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Back Tags No Longer Required for Wisconsin Hunters

Chasing Wisconsin bucks and bears? A back tag is no longer needed.

State mandated back tags are no longer needed by deer and bear hunters while hunting in Wisconsin. Governor Scott Walker recently signed Senate Bill 289 into law, eliminating the long standing licensing requirement.

The previous law required hunters to display a brightly colored identification number on a hunter’s jacket or pack.

If you haven’t seen one before, picture a neon green license plate zip-tied to your back all season.

While uncommon today, many state used to require back tags for big game hunting, including Connecticut, Ohio, Illinois, Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. As of 2013, only Wisconsin and New York still required the tags.

The state initiated the program way back in 1942 as a way to identify hunters to law enforcement and landowners while they were in the field. Opponents of the law say that modern licensing requirements and digital records made easily accessible to law enforcement officials have rendered the law obsolete.

“….it’s not something that was used by law enforcement. There’s only a couple of states that have the back tags any longer,” said Jeff Nass, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Firearms Owners, Ranges, Clubs and Educators in an interview.

Proponents of the back tag requirement argue that removing the highly visible tag will only make it harder on law enforcement officials and private land owners to identify hunters that are trespassing, poaching or breaking other laws.

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Back Tags No Longer Required for Wisconsin Hunters