Warrants; arrests; police powers. 29.921(1)(1)
The department and its wardens may execute and serve warrants and processes issued under any law enumerated in ss. 23.50 (1)
in the same manner as any constable may serve and execute the process; and may arrest, with or without a warrant, any person detected in the actual violation, or whom the officer has probable cause to believe is guilty of a violation of any of the laws cited in this subsection, whether the violation is punishable by criminal penalties or by forfeiture, and may take the person before any court in the county where the offense was committed and make a proper complaint. For the purpose of enforcing any of the laws cited in this subsection, any officer may stop and board any boat and stop any vehicle, if the officer reasonably suspects there is a violation of those sections.
(2) Field archaeology.
The department and any of its wardens may execute and serve warrants and processes issued for violations of s. 44.47
occurring on the bed of any stream or lake in the same manner as any constable may serve and execute the process; and may arrest a person, with or without a warrant, who is detected committing such a violation, or whom the warden has probable cause to believe is guilty of a violation of s. 44.47
, and may take the person before any court in the county where the violation was committed and make proper complaint. For the purpose of enforcing s. 44.47
, any warden may stop and board any boat and stop any vehicle, if the warden reasonably suspects that there is a violation of s. 44.47
The department and its wardens may execute and serve warrants and processes issued for violations of s. 947.013 (1m) (b)
if the victim of the harassment is intentionally selected because of the victim's race in the same manner as any constable may serve and execute the process; and may arrest, with or without a warrant, any person detected in the actual violation, or whom the warden has probable cause to believe guilty of a violation of s. 947.013 (1m) (b)
, whether the violation is punishable by criminal penalties or by forfeiture and may take the person before any court in the county where the offense was committed and make a proper complaint. For the purpose of enforcing s. 947.013 (1m) (b)
, any warden may stop and board any boat and stop any vehicle, if the warden reasonably suspects there is a violation of s. 947.013 (1m)
(4) Tribal code enforcement.
If a federally recognized American Indian tribe or band consents to the enforcement of its conservation code by the department or if a federal court order authorizes or directs the enforcement, the department and its wardens may execute and serve warrants and processes issued for violations of the tribe's or band's conservation code that occur outside the exterior boundaries of American Indian reservations; and may arrest a person, with or without a warrant, who is detected committing such a violation, or whom the warden has probable cause to believe is guilty of such a violation, and may take the person before the tribal court of appropriate jurisdiction and make proper complaint. For the purpose of enforcing a tribe's or band's conservation code, any warden may stop and board any boat and may stop any vehicle, if the warden reasonably suspects there is a violation of such a conservation code.
(5) Additional arrest powers.
In addition to the arrest powers under sub. (1)
, a warden who has completed a program of law enforcement training approved by the law enforcement standards board, has been certified as qualified to be a law enforcement officer under s. 165.85 (4) (a) 1.
and has complied with any applicable requirements under s. 165.85 (4) (a) 7.
while on duty and in uniform or on duty and upon display of proper credentials may assist another law enforcement agency as defined under s. 165.85 (2) (bv)
including making an arrest at the request of the agency, may arrest a person pursuant to an arrest warrant concerning the commission of a felony or may arrest a person who has committed a crime in the presence of the warden. If the warden makes an arrest without the presence of another law enforcement agency, the warden shall cause the person arrested to be delivered to the chief of police or sheriff in the jurisdiction where the arrest is made, along with the documents and reports pertaining to the arrest. The warden shall be available as a witness for the state. A warden may not conduct investigations for violations of state law except as authorized in ss. 23.11 (4)
, 29.924 (1)
and 41.41 (12)
. A warden acting under the authority of this subsection is considered an employee of the department and is subject to its direction, benefits and legal protection. The authority granted in this section does not apply to county conservation wardens or special conservation wardens.
(6) Search warrants; subpoenas.
In executing search warrants and subpoenas under this chapter where the penalty for the violation is a forfeiture, the department shall use procedures which comply with ss. 968.12
(7) Dogs injuring wildlife.
A warden may kill a dog found running, injuring, causing injury to, or killing, any deer or elk, or destroying game birds, their eggs, or nests, if immediate action is necessary to protect the deer, elk, or game birds, their nests or eggs, from injury or death.
History: 1997 a. 248
; 2001 a. 109
; 2013 a. 214
Investigations; searches. 29.924(1)(1)
The department and its wardens shall, upon receiving notice or information of the violation of any laws cited in s. 29.921 (1)
, as soon as possible make a thorough investigation and institute proceedings if the evidence warrants it.
