Go Wild!

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Becky Nagel logs onto the Go Wild website on the new computer at the Crawford County Clerks Office in the Administrative Offices Building in Prairie du Chien. The customer and the license issuer can see the computer at the same time. In addition to the County Clerks Office and more than 1,000 vendors statewide, customers can also use their home computer to purchase hunting, fishing and conservation patron’s licenses.


Everyone invited to Go Wild

Questions answered about new DNR licensing system

Ted Pennekamp


Anyone who has purchased a fishing or hunting license in recent days knows about the brand new “Go Wild” online system deployed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to make license transactions more efficient and to provide more options. 

The system is so new, however, that many outdoorsmen and women may not have heard of it or may not know what it all means.

The Go Wild initiative was designed to encourage more people to head outdoors and enjoy all of the recreational opportunities available.

The Go Wild brand involves  several colorful, outdoor recreation “screen saver” type photos along with the Go Wild logo that is hard to miss as the highly visible part of the new licensing system. Not only is the system designed to make it easier for DNR customers to purchase licenses, in the near future they will also be able to register boats and recreational vehicles and get information on hunter education and safety classes.

A new Go Wild computer was installed at the Crawford County Clerk’s Office in Prairie du Chien at the beginning of March and was up and running after software was installed on the computer in mid-March. People have been purchasing hunting and fishing licenses since. Go Wild computers have also been installed at more than 1,000 vendors throughout Wisconsin. 

“The customers seem to like it,” said Assistant Deputy Clerk Becky Nagel. “It’s more interactive. They can see the information that they’re putting in.”

The computer has two monitors, one facing the customer and the other facing the person issuing the license. Nagel said that the customer sees the same information onscreen as the issuer, and it allows the customer to review and verify if the information, such as the customer’s address for example, is correct. The computer has onscreen keyboards on both monitors.

The Go Wild system also offers various options for people with their own computers or mobile devices. 

The DNR has answered the following questions for the benefit of potential customers. 

What does Go Wild 

mean for me?

The Go Wild system will offer improved access through mobile devices at GoWild.Wi.Gov. The system will store your information online. Customers can purchase an optional conservation card, eliminating the need to carry the old thermal paper licenses. No fee increases are planned as part of the upgrade.

The GoWild.Wi.Gov website will serve as a portal to help plan adventures and make the most of Wisconsin’s great outdoors. License options will include hunting licenses, fishing licenses, conservation patron licenses and, in the near future, boat, ATV and UTV registration renewals.

Without the thermal 

paper license, what do I carry with me?

Every completed transaction will provide a printable output. Customers will receive a sales receipt, license document, carcass tags and operating passes in a printable format whether purchasing online or at one of the more than 1,000 partnering vendors. Additionally, Go Wild provides other options for most licenses.

Check the website or your regulations pamphlets to find out where you can use an optional conservation card or display permissions on your cell phone. The system also will allow you to use your Wisconsin driver’s license, if validated within the Go Wild system. A conservation warden, for example, can scan your driver’s license out in the field or on the water and see that you have all necessary fishing or hunting licenses. 

While in the past, customers purchased licenses and permits and were provided with thermal paper documentation, with the Go Wild system, these permissions are stored electronically and can be accessed in many convenient ways.

What do I show the 

warden if I’m asked for my fishing license?

No matter where you are, you will be safe with the paper documents. Check the website or your regulations pamphlets to find the many ways that the alternative methods of proof can be used. These alternatives include the conservation card, a Wisconsin issued driver’s license and the electronic display from your mobile device.

What about the stamps for duck, pheasant and trout?

The old system printed these permissions on thermal paper and customers could request the physical stamp. The new system will store the stamp information electronically and customers will still have the option of requesting a physical stamp. Proof that you hold the proper stamp is similar to licenses – check the website or your regulations pamphlets to find out what display options are available to you.

What about back tags for deer and bear season?

Effective March 3, 2016, state law no longer requires hunters to display back tags while hunting deer or bear.

What about youth hunters who don’t have a driver’s license?

One of the best new features of Go Wild is flexibility. Youth and nonresidents have the option to purchase a conservation card to use as card documentation since the Wisconsin driver’s license is not an option. Other options include using the display from a mobile device or using the printable documents provided through all sales channels.

Will you have your hunter education identification on your card?

Yes! All hunter safety certificates will be accessible via the conservation card and verified Wisconsin driver’s license and also will be printed on your license documents. Customers will have the option to print a single certificate “card” from their account at any time.

How do I validate my harvest, what do I punch without a harvest tag?

When you purchase your license, either at a vendor or at home, you will receive a printed paper copy of your harvest permits, such as spring turkey or goose. Each tag will include instructions and space for proper validation. Because Go Wild uses plain paper, validation of most tags involves marking the paper tag rather than slitting or punching.

So I take the piece of paper into the woods and marsh and write down the date of harvest?

In most cases, yes, depending on the tag type. In wet or cold conditions, it may be worthwhile to carry the paper and a pencil in a small plastic bag.

Where do I put my federal duck stamp if I have 

nothing to affix it to?

As long as you sign the federal duck stamp and have it with you, as required, you will be fine. You can affix the stamp to the paper license document if you wish.

Will all states be doing this so another state will know my license and 


Hunting regulations and licenses are established at the state level so you would still need to buy a separate license in other states and follow those procedures. Some states already have electronic license sales and access while others do not.

What if I don’t hunt or fish?

GoWild.Wi.Gov is the gateway to outdoor recreation in Wisconsin. The website includes access to information on camping, details on outdoor activities, information on state parks and links to land maps, to name a few. There are so many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in Wisconsin and Go Wild is here to help you find the activity that is best suited for you.

“We’re excited to introduce these new options as we work to make all of our great outdoor recreational activities more accessible than ever before,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “With Go Wild, there’s no more waiting for regular retail hours or a delay until a license arrives by mail. We also expect the optional personal conservation card to be a big hit. Some customers have already told us they plan to get multiple cards so they can keep a version handy in their tackle box, hunting kit and glove compartment of a recreational vehicle.”

The Go Wild system also makes it easier to obtain a reprint or printed hard-copy of the original hunting, trapping or fishing approval or safety certificate. With the ability to reprint products from the convenience of home, there is no need to drive to a license agent to purchase a duplicate if you lose your license or carcass tags.

While the new Go Wild system will not provide the option of purchasing by phone, DNR customer service agents will be able to assist customers who would like assistance as they navigate the system or have questions about a transaction. The customer service number remains 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463).


To learn more, visit GoWild.Wi.Gov or visit DNR.Wi.Gov and search “Go Wild.” Informational resources include fact sheets, descriptions of how and when certain forms of proof apply as well as tagging information for a variety of game.

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