Agency Roles and Responsibilities

The two government agencies having primary responsibility for enforcing laws and regulations relating to wildlife damage management in Wisconsin are the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR, a state agency) and the United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS, a federal agency).

The mission of the WDNR is to protect and enhance the natural resources of Wisconsin and to provide a healthy, sustainable environment within the state for current and future generations. In relation to damage management, the WDNR issues nuisance animal removal permits, manages the Wildlife Damage Abatement and Claims Program, and offers technical assistance to resolve wildlife damage management. For most wildlife species the WDNR does not provide animal trapping or removal services to landowners. As a state agency, its regulatory authority ends at the state border.

The mission of the FWS is to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The agency issues depredation permits for federally managed species (for example, migratory birds). It is also responsible for management of federally protected threatened and endangered species.

CoyoteThe United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (WS, a federal agency) is a non-regulatory program that assists private individuals, organizations and agencies with wildlife damage management. The mission of WS is to provide federal leadership in managing problems caused by wildlife. Wildlife Services partners with the WDNR and other agencies to manage various wildlife conflict. For example, Wildlife Services assists the WDNR in implementing the Wildlife Damage Abatement and Claims Program. Wildlife Services also substantiates the need for depredation permits for select species, and works to protect humans, agriculture, and natural resources from wildlife damage.

Photo credits: white-tailed deer – Jeffrey Strobel, coyote stealing a chicken – Lydia Martin