Wildlife Damage Program

If you have damage to:

  • agricultural crops
  • orchards
  • nursery stock
  • livestock
  • beehives

Caused by:

  • deer
  • bear
  • Canada geese
  • wild turkeys

The Wildlife Damage Abatement and Claims Program can:

  • Help you prevent or lessen additional damage (abatement)
  • Provide payments for damage that has already occurred (claims)

Certain requirements must be met in order to be eligible:
  • Must be the landowner or operator
  • Enrollment in the program
  • Notify the Animal Damage Specialist within 14 days of the beginning of eligible damage in order to be eligible for claims payment
    • In other words, fields and other potential damage areas should be checked on a regular basis
    • The 14 day requirement does not apply to abatement assistance (practices designed to lessen or prevent damage)
  • Notify the Animal Damage Specialist at least 10 days prior to harvesting enrolled fields so that the fields can be inspected
  • Follow abatement measures that are prescribed by the Animal Damage Specialist
    • Practices such as fencing, scare devices, repellents, and shooting permits.
    • The measures used are dependent on the situation
  • Must have control of hunting access to owned and leased contiguous properties (except for beehives)
  • Follow the minimum hunting requirement for all enrolled properties

Two hunting options:

  • Open Public Hunting
    • Hunting access is unrestricted
    • Hunters are required to notify the enrollee of their intent to hunt
  • Managed Hunting Access
    • Land suitable for hunting will be determined by the Animal Damage Specialist
    • Must allow at least two hunters at any given time per forty acres of suitable hunting land
      • Hunters must register
      • Enrollee must keep a log
    • Most enrollees used the Managed Hunting Access option

May not charge a fee in either option.
Regular hunting seasons and regulations apply.

Hunting under animal damage shooting permits:

  • This is separate from the regular hunting requirement and options noted above and is regulated separately
  • Eligibility for claims payments is dependent on meeting certain permit program requirements:
    • Adhere to the hunting access requirement
    • Harvest a certain percentage of their prescribed quota by specific date
    • Make sure all participating hunters wear blaze orange


  • Damage abatement practices are paid on a 75/25 (county/enrollee) cost­-share basis
  • The standard deductible on claims is $500

Additional rules and regulations may apply
The Rusk County Land Conservation Department administers the program under a contract with USDA – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) and Wisconsin DNR.

For additional information and requirements contact:  APHIS Animal Damage Specialist, Seth Zesiger (715) 532-0944.