Hunting Ranches

​​​​What are the requirements for operating a hunting ranch in Wisconsin?

In order to legally operate a hunting ranch, you must adhere to the following requirements:

  • Register your herd annually by March 15 with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and pay applicable fees.
  • Register your farm, free of charge, as a livestock premises every three years with the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC).
  • Apply to DATCP for a hunting ranch certificate and renew it every 10 years.
  • Upon initial application, arrange for an inspection of the premises by DATCP.
  • Pay a $500 non-refundable fee to DATCP to apply for or renew a hunting ranch certificate.
  • Ensure FRD being hunted are confined to an area of 80 contiguous acres or more to which they have unimpeded access.
  • Comply with general and hunting ranch record keeping requirements for keeping FRD in Wisconsin.
  • Have a minimum of two individual IDs for any deer not born on the hunting ranch. At least one of these must be official. The second, if not official, must be unique to the herd. One of the IDs must be visible.
  • Attach official individual identification or a dead tag from DATCP on any part of a deer carcass that leaves the premises. If the head and carcass are separated, both parts must be identified. The ID or dead tag numbers must correlate to the deer.
  • Test for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
  • Comply with Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fencing requirements if white-tailed deer are in the herd.
  • Comply with all requirements for FRD in Wisconsin (see subch. VII of ch. ATCP 10, Wis. Admin. Code for more details).

Can I remove or change official identification?

It is illegal to remove, alter or tamper with the official individual identification given to a FRD, except as authorized by DATCP or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Do my deer need to be tested for CWD?

CWD Testing Requirements

NOTE:  The hunter must be informed of the CWD test results either upon request or if the test result is positive.

What kind of records must I keep for my hunting ranch?

Record Keeping Requirements

Are there any fencing requirements for my hunting ranch?

If you have any white-tailed deer, the DNR sets and enforces fencing requirements. For questions about DNR fencing rules, call 608-266-8574.

If you have any white-tailed deer, you must have a valid fencing certificate from the DNR before DATPC will register your herd.

If you have only elk or deer other than white-tailed deer, you must follow fencing requirements under Wisconsin Statute. Your local authorities will enforce these requirements. 

Can I move deer to or from my hunting ranch?

You may add live FRD to your hunting ranch if movement requirements are met and the FRD has a minimum of two individual forms of identification. At least one of these must be official. The second, if not official, must be unique to the herd. One of these IDs must be visible

FRD movement and import requirements

By Wisconsin law, you may not move live FRD from a hunting ranch unless your hunting ranch herd is enrolled in the CWD Herd Status Program with at least five years of disease status and meets the movement requirements.

An exception is that live FRD may be moved directly to slaughter if it is accompanied by a federal VS 1-27 or department permit and is tested for CWD as required.

No person may remove any FRD carcass from the hunting ranch unless that carcass is identified with official ID or with a dead tag issued by the department. No part of a carcass may leave the hunting ranch unless every part of the carcass bears official ID or a dead tag. The FRD keeper must keep records that identify and correlate all of the official ID and dead tag numbers to that FRD.

Other information relating to hunting ranch certificates​

Hunting ranch certificates issued by DATCP: 

  • Only authorize hunting of FRD. Hunting of other animals on a FRD ranch is illegal.
  • Expire 10 years after being issued.
  • Are not transferable between persons or premises.
  • Are not valid if the certificate holder no longer holds a valid FRD keeper registration certificate for the location or violates any other requirements necessary to qualify as a hunting ranch.
  • May be revoked for cause.