proper DMU. Twenty-five elk obtained
from Michigan, released in the Chequamegon National Forest in Sawyer County in May
of 1995. Resident and Nonresident Second Archery Permit abolished.
- “Zone T” is born! State’s first October gun deer hunt since 1897.
Resident Small Game Junior, Nonresident Sports License, and Nonresident
Conservation Patron License established. Youth waterfowl hunt established.
American crow season established.
- Largest number of paid deer damage claims – 1,085, at the largest cost
- $3,186,789, during any calendar year. Sharp-tailed Grouse Application fee
established. Early September goose permits could be issued over the counter
upon paying the $3 fee. Bald eagle removed from the state endangered/threatened list.
- Introduction of the new Automated License Issuance System (ALIS) through
a pilot program with approximately 100 license agents throughout the state.
New law requiring a social security number when purchasing fish and wildlife
licenses. Law was passed to deny licenses to anyone who is delinquent in
child support. Bear Application fee established. Canada lynx classified as
a protected wild animal.
- Back tag becomes hunting license – no separate paper license. Hunters
get customer ID #. Statewide implementation of ALIS. Licenses sold via the
telephone using a toll-free number (through contractor). The WDNR reclassified
gray wolves from state endangered to state threatened status. As a precautionary
action, WDNR started testing wild deer for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
– Gun deer hunters set a harvest record of 528,494 deer. Created a $5.00
back tag reservation fee for reserving specific numbers for Sports and Patron Licenses.
- Added a disclaimer on the ALIS license receipt for felons in regard to
possession of a firearm. Abolished the student fee for archery and gun hunter
safety education courses. State Wildlife Grants created (federally funded).
- Wisconsin’s first cases of CWD were reported for three deer harvested in
2001 from Dane County, Town of Vermont. WDNR samples 40,159 deer statewide to
determine if CWD is present anywhere else in the state besides the Disease
Eradication Zone (DEZ) in southwest Wisconsin; 204 in the DEZ, and 1 in the
Herd Reduction Zone (HRZ) test positive for CWD. NO BAITING for deer hunting!
Use of salt licks prohibited as a result of the 1 year statewide baiting and
feeding ban after CWD was discovered. Number of licensed gun hunters drops
about 10 percent with much of the decrease attributed to concerns about CWD.
Youth gun deer hunt established. When transporting a tagged deer or bear
from the time of harvest until it is registered, the animal is no longer
required to be exposed in a vehicle prior to registration (2002- ).
Hunters 65 years and older permitted to hunt deer, small game, and during
the fall turkey season with a crossbow. Internet license sales began.
Created a voluntary contribution of at least $1.00 to be used for the
venison donation processing program (deer, Patron, Sports, bear, turkey,
and small game licenses); Act 16. Revision to NR8 now allows parents or
guardians to purchase a license for a child under the age of 18. First
flock of reintroduced whooping cranes trained to follow an ultra light
aircraft on migration to a wintering ground in Florida.
- Legislative Committee over-rules DNR bait ban and 10 gallon bait law in
effect. Use of salt licks permitted again, but only in areas of the state where
bating and feeding is allowed. WDNR samples 14,941 deer primarily from the CWD
zones; 116 in the DEZ, and 1 in the HRZ test positive for CWD. Sharp-tailed grouse
application no longer included with the Conservation Patron license. Permit
application results now available through the internet. Enacted October 16,
2003, an adult can transfer their Class A bear license by August 1 to a
recipient youth between the ages of 12–17; Act 59. Mourning dove season
established. The USFWS downlisted gray wolves from federally endangered to
federally threatened status.
- No baiting/feeding in CWD counties, remainder of state 2 gallons bait/40
acres allowed. Muzzleloading pistols now legal for deer hunting. Abolished
the law that prohibited deer license sales during the deer gun season; Act 313.
CWD zones expand to include parts of southeastern Wisconsin. WDNR samples
19,155 deer primarily from the CWD zones; 143 in the DEZ, and 2 in the HRZ
test positive for CWD. Use of cable restraints on dry land permitted (2004- ).
Hunters 65 years and older permitted to hunt during the spring turkey season
with a crossbow. Sports Junior License, Nonresident Sports Junior License,
Conservation Patron Junior License, Nonresident Conservation Patron Junior
License, and Junior Small Game License established. Mourning doves added
to the HIP certification. Created CWD Eradication Zone Deer Permits:
Landowner-$2.00; Hunter-$2.00. Gray wolf removed from Wisconsin’s threatened
species list, and classified as protected wild animal.
- Hunters issued free antlerless permits for both archery and gun licenses;
hunters in CWD units can get an unlimited number of antlerless permits at the
rate of four per day. WDNR conducts CWD surveillance in the Northeast Region
where 4,500 deer are tested, and CWD is not detected; 19,621 deer sampled from
the CWD zones; 166 in the DEZ, and 15 in the HRZ test positive for CWD. Hunters
65 years and older permitted to hunt bear with a crossbow. Resident Junior Gun
Deer License established. Resident Junior Archery License re-established. New
deadline date of August 1st for wildlife permits (except for Spring Turkey
and Bear). Removed the Park Sticker, Trail Pass, and Magazine Subscription
form the Junior Patron License. Federal court decision placed the gray wolf
back on the federal endangered species list.
– Hunter’s Choice program eliminated, all limited antlerless permits sold
over-the-counter on a first-come, first-served basis. Earn-a-Buck (EAB)
prequalification stickers were mailed to hunters that registered an antlerless
deer in 2005 in a unit that was designated as EAB in 2006. Hunters set a new
record of venison donation by giving 11,845 deer, yielding over 533,000 pounds
of venison for food pantries across the state. WDNR conducts CWD surveillance
in the Western Region where 7,500 deer are tested, and CWD is not detected;
19,977 deer sampled from the CWD zones; 169 in the DEZ, and 36 in the HRZ test
positive for CWD. Nonresident Trapping License established. Remaining Turkey
Permits established; available after drawing is held, remainders sold over the
counter through ALIS to residents and nonresidents.
- The 156th gun deer season, and 74th archery deer season; archery deer
hunters set a harvest record of 116,042 deer. All CWD Units have unlimited
EAB requirements for the entire 2007 deer season. EAB prequalification stickers
were mailed to hunters that registered an antlerless deer in 2006 in a unit that
was designated as EAB in 2007. WDNR samples 7,072 deer primarily from the CWD
zones; 124 in the DEZ, and 9 in the HRZ test positive for CWD. Youth spring
turkey hunt established. Effective October 1, hunting turkey with dogs
permitted in the fall in the following nine counties: Crawford, Jackson,
Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, Sauk, Vernon, and Wood. A pheasant
stamp is required statewide. Bald eagle removed from the federal endangered
species list. Gray wolves removed from the federal endangered and threatened
species list in the western Great Lakes, remain listed as a protected wild
animal in Wisconsin. Whooping crane flock recorded at 78 birds in Wisconsin.
Elk herd recorded at 131 animals in Wisconsin. Trumpeter swan population
recorded at more than 100 breeding pairs in Wisconsin. Gray wolf population recorded at
540-577 wolves in Wisconsin.