Know Where You Are When Hunting

Gun deer season is officially here in Wisconsin – and there are a lot of things to remember when you head out to the woods. There is gun safety, tree stand safety, and rules about wearing blaze orange. But Sergeant Jeff Bonack with the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office says it’s also important to know exactly where you are. 

Bonack tells us that “before you go out, you need to know where you’re hunting, what the boundary lines are. If you’re on public land, it’s really important to know that typically public land will abut private land. So again you need to know if you’re lawfully hunting public land – great for you, there’s a lot of public land out there to hunt, some good quality public land. But know that public land will probably lead into a private parcel.”

Hunters are required to make reasonable efforts to retrieve game they have killed or injured, but cannot trespass to do so. If you shoot a deer and it runs onto private land before dying, you must get permission from the land owner before retrieving the animal. 

Bonack says “state statute does not mandate ‘No Trespassing’ signs to be posted for us – us being law enforcement, to take enforcement action. So again, it’s really important to know where those boundaries are.”

He adds that “it’s important to know those boundaries, not only to protect yourself physically, but there’s a hefty fine associated with trespassing and you certainly want to avoid that.”

People hunting on private land don’t usually expect other people to wander onto their property – and may not see you right away. Trespassing fines during the hunting season can become penalties up to $1,397.50.