(2) Driving without headlights.
In the performance of their law enforcement duties, wardens may operate motor vehicles owned or leased by the department upon a highway, other than an interstate, a state trunk highway or any highway within the limits of any incorporated area, during hours of darkness or during a period of limited visibility without lighted headlamps, tail lamps, or clearance lamps if the driving will aid in the accomplishment of a lawful arrest for violation of this chapter or in ascertaining whether a violation of this chapter has been or is about to be committed. Any civil action or proceeding brought against any warden operating a motor vehicle under this subsection is subject to ss. 893.82
(3) Opening packages.
The department and its wardens may examine and open any package in the possession of a common carrier which they have probable cause to believe contains wild animals in violation of this chapter, or carcasses, or is falsely labeled in violation of this chapter. Each common carrier and its agent or employee shall permit the officer to examine and open the package. Any opened package shall be restored to its original condition.
(4) Access to storage places.
The owner or occupant of any cold-storage warehouse or building used for the storage or retention of wild animals, or their carcasses, that are subject to regulation under this chapter shall permit the department and its wardens to enter and examine the premises subject to s. 66.0119
. The owner or occupant, or the agent or employee of the owner or occupant, shall deliver to the officer any such wild animal or carcass, in the warehouse or building, that the officer has reasonable cause to believe is possessed or was taken in violation of the law, whether taken within or without the state. The owner or occupant, or the agent or employee of the owner or occupant, shall permit the department to examine and copy any record pertaining to the storage or retention of any wild animal either when the owner, occupant, agent, or employee is present or upon 24 hours' notice.
(5) Access to private land.
The department may, after making reasonable efforts to notify the owner or occupant, enter private lands to retrieve or diagnose dead or diseased wild animals and take actions reasonably necessary to prevent the spread of contagious disease in the wild animals.
The following are declared public nuisances:
Any unlicensed, untagged or unmarked net of any kind, or other unlicensed, untagged or unmarked device for fishing.
Any licensed, tagged or marked net or other device for fishing set, placed, or found in any waters where it is prohibited to be used, or in a manner prohibited by this chapter.
Any unlicensed, untagged or unmarked setline, cable, rope, or line, with more than one fish line attached.
Any licensed, tagged or marked setline set, placed, or found in any waters where it is prohibited to be used, or in a manner prohibited by this chapter.
Any fish line left in the water unattended, whether having one or more hooks attached.
Any long tunnel pound net or similar entrapping net other than the legal fyke net, drop net, submarine trap net and the short tunnel pound net whenever found in outlying waters or on any boat, dock, pier or wharf or in any building or vehicle on or adjacent to outlying waters. Any nets found as described in this subsection shall be sufficient evidence of the use of the nets by the owner.
Any device set in public waters to prevent the free passage of fish, or set in any stream which has been stocked by the state unless authorized by the department.
Any permanent or temporary structure placed, occupied, or used on the ice of any waters in violation of this chapter.
Any trap, snare, spring gun, set gun, net or other device used in violation of this chapter which might entrap, ensnare, or kill game.
Any trap without a metal tag attached as required by law.
Any boat, together with its tackle and equipment, used in violation of this chapter.
Any lamp, light, gun, firearm, ammunition, bow, crossbow, bolt, or arrow used in violation of this chapter or s. 167.31
or any rules promulgated under s. 167.31
Any boat, floating raft, box, or blind set in open water and used in hunting game birds.
Any decoys left in the water unattended.
Any dog found running deer or elk at any time, or used in violation of this chapter.
Any ferret, rat, weasel, or guinea pig in possession or used while hunting.
Any motor vehicle, boat, aircraft, remote sensing equipment, navigational device, survey equipment, scuba gear or other equipment or device used in the commission of a crime relating to a submerged cultural resource in violation of s. 44.47
Seizure and confiscation of wild animals or plants.
The department and its wardens shall seize and confiscate any wild animal, carcass or plant caught, killed, taken, had in possession or under control, sold or transported in violation of any of the laws for which the department and its wardens have enforcement authority under s. 29.921
. The officer also may, with or without warrant, open, enter and examine all buildings, camps, boats on inland or outlying waters, vehicles, valises, packages and other places where the officer has probable cause to believe that wild animals, carcasses or plants that are taken or held in violation of any of these laws are to be found.
