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A Wisconsin hunting license is required of any person planning to harvest game within the state. Several approaches are possible when considering how to get a hunting license for you and your family. Though most applicants will usually gravitate towards applying for a license to hunt online, in-person options are just as viable. Many retail locations located throughout Wisconsin are authorized to sell hunting permits and licenses on behalf of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Before deciding upon where to purchase hunting licenses, you must first figure out the type of credential that best suits your needs and how to qualify for that type of licensure. Currently, most first-time WI hunting license applicants are required to complete a hunter education course before applying for a license to hunt in the state. To obtain a Wisconsin hunting license, applicants must be 10 years of age or older. Prior to purchasing a hunting license, applicants must also consider the length of the license’s validity, its price and the animal species that each specific permit to hunt will allow them to pursue. Explore the information presented below to learn about these various requirements, and to become familiar with the numerous WI hunting license options available in the state and the ways that you can get them:

  • Types of hunting licenses in Wisconsin
  • How to buy hunting licenses in Wisconsin
  • Hunter education in Wisconsin
  • Replacing hunting licenses in Wisconsin

What types of hunting licenses are available in Wisconsin?

Several hunting permits are available, for your convenience, through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. When applying for a license to hunt in WI, carefully consider every option before you decide on a particular credential.

The various types of hunting stamps and permits are issued by residential status and further categorized by the species of game being hunted. Deer hunters are required to purchase a hunting license based on the type of weapon that will be used in hunting the species. Gun, crossbow and archer deer hunting licenses are the options available. The following are the general categories in which licenses to hunt in Wisconsin are offered:

  • Combination fishing and hunting licenses
  • Small game hunting licenses
  • Hunting stamps for special animal species
  • Turkey hunting licenses
  • Specific bear hunting licenses
  • Specific deer hunting licenses

Additional hunting credentials available from the WI DNR include hunting stamps to pursue pheasant and waterfowl. Also, separate applications must be filled out to hunt game such as sharp-tailed grouse and bobcats.

Wisconsin hunting licenses are valid for one year beginning on April 1st and ending on March 31st of the following year. As for where to get hunting licenses in Wisconsin, each license mentioned above can be purchased by using the methods detailed within the following section.

How do I purchase hunting licenses in Wisconsin?

Interested applicants can submit a request for Wisconsin hunting permits in one of three ways. Each application method offered by the Department of Natural Resources was designed to be simple and effective. Applicants may apply in person at a local WI DNR office or license agent. Locations are accessible from anywhere in the state. Be prepared to present proof of hunting course completion and/or proof of Wisconsin residency, if applicable. Authorized license agents are located in several locations that are convenient to hunting license applicants. Retail locations such as department stores, sporting goods shops and gas stations are home to official hunting license dealers.

If searching for the simplest way for how to get hunting licenses in Wisconsin, applying online is your best option. Through the online system, you will be able to buy almost any hunting tag or license you desire. Military and veteran applicants are typically required to submit requests in person.

Am I required to take any hunting classes to be eligible for a WI hunting license purchase?

If you were born on the day of January 1, 1973 or later, then it is a state requirement in Wisconsin for you to complete a hunter education course if you intend to participate in the sport. However, before you enroll in a local, state-approved course, note that some exemptions do apply. Apprentice hunters participating in the hunting mentorship program are not required to take a hunting education course before getting a license to hunt. Another group that is exempt from having to take a hunter education course are individuals who have completed basic training in the U.S Armed Forces.

When you apply for a hunting license, if you do not meet one of the above criteria, you must complete the necessary course and submit proof of course completion. The license that you will be issued is accepted throughout the United States as well as in Canada and Mexico.

Hunter education is mandated for those who may be new to hunting to help prevent hunting accidents and fatalities. Courses are taught in each county of Wisconsin by experienced volunteer instructors who emphasize the importance of safety in the classroom and out in the field. Students are given hands-on lessons in firearm safety and on topics such as wildlife conservation and landowner-hunter relations.

Although it is recommended that novice hunters complete the hunter education course via the traditional classroom format, online courses are also available for students to take. While in-person students benefit from interacting with their instructor and fellow students, online participants can learn the web-based lessons at their own pace. Internet course students will still need to demonstrate their tactical knowledge of the information presented in the course by participating in an in-person field day following the completion of the online portion.

How can I replace a Wisconsin hunting license?

Wisconsin hunting license holders who have lost or damaged their physical license document are able to obtain a duplicate credential. To receive a duplicate hunting license, the applicant must turn in any remnants of the damaged license. Duplicate licenses may be obtained at authorized license agent locations or via the online licensing system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. All throughout the United States, hunters safety classes must be completed in order for applicants to obtain their desired hunting permits and stamps. Failure to take this specific course will result in the rejection of your hunting license request, thus requiring you to start over.
Depending on your state of residence, you may be able to buy hunting licenses in a variety of ways, including online (through your state department’s portal), by mail, by phone or in person. Choose the option that is most convenient for you. Make sure to also have any type of official documentation and payment for fees on hand.
No. Different states have different limits and regulations on hunting licensure. Certain animals may be considered “prohibited species,” whereas other animals may be legal to hunt, so long as you have the necessary hunting permit/stamp. Keep in mind that if you do hunt for any type of prohibited species, you will be subject to serious consequences.
Yes. States typically offer various short-term hunters license options, such as one-day and one-week passes, to those who do not meet residency requirements. In order to receive issuance of a short-term hunting license, make sure to get in touch with your state/hunting wildlife department to find out the available methods you have to apply.
In the event your hunting credentials are lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, contact your state hunting/wildlife department to order a hunting license replacement. You may have to make an in-person visit to a local office to complete the process. At the time of your replacement request, you may be asked to present your state driving license or another type of identification.
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