FITCHBURG –The Department of Natural Resources is again offering landowner permits in the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Eradication Zone (DEZ). This year, those permits are available at any license sales location or Department of Natural Resources service center.

The permits allow landowners within the DEZ to hunt deer on their own property without buying a license. Landowners may allow other hunters to hunt on their property without having to buy a license under the authority of their landowner permits. Hunters wishing to do so must first obtain a DEZ hunter backtag and landowner authorization form from any license sales location.

“These permits are ONLY available to landowners owning land in a DEZ. Landowners in the Herd Reduction Zone are not eligible for these permits. Hunters must still meet the legal, age and hunter safety requirements for obtaining a hunting license in Wisconsin,” noted DNR wildlife biologist Al Crossley, Fitchburg.

The DEZ includes parts of Iowa, Dane, Richland, Green, Sauk, Columbia, Rock and Walworth Counties.

The regular deer hunting seasons in the DEZ run from Sept. 18, 2004 to January 3, 2005. However, landowner permits are valid through March 31, 2005. “Just as we did in the 2002-03 season, we are allowing landowners the opportunity to continue reducing the deer population on their property beyond the regular deer season which ends January 3” said Mr. Crossley. Landowner permits are valid for bowhunting (Sept. 18 – March 31) and gun hunting (Oct. 28 – March 31).

Additional information and details on landowner permits are available online at http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/wildlife/whealth/issues/CWD/.

A toll free number (1-877-WISC-CWD) has also been established as a resource for persons with general questions about CWD. That number is staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The DEZ landowner and hunter permits are not being issued through DNR’s online or toll free number. These permits are only available through license vendors or DNR service centers.

Landowner permits are available to persons owning five acres or more within the DEZ.

There is a $2.00 processing fee and the landowner permit will be issued as a backtag that will contain the landowner permit number. Landowners will also receive one buck tag with their landowner permit that is not transferable to another hunter and may only be used on property they own within the DEZ. Persons owning less than five acres in the DEZ can call the toll free number to see if they are eligible to receive a permit.

Those who hunt in the DEZ under the authority of a landowner permit must apply for a DEZ hunter permit at any license sales outlet or DNR service center. For a $2.00 processing fee, the hunter will receive a backtag and two landowner authorization forms which will allow a hunter to hunt on property owned by two different landowners who have already obtained landowner permits. Additional landowner authorization forms for use by hunters to hunt additional DEZ landowner-permitted properties are available free of charge.

“The authorization form must be signed by the landowner and list the landowner’s permit number to allow a hunter to hunt under the authority of a DEZ landowner permit,” pointed out Mr. Crossley.

Hunters must wear their backtag and carry with them the signed landowner authorization form as well as comply with legal hunting hours and blaze orange clothing requirements as described in the 2004 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations booklet.