(2) Seizure and confiscation of objects; sale of perishable property. 29.931(2)(a)(a)
The department and its wardens shall seize and hold, subject to the order of the court for the county in which the alleged offense was committed, any vehicle, boat or object declared by this chapter to be a public nuisance, or which they have probable cause to believe is being used in violation of any of the laws for which the department and its wardens have enforcement authority under s. 29.921
. If it is proven that the vehicle, boat or object is a public nuisance or that within 6 months previous to the seizure the vehicle, boat or object was used in violation of any of the laws for which the department and its wardens have enforcement authority under s. 29.921
, it shall be confiscated if the court directs in its order for judgment.
If the department or its wardens seize any net or similar fishing device under par. (a)
, the owner shall reimburse the department for all costs associated with the seizure within 20 days after the department gives written notice to the owner of the owner's obligation to reimburse the department. The notice shall include the amount of the costs required to be reimbursed by the owner. If the owner does not reimburse the department as required under this paragraph, the owner shall forfeit not more than $1,000 in addition to the costs of reimbursement. All reimbursement costs collected under this paragraph shall be credited to the appropriation under s. 20.370 (3) (mi)
Any perishable property seized by the department or its wardens under this section may be sold at the highest available price, and the proceeds of the sale turned into court for disposition as the court directs.
(3) Entire shipment affected.
Confiscation of any part of a shipment under this section shall include the entire shipment.
(4) Ordinance violations.
For purposes of this section, a violation of ch. 169
includes a violation of an ordinance enacted under s. 169.43
Sale of confiscated game and objects. 29.934(1)(a)
All wild animals, carcasses, plants, vehicles, boats, or objects that are confiscated by the department for a violation of any of the laws for which the department and its wardens have enforcement authority under s. 29.921
shall, if not destroyed as authorized by law, be sold at the highest price obtainable except as provided in ss. 29.936
, by the department, or by an agent on commission under supervision of the department. The net proceeds of sales under this subsection, after deducting the expense of seizure and sale and any commissions and any amounts owing to holders of security interests under par. (c)
, shall be remitted to the department. The remittance shall be accompanied by a report of the sales, supported by vouchers for expenses and commissions, and shall be filed with the department.
Of the remittance from the sales of confiscated vehicles, boats or objects, 18 percent shall be paid into the conservation fund to reimburse it for expenses incurred in seizure and sale, and the remaining 82 percent shall be paid into the common school fund.
In the case of the sale of a confiscated motor vehicle, the department shall make a reasonable effort, within 10 days after seizure, to ascertain if a security interest in the seized motor vehicle exists. The department shall, within 10 days after obtaining actual or constructive notice of any security interest in the seized motor vehicle, give the secured party notice of the time and place when there is to be any proceeding before a court pertaining to the confiscation of the motor vehicle. Constructive notice shall be limited to security interests perfected by filing.
The time of sale of the confiscated motor vehicle shall be within 20 days after judgment of confiscation as provided in s. 29.931 (2)
. The department shall give each secured party discovered in accordance with subd. 1.
at least 10 days' notice of the time and place of sale of the motor vehicle.
If the holder of a security interest in the confiscated motor vehicle, perfected by filing, proves to the court, or after judgment of confiscation, to the department, that the violation that led to the confiscation was not with the knowledge, consent or connivance of the holder of the security interest or with that of some person employed or trusted by the holder of the security interest, the amount due under the security agreement, together with any other deductions authorized under par. (a)
, shall be deducted from the proceeds of the sale of the confiscated motor vehicle and the amount due shall be paid to the one entitled. If a sufficient amount does not remain for the full payment of the amount due under the security agreement after making the other deductions authorized under par. (a)
, the amount remaining shall be paid to the one entitled.
The provisions of s. 973.075 (1m)
apply to boats and vehicles, other than motor vehicles, under this subsection.
This subsection does not apply to a deer killed, or so injured that it must be killed, by a collision with a motor vehicle on a highway.
On any sales under this section of wild animals or carcasses, the department or the agent selling them shall issue to each purchaser a certificate, on forms prepared and furnished by the department, covering the sales. The wild animals or carcasses so purchased shall be consumed, resold, or otherwise disposed of by the purchaser within a period to be set by the department. Any such wild animal or carcass may be resold or exchanged, in whole or in part, to another person only as authorized by the department.
See also s. NR 19.115
, Wis. adm. code.
