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State permit policies & procedures

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Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources


Scott Loomans
Wildlife Regulations Policy Specialist
Bureau of Wildlife Management
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Phone: (608) 267-2452
Fax: (608) 267-7857

Is a permit needed for banding?

The Scientific Collectors permit is required to capture and mark protected species of birds in Wisconsin unless the bird is both a migratory species (listed by the USFWS as protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the collector holds a federal banding permit (pers.comm. S. Loomans to E. Paul 7 July 2009).

Permit application forms

  • Application Form - Available here or from the agency website
  • Renewal - same form

  • Threatened and Endangered - Available here or from the agency website
    List of state-listed species found below

    Threatened or Endangered Species - A separate permit is required for research and scientific collection for the collection or possession of threatened or endangered species.
    An application can be obtained by writing to or calling:

    Department of Natural Resources
    Bureau of Endangered Resources
    Box 7921
    Madison, WI 53707
    Phone: (608) 266-7012

  • Salvage - same form

State lands

A separate permit is required for research and scientific collection
involving state natural areas. An application can be obtained by writing to or calling:

Department of Natural Resources
Bureau of Endangered Resources
Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707
Phone: (608) 266-7012

Or available here or from the agency website

Prior notice

Check permit conditions. Even if not expressly required to do so, you should always contact the manager of that particular state land unit or with the owner of private land before your arrival. You want to be aware of the hunting seasons, and, of course want to be sure that your activities will not interfere with the activities of that park, wildlife management area, or other state land unit, and that your activities will not adversely affect public use of the land or with the activities of private landowners.


Wisconsin Administrative Code
Natural Resources Title

NR 19.11 Scientific collectors permits and scientific research licenses. 

NR 19.11(1)      
(1) DEFINITIONS. For the purposes of implementing ss. 29.614 and 169.25, Stats., and within this section, the following definitions apply:

NR 19.11(1)(a)     
(a) "Qualified natural person" or "person" means any individual complying with s. 29.614, Stats., and this section, not including a corporation, partnership, cooperative, society, association or other organization.

NR 19.11(1)(b)      
(b) "Bonafide research program" means planned study and investigation undertaken to discover or establish facts or principles leading to increased, useful scientific knowledge.

NR 19.11(1)(c)      
(c) "Useful scientific knowledge" means new information contributing to the long-term well-being of wild animals and their habitats, or providing educational opportunities in the natural sciences.

NR 19.11(2)      

NR 19.11(2)(a)      
(a) Permits not required. Scientific collectors permits are not required for the collection of wild plants, unprotected wild animals taken legally, or wild animals obtained from licensed game farms or fish hatcheries.

NR 19.11(2)(b)      
(b) Bird banding. Scientific collectors permits will be required for trapping and banding protected nonmigratory upland game birds.

NR 19.11(2)(c)      
(c) Licenses. A person is not required to possess a separate hunting, fishing or trapping license while collecting under a scientific collector permit.

NR 19.11(2)(d)      
(d) Endangered species. Endangered or threatened wild animals may be collected only under authority of endangered species permits issued by the department pursuant to s. 29.604, Stats., and ch. NR 27.

NR 19.11(2)(e)      
(e) Tagging of fish. Scientific collectors permits are required to capture a wild fish, attach a tag to any part of it, and then to release it back into waters of the state.

NR 19.11(3)      

NR 19.11(3)(a)      
(a) Forms. Applications for scientific collectors permits shall be made on application forms provided by the department and include:

NR 19.11(3)(a)1.      
1. Name and address of the applicant;

NR 19.11(3)(a)2.      
2. Applicant's personal description;

NR 19.11(3)(a)3.      
3. Purpose of the request;

NR 19.11(3)(a)4.      
4. Species and number of specimens to be collected;

NR 19.11(3)(a)5.      
5. Places and times when specimens are to be collected;

NR 19.11(3)(a)6.      
6. Method of collecting;

NR 19.11(3)(a)7.      
7. Place where collections will be kept; and

NR 19.11(3)(a)8.      
8. Such additional information as may be requested by the department.

NR 19.11(3)(a)9.      
9. The period of the permit.

NR 19.11(3)(b)      
(b) Narrative proposal. All permit applications shall be accompanied by a written proposal stating the objectives, justifications, procedures, times and places of collection, application of results and sponsor, if any, of the project described in the application.

NR 19.11(4)      

NR 19.11(4)(a)      
(a) Issuance. Permits shall be issued in the name of the applicant. All agents of the permittee assisting in the permitted collections will be listed on the permit. Separate copies of permits shall be signed and carried by each person named in the permit when that person is acting under it in the absence of the permittee.

NR 19.11(4)(b)      
(b) Specimen materials. A permit will be issued for collections yielding preserved specimen materials only when such materials are to be kept in a place and manner where students and the public have access to them. Private collections to be kept in a manner not open to the public will not be approved.

NR 19.11(4)(c)      
(c) Conditions. 

NR 19.11(4)(c)1.      
1. `Contents.' Permits will contain conditions deemed necessary by the department to protect the resources of the state and assure use of specimens taken are in compliance with s. 29.614, Stats.

NR 19.11(4)(c)2.      
2. `Nonresidents.' Permits issued to nonresidents will set forth conditions of removal of specimens from the state.

NR 19.11(4)(c)3.      
3. `Federal permits.' 

NR 19.11(4)(c)3.a.      
a. Permits involving the capture, marking, collection, possession or salvage of migratory birds or parts, nests or eggs of migratory birds will not be issued under this section until the applicant possesses a permit issued by the U.S. fish and wildlife service for that activity.

