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Detailed Information for : Metal Detector User Permit
Use of a metal detector on Department of Natural Resources property is authorized only if the property superintendent issues a permit.

The purposes are to prevent interference with the enjoyment of recreational facilities by the public, to reduce the potential for damage to the resources, and reduce the potential for loss of historical or archaeologically significant items.

License Type:
Permits are issued May 1 to October 15. They normally are valid from 6 to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to dusk. The property manager or representative may extend or reduce this time limit.  
No fees required.  
Additional Information:
All excavations shall be returned to their original condition. All identifiable items (not cash or coins) and historical items must be turned in to the office before leaving the property or at the end of the permit period. If unclaimed, and return is requested, the items are returned to the finder after 60 days. The state retains title to all objects of archaeological interest. If the permit is issued to find a specific item lost by a park visitor, that item does not have to be turned in.  
Apply for the permit at the office of the park, forest, or other property where the metal detector will be used.  
Application Form(s):
Metal Detector User Permit, DNR form 9400-239, available at state park and forest offices.  
Wisconsin Statutes:
State Parks, Powers of the Department, 27.01(2)(j) and 27.01(2)(m), and Field Archaeology, 44.47.  
Administrative Rules/Codes:
Use of Department Property, General Rules, Personal Conduct, Metal Detectors, NR 45.04(3)(i)  
Other Agencies Involved:
The office of the State Archaeologist regulates field archaeology.  
Contact Information
Home Page:
E-mail :
Hours of Operation:
Mail Address:
P.O. BOX 7921, PR/1, Madison, WI 53707  
Street Address:
101 South Webster, MADISON, WI 53707  
Agency Web Site:
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For additional assistance with business-related license, permit and registration information, visit the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at or phone them at 608-263-7680.