We salute our veterans
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wishes to thank our military service members who have fought for our freedoms and preserving some of Wisconsin's most precious pastime traditions. We would like to show our veterans our appreciation by extending some privileges that may make it easier for them to enjoy those past times.
Purple Heart medal recipients who exhibit proof they received a Purple Heart medal are authorized to receive the following benefits:
- Reduced license fee for the Conservation Patron license (Resident - $10, Nonresident - $161).
- Hunting, fishing and trapping approvals at resident rates for nonresident Purple Heart medal recipients
- A one-time transfer of a Class A Bear license. Visit awarded permit transfers for details.
- Eligible to purchase one spring turkey harvest authorization without being awarded a harvest authorization through the turkey drawing. Note: Not available if the Purple Heart medal recipient has already purchased a turkey harvest authorization awarded through the drawing.
- Eligible to submit an elk hunting application, whether a resident or nonresident.
To receive the above benefits, the Purple Heart recipient must provide documentation at a DNR Service Center. Once proof of having received a purple heart is verified at a DNR Service Center and recorded in the customer's record, the customer may purchase their reduced rate licenses at any of our more than 1,000 licensing agents and online.
Proof of having received a Purple Heart medal includes exhibiting one of the following original documents issued to the resident or nonresident with the Purple Heart medal listed:
- DD-214, the Department of Defense "Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty" form issued to every serviceperson who has separated from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp or Coast Guard
- DD-215, Department of Defense form used to make corrections or add omissions to the original DD-214
- DA-199, official document of separation from military branch
- DA Form 4037, Officer Record Brief (ORB) or Enlisted Record Brief (ERB) - for those still in active service.
Residents may present certified copies of their DD-214 or DD-215 from the National Archives and Records Administration , County Veterans Service Officers, Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, or County Clerk. Nonresidents may present certified copies of their DD-214 or DD-215 from the National Archives and Records Administration, their state veterans agency, or County Clerk.
Free small game, archery, gun deer or annual fishing license
2013 Wisconsin Act 20 authorizes recently returning Wisconsin resident veterans to receive a one-time free small game, archery, gun deer or annual fishing license. Veterans who wish to receive a free hunting or fishing license must first contact the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) to determine their eligibility for this program. Eligible veterans will receive a voucher code that may be redeemed at the DNR within 365 days of discharge. Voucher codes may be redeemed in one of two ways:
- In person at any DNR Service Center, or
- By calling the DNR Call Center at 1-888-WDNRINFO (1-888-936-7463) to receive your free license by mail or to arrange for pick up at any DNR Service Center.
Eligibility is based upon the requirements within 2013 Wisconsin Act 20 which defines a qualified veteran is a Wisconsin resident who is one of the following:
- A veteran, as defined in s. 45.01 (12) (a) to (f), who served in a war period
- A member of a reserve component of the U.S. armed forces or of the national guard, as defined in 32 USC 101 (3), who has served in a war period* and who has served under honorable conditions for at least one year beginning on the member's date of enlistment in a reserve component of the U.S. armed forces or in the national guard.
- A person who served in a war period who was discharged from a reserve component of the U.S. armed forces or from the national guard, as defined in 32 USC 101(3) if that discharge was an honorable discharge or a general discharge under honorable conditions.
*For this benefit, a "war period" means any of the following:
- (a) A period between September 11, 2001, and the ending date of Operation Enduring Freedom or an operation that is a successor to Operation Enduring Freedom, as established by the Department of Veterans Affairs by rule.
- (b) A period between March 19, 2003, and the ending date of Operation Iraqi Freedom or an operation that is a successor to Operation Iraqi Freedom, as established by the Department of Veterans Affairs by rule.
Effective July 1, 2012, veterans may qualify for a one-time fee waiver for an occupational or professional license. To find out if you qualify for the fee waiver program or to find a complete list of eligible Wisconsin licenses visit Department of Veterans Affairs. Veteran's eligibility related questions should be directed to the Veteran's Benefit Resource Center via web chat, email or phone 1-800-947-8387.
Department licenses that qualify for a veterans license fee waiver are listed below.
- Bait dealer license
- Bird hunting preserve license - Class A
- Bird hunting preserve license - Class B
- Captive wild animal farm license - Class A
- Captive wild animal farm license - Class B
- Commercial fishing license
- Drilling rig operator registration license
- Fish farm permit
- Fish stocking permit
- Fur dealer license
- Guide license
- Hazardous waste transporter license
- Medical waste transporter license
- Net license
- Sanitary license
- Septage service vehicle operator certification
- Pole license - Set or bank
- Solid waste disposal facility operator certification
- Solid waste incinerator operator certification
- Sport trolling license
- Taxidermist permit
- Trammel net license
- Wastewater treatment plant operator certification
- Water system operator certification
- Well drilling and pump installer license
- Wholesale fish dealer license
- Wild fur farm license
- Wild ginseng dealer license
Disabled Vet/Former POW
Disabled Vet/Former POW
Free passes to Wisconsin state parks and forests
Certain Wisconsin resident disabled veterans and former prisoners of war are eligible to receive waivers of vehicle admission and trail pass fees. To apply for this fee waiver, follow the instructions below.
- Download and complete the Disabled Veteran Free State Park/Forest/Trail Pass Application
- Take the completed application to your County Veteran Service Officer (CVSO) to certify. The application must be signed and stamped by the CVSO.
- Mail the certified application to:
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Bureau of Parks and Recreation
101 S Webster St
PO Box 7921
Madison WI 53707
- The Bureau of Parks and Recreation will mail you an identification card to be presented each time you visit a state park, forest or recreation area. The park, forest or recreation area will then issue a courtesy pass for the day. When using state trails requiring a trail pass, carry the identification card with you.
Additional privileges for Wisconsin resident disabled veterans
|Names||Wisconsin Resident Disabled Veteran Spring Turkey Harvest Authorization||Wisconsin Resident Disabled Veteran Recreation Card||Wisconsin Resident Disabled Veteran Fishing License||Wisconsin Resident Disabled Veteran or Former POW Park Admission Card|
|Eligibility||Receiving disability compensation benefits due to a disability rating of 50% or greater for a service-connected disability or is individually unemployable.||Receiving disability compensation benefits due to a disability rating of at least 50% or greater for a service-related disability or is individually unemployable||Receiving disability compensation benefits due to a disability rating of at least 70% or greater for a service-related disability, is individually unemployable or is receiving non-service related VA pension benefits||At least 70% disabled, service related OR former POW|
|Privileges||Spring Turkey turkey harvest authorization available. Turkey stamp and spring turkey license required in addition to the harvest authorization.||Fishing, Small Game, Park admission and Trail pass||Fishing only||Park admission and Trail pass|
|Time||Time period indicated on spring harvest authorization.||Annual (license year)||Annual (license year)||2 year or Lifetime|
|Photo ID||Present photo ID to agent||Present photo ID to agent||Present photo ID to agent||Present photo ID to County Veteran Service Officer|
|Documents required||Provide 1 of the following required documents:
||Provide 1 of the following required documents:
||Provide 1 of the following required documents:
||Provide all of the following required documents:
|Issued by||License sales locations||License sales locations||License sales locations||DNR, Bureau of Parks and Recreation|
Wisconsin law extends many privileges for hunting, fishing and trapping to active members of the U.S. Armed Forces, Wisconsin National Guard or Reserves for both residents and nonresidents. Different sections of Wisconsin statutes authorize these privileges, each with their own qualifications. To learn more, see Armed Forces hunting privileges.