NR 19.11(4)(c)3.b.      
b. Permits under this section are not required for banding or marking capture-and-release activities authorized under a permit issued by the U.S. fish and wildlife service. [sic]

NR 19.11(4)(c)4.      
4. `Size of collections.' Permits will not be issued which authorize collections endangering the population of animals the collection would draw from, or exceeding the number of animals required to meet the permittee's objectives.

NR 19.11(4)(c)5.      
5. `Unprotected species.' Permits will not be issued for the collection of protected species if unprotected species can be used to accomplish the same purposes.

NR 19.11(5)      

NR 19.11(5)(a)      
(a) Disposition of specimens. 

NR 19.11(5)(a)1.      
1. Living unharmed specimens collected during the course of permitted activities shall be returned to the wild at the point of capture, unless otherwise provided in the permit.

NR 19.11(5)(a)2.      
2. Any endangered or threatened species taken unintentionally during the course of permitted activities shall be immediately released if unharmed.

NR 19.11(5)(a)3.      
3. Injured or dead wild animal specimens shall be immediately turned over to the department employee named in the permit unless otherwise provided in the permit.

NR 19.11(5)(b)      
(b) Notification of department. Each permittee shall notify the department employee named in the permit at least 48 hours prior to collecting of the time and place where specimens will be collected.

NR 19.11(5)(c)      
(c) Marked gear. All traps, nets and any other gear used for capturing wild animals under terms of a permit shall be marked with the permit number, name and address of the permittee.

NR 19.11(5)(d)      
(d) Trap and net tending. All traps, nets and other capture emptied by the permittee at least once each 24-hour period.

NR 19.11(5)(e)      
(e) Fishing gear restrictions. 

NR 19.11(5)(e)1.      
1. `Gill nets.' Gill nets may not be used in inland waters unless specifically authorized by a permit.

NR 19.11(5)(e)2.      
2. `Buoys.' All buoys and buoy staffs shall be marked and maintained as required by the department. The permit number, name and address of the permittee shall be maintained in plain figures on the bowl of the buoy.

NR 19.11(5)(e)3.      
3. `Sport fishing equipment.' Hook and line fishing equipment and spearing equipment may not be possessed on a boat operating under a permit without prior approval of the department.

NR 19.11(6)      

NR 19.11(6)(a)      
(a) Records. Each permittee shall keep current records, in the English language, of all collections under the permit. Records of collections shall be made available to the department during normal business hours, or upon 8 hours notice at other times.

NR 19.11(6)(b)      
(b) Required reports. Permittees shall supply information requested by the department and annually file a complete and accurate report on forms covering activities conducted under authority of the permit. Unless otherwise provided in the permit, such reports shall be filed using a report form provided by the department not later than January 10 of the year following expiration of the permit.

NR 19.11(6)(c)      
(c) Content. Annual reports by permittees shall include:

NR 19.11(6)(c)1.      
1. The common name, scientific name and number of each species and type of specimen material collected;

NR 19.11(6)(c)2.      
2. The date and geographic location of each collection;

NR 19.11(6)(c)3.      
3. Disposition of collected specimens; and

NR 19.11(6)(c)4.      
4. Any other information requested by the department.

NR 19.11(7)      
(7) DISPOSITION. Specimens collected under the authority of the scientific collector permit may be transferred to and possessed by an educational institution for exhibition or education purposes upon completion of the project or expiration of the permit. Environmental consulting organizations may retain specimens following permit expiration provided the specimens are marked in a manner prescribed by the department. An educational institution or environmental consulting organization possessing specimens shall possess written proof of source, including the scientific collector permit number of the source and present that proof upon request by the department.

NR 19.11 - ANNOT.     
   Note: Application forms for scientific collectors permits under this section may be obtained from any department regional office. Federal permits for migratory birds may be obtained from the Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Federal Building, Fort Snelling, Twin Cities, MN 55111.

Wisconsin Statutes

29.614 Scientific collector permit. 

(1) Application for a scientific collector permit shall be submitted to the department. The department may issue a scientific collector permit if the department determines that the applicant is a natural person and is engaged in a bona fide program leading to increased, useful scientific knowledge.

(2) A scientific collector permit shall state the name and address of the permittee, the date of issuance, the purposes for which it is issued, the type, species and number of specimens authorized to be collected or salvaged, the area and period of time in which the specimens may be collected or salvaged, the place where the specimens may be kept and other conditions and limitations that the department requires. A scientific collector permit is not transferable.

(3) A scientific collector permit authorizes the permittee to collect or salvage from the wild, for scientific purposes only, live fish and the nests and carcasses of any wild animals specified in the permit subject to the conditions and limitations specified in the permit and the rules of the department. The permittee may use the specimens for the scientific purposes for which collected or salvaged and may transport them or cause them to be transported by common carrier. Possession of these specimens may not be transferred to any other person, except that these specimens may be exchanged for other specimens for scientific purposes. A scientific collector permit may authorize the use of net guns and tranquilizer guns for activities related to the purposes for which the permit is issued. Any person who is convicted of violating this chapter shall forfeit the person's permit and the permit is thereby revoked, in addition to all other penalties. Any person so convicted is not eligible for a permit under this section for one year following the conviction.
State-listed species

(D) Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus)
(H) Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)
(H) Yellow-throated Warbler (Dendroica dominica)
(I) Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
(B) Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
(H) Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorus)
(D) Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)
(F) Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena)
(H) Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia)
(D) Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri)
(D) Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
(H) Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)
(D) Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

(I) Henslow’s Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii)
(D) Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
(D) Great Egret (Casmerodius albus)
(I) Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis)
(I) Spruce Grouse (Dendragapus canadensis)
(H) Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulea)
(H) Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens)
(H) Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violaceus)
(H) Kentucky Warbler (Oporornis formosus)
(H) Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
(D) Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus)
(H) Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii)
(H) Hooded Warbler (Wilsonia citrina)