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Wildlife Damage Abatement & Claims Program

Bear in Corn Field

The Wildlife Damage Abatement and Claims Program (WDACP) is a statewide program that assists landowners experiencing crop damage caused by deer, bear, geese, and turkeys. While it is a state program, the Land Conservation Department (LCD) administers WDACP. This provides local control, while helping to reduce costs.

The WDACP is funded by a $2.00 surcharge on hunting licenses and the $12.00 resident and $20.00 nonresident bonus deer permit fees.

Who is eligible to apply?

All commercial farm growers are eligible to enroll in the program. Traditional crops such as alfalfa, corn and soybeans as well as specialty crops including cranberries and vegetables are covered under the program. The only trees covered under WDACP are Christmas trees and commercial nursery stock. Backyard gardens, residential landscaping, and trees for forestry purposes are not covered under the program.

Other eligibility requirements

  • Crop owners must have hunting access control.
  • Crop owners must allow some hunting of the species causing damage.
  • Crop owners must file a complaint with the Land Conservation Department (LCD) within 14 days of when the damage starts.
  • Crop owners agree to follow the abatement measures recommended in order to remain eligible for a claim payment.
  • Crop owners must allow the LCD time to assess crop damage prior to harvest.
  • All lands for which assistance is sought must have been in production or in an approved FSA set-aside program for at least five years prior to the application.
  • Only commercial crops are covered.

Abatement Measures

  • Repellents
    Several repellents are available for use by landowners. Use of repellents is labor intensive and usually recommended for smaller acreages.
  • Temporary Fencing
    This is used when crop protection is needed immediately, or to protect crops on a seasonal or short-term basis. All materials are provided by WDACP, but installation is performed by the landowner.
  • Permanent Fencing
    These fences are utilized in high damage situations. Eight-foot high tensile woven wire fences are used. WDACP covers 75% of the cost of materials and installation.
  • Shooting Permits
    DNR Wildlife Managers issue deer-damage shooting permits to farmers who have severe crop damage-specifically when crop damage exceeds $1,000.00 in the year.
3 views of crop damage including soybeans, damaged corn ears, and wildlife tracks in mud

How to enroll

To enroll in the WDACP or receive more information call the Conservation Program Coordinator in the Land Conservation Department at 421-8475.

The Coordinator will meet with you to assess crop damage. Following this assessment a recommendation will be made as to what type of solution is most practical.

Steps may then be taken to reduce future crop damage and compensate for damage already done by deer, bear, geese, or turkeys.

Closeup of black bear cub being held by person outdoors

More Information

For more information on Wisconsin DNR’s Wildlife Damage and Abatement Claims Program, visit http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/WildlifeHabitat/hunt.html

Wildlife Damage Brochure