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MADISON – Training dogs for bird hunting is a popular activity throughout Wisconsin, and an improved licensing process coupled with new public lands open for dog training will make it easier than ever to prepare your dogs for hunting season.
As authorized by state code, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources allows trainers to train bird hunting dogs on designated state properties. However, a bird dog training license is required for dog training on state and private lands whenever captive wild birds are used.
An updated licensing process will allow a bird dog trainer to train a dog on any designated dog training grounds within state properties or on private property with landowner permission. Previously, trainers were required to obtain individual permits for each property on which they wished to train their dogs.
Applicants can complete an application online, deliver a completed form to the nearest Department Service Center or send an application via mail to receive approval and the appropriate leg bands.
A licensed bird dog trainer may possess and use the following live captive-bred species for dog training purposes:
• gray (Hungarian) partridge;
• red-legged partridge;
• mallard duck (bred in captivity);
• ring-necked pheasant;
• Reeves pheasant; and
• bobwhite quail and other species of the subfamily odontophorinae.
The department currently maintains six Class 1 Dog Training Grounds and 50 Class 2 Dog Training Grounds. Class 1 dog training grounds allow bird dog training year-round, and are posted, marked or designated as department lands, while Class 2 grounds include department lands approved for training, but not identified in code.
The department is in the process of establishing additional Class 2 dog training grounds to provide additional opportunities for hunting dog owners to conduct training on state lands. Eventually, the department hopes to establish at least one Class 2 dog training ground in counties with adequate state lands and where public demand is high.
For additional resources, including more information regarding the new licensing process, property maps identifying dog training locations, and an application form, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords “dog training.”