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Damage permit hunting

The Wildlife Damage and Abatement Claims Program (WDACP) provides two types of hunting opportunities:

  1. Hunting access during the open season
  2. Agricultural damage shooting permit program

Hunting access during the open seasons

For farmers to be eligible for damage compensation they must provide hunting access to the public for the species they are enrolled for, generally deer, during the regular open hunting season(s) for that species. Public hunting access requirements may apply to the property the farmer owns or leases. Farmers have two options for providing access to hunters during the open seasons:

  1. Managed Access: The farmer can limit access to 2 hunters per 40 acres of land suitable for hunting. The county damage specialist determines the amount of land suitable for hunting. Open fields are not considered land suitable for hunting. All hunters must ask permission from the farmer before hunting and must sign in on the farmer's logbook. This is the most common option chosen by farmers.
  2. Open Access: Any number of hunters may hunt on the farmer's land during the open season. All hunters must notify the farmer of their intent to hunt on the farmer's land.

Agricultural damage shooting permit program

Farmers who receive agricultural damage shooting permits are required to fill their harvest authorizations by specific deadlines. They have the option to provide some of their harvest authorizations to hunters who would like to help them shoot deer, bears, turkeys or geese that are damaging their crops. These permits are valid both inside and outside of the regular hunting seasons. Farmers are interested in alleviating damages throughout the growing season, and many farmers with deer permits will look for hunters to assist them in filling their harvest authorizations before the crop growing season.

Damage permit hunting regulations

Contact the farmer to ask permission to hunt on his/her land. Hunting on lands not enrolled in the program, without permission from the landowner, is trespassing. Farmers enrolled in the WDACP and/or possessing deer damage shooting permits cannot charge any hunting fees, hunting access or any other activity that includes hunting the species causing damage. In all cases, the hunter is responsible for limiting their hunting only to properties enrolled in the program.

Please be courteous to farmers! Call ahead to plan your hunt, and please refrain from calling them after 8 p.m.

Hunting access during the open season

(using your harvest authorization)

Hunting under a damage shooting permit

(using the farmer's damage harvest authorization)

  • If the farmer has chosen Open Access, notify the farmer of your plans to hunt.
  • If the farmer has chosen Managed Access, ask permission to hunt on the farmer's land. The farmer may limit hunters to the presence of two hunters/40 acres of huntable land. The farmer may not deny permission to hunt unless there is already a presence of two hunters/40 acres of huntable land on his/her property at that exact time.
  • If you are hunting on Managed Access lands, you must sign the farmer's log book.
  • Contact the farmer to ask if he/she would like your assistance in filling his/her damage harvest authorization.
  • Meet with the farmer to get his/her written approval to participate in the damage hunt. All hunters participating in damage hunts must possess this written authorization and agree to comply with all restrictions printed on the form and the farmer's or landowner's permit.
  • All hunters participating in damage hunts must possess both the appropriate valid hunting license and the relevant nuisance/ag deer harvest authorization, at all times while hunting. Blaze orange is required whether hunting with a firearm or bow.
  • If you are participating in a damage hunt, you must sign the farmer's logbook.
  • Shooting hours for damage hunts are 30 min. before sunrise to 20 min. after sunset during the closed deer gun season. During the open deer gun season, gun season hunting hours apply. Unless otherwise written on the farmer's permit, only antlerless deer may be shot, and deer must be shot with a gun. Determine hunting hours.
List of farmers enrolled in the WDACP
List of farmers with damage shooting permits

Farmers are not required to allow hunters to use their damage tags.

Remember for all damage permit hunting
  • parking is restricted to designated areas
  • vehicular access is prohibited
  • use of existing hunting stands or blinds is prohibited unless authorized by the enrollee
  • hunting is only allowed for the species causing damage

Access problems

Farmers may deny access for reasonable cause to individuals who exhibit intoxication, vandalism, littering, reckless conduct or property damage, or who do not comply with the 11 listed requirements on the Log Book agreement form. Reasonable cause may not be based on age, race, religion, color, handicap, sex, physical condition, developmental disability, creed, sexual orientation or national origin.

If a hunter is refused access and feels that the farmer was not in compliance with the hunting requirement, or the farmer has charged some type of hunting fee for the species causing damage, please file a complaint with the USDA-Wildlife Services. Complaints should be in writing and contain the name of the farmer, the date and time of the alleged violation, any circumstances relevant to the alleged violation, the name, telephone and address of the hunter, and the hunter’s signature. The county damage specialist or WDNR will investigate these complaints.

Complaints should be filed within 10 days of the denial.