Distribution of fish and game to food distribution services. 29.936(1)(1)
Notwithstanding s. 29.934
, the department may distribute for free carcasses from fish and game seized or confiscated under s. 29.931
that are suitable for eating to food distribution services. The department may have the fish or game that is seized or confiscated processed before distributing that fish or game to food distribution services. The department may collect the costs of the processing of the fish or game from the person from whom the fish and game was seized or confiscated.
The department may notify the person from whom the fish or game was seized or confiscated under s. 29.931
that he or she is liable for the costs incurred by the department for processing the fish or game under this section. The notification shall be mailed to the person's last-known address and shall include the amount that the person is required to pay as well as the address where payment shall be sent.
If a person fails to pay the processing costs as requested under sub. (2)
, the department may submit a certification under oath to the clerk of circuit court in the county where the processed fish or game was seized or confiscated. The certification shall state the amount of processing costs unpaid, the name and last-known address of the person who is liable for those costs and such other information as the court considers necessary. The court shall order that the amount certified by the department be a judgment on behalf of the state and against the person if the person fails to submit a written objection to the court within 30 days after the court receives the certification from the department unless the department notifies the court that the envelope including the certification mailed to the person under sub. (4)
was returned unopened to the department. If the person timely submits a written objection to the certification, the court shall consider the objection to be a complaint in a civil action and proceed under the rules of procedure under chs. 799
, without requiring the service of a summons or the payment of filing fees.
On the same day that the department submits the certification to the court, the department shall send a copy of the certification to the person at his or her last-known address by 1st class mail. Mailing of the certification shall be considered service of that certification when it is mailed unless the envelope containing the certification is returned unopened to the department. The department shall include with the certification a notice informing the person of all of the following:
That, if the person fails to submit a written objection to the court within 30 days after the court receives the certification from the department, the court shall order that the amount certified by the department be a judgment on behalf of the state and against the person.
The name and address of the circuit court where the certification was submitted and the date of that submittal.
That, if the person timely objects to the certification, the objection will be considered a complaint for purposes of the commencement of a civil suit under ch. 799
That the person is required to submit a copy of the objection to the department at the time that he or she submits the objection to the clerk of circuit court.
The address of the department where the person is required to submit a copy of the objection.
The department shall mail the certification under sub. (4)
in an envelope that includes the department's return address. The department shall notify the court if the envelope is returned to the department unopened.
History: 1997 a. 321
; 1999 a. 9
Use by the department of unclaimed, seized, or confiscated property.
The department may receive, retain, and use for the hunter education programs under ss. 29.591
, the trapper education program under s. 29.597
, or other educational hunting, fishing, trapping, or conservation activities the department conducts any of the following property:
Personal property that is in the possession of the department and that is lost, abandoned, or not claimed by its owner.
History: 2005 a. 394
Assistance of law enforcement officers.
All sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and other law enforcement officers are deputy conservation wardens, and shall assist the department and its wardens in the enforcement of this chapter whenever notice of a violation is given to them by the department or its wardens.
History: 1979 c. 110
; 1997 a. 248
; Stats. 1997 s. 29.941.
Exemption from liability.
Members of the natural resources board, and each warden, in the performance of official duties, are exempt from liability to any person for acts done or permitted or property destroyed by authority of law. No taxable costs or attorney fees shall be allowed to either party in an action against a member of the natural resources board or a warden.
History: 1997 a. 248
A game warden who kills a dog that the warden believes is wounding or worrying a domestic animal is not exempt from liability under all circumstances. Munyon v. Moe, 46 Wis. 2d 629
, 176 N.W.2d 324
Law enforcement aid program; spearfishing. 29.947(1)(1)
As used in this section:
“Additional law enforcement services" means an extraordinary type or level of service which is not normally provided or budgeted for by a law enforcement agency.
“Municipality" means any city, village or town.
“Spearfishing" means a method of taking fish which is authorized by an agreement negotiated between the state and the members of federally recognized American Indian tribes or bands domiciled in Wisconsin relating to the tribes' or bands' treaty-based, off-reservation rights to hunt, fish and gather.
(2) Participating county or municipality.
In order to be eligible to receive reimbursement from the department for costs incurred on or after August 1, 1987, by law enforcement agencies in response to members of federally recognized American Indian tribes exercising or attempting to exercise their right to engage in spearfishing, a county or municipality must do all of the following:
Maintain daily records of any costs for additional law enforcement services incurred by law enforcement agencies that are directly related to spearfishing and make the daily records available, upon request, to the department for inspection at periodic times during normal business hours.
Filing of application.
File an application for aid with the department by July 1 of the calendar year in which additional law enforcement services are provided, specifying all of the following: