Forest County Sheriff's Office
To detect and investigate alleged Boating, ATV and Snowmobile violations. To enforce Wisconsin State Statues and Local Ordinances. To be immediately available to perform search and rescue missions for individuals reasonably believed to be in distress, and in a life threatening situation.
What we do....
The Forest County Sheriffs Office actively patrols the Lakes of Forest County, along with the Snowmobile,ATV trails and Routes. The Sheriffs Office is diligent in it's enforcement efforts to reduce loss of life while maintaining the protection of the persons and property of all of the citizens and vistors of Forest County. The Recreational Patrol program, established in 2008 has served the citizens and vistors of Forest County well and reflects a positive impact on the community.
New law requiring a rear license plate on ATV's and UTV's
Effective July 1st, 2012 ATVs and UTVs will be required to display a rear license plate, in addition to the side decals. The plate can be created or purchased by the registered owner. Plate specifications are 4 inches high by 7 1/2 inches wide, white in color with black lettering. Letters must be a minimum of 1 1/2 inches high and 3/16 stroke. Registered owners must display their six digit DNR registration ID numbers on the plate.
Common ATV/UTV Violations
1. Operate ATV or UTV on public property posted closed or where prohibited by law.
2. Operate/ride ATV or UTV without headgear as required.
3. Illegal operation of an ATV or UTV on or in the vicinity of a highway.
4. Operate ATV or UTV without valid registration.
5. Give permission to operate ATV or UTV without valid registration.
6. Operate ATV or UTV in a careless manner.
7. Operate ATV/UTV without a valid safety certificate.
8. Fail to carry valid safety certificate when operating an ATV or UTV and display upon request.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. My machine meets all the specifications except for a few. Is there any way I can register it as a
A1. Unfortunately not. UTVs have specific, legal specifications and the machine must meet ALL of them.
Q2. Can I modify my machine to meet the UTV specifications?
A2. No. Your machine must meet the UTV specifications as originally manufactured.
Q3. Does this mean I have to get a new license plate every time I get new decals?
A3. No. Your plate number remains unchanged, each time you renew your decals. Registration numbers are assigned to the vehicle and will remain the same even if ownership changes.
Q4. Can I make my own license plate or do I have to purchase one?
A4. Either way is acceptable. You may make your own as long as it meets the legal specifications. If you wish to purchase one you should check with dealerships, the WI ATV Assoc. website or search the internet.
Q5. My son is age 14 and has passed ATV Safety. Can he operate a UTV?
A5. No. The minimum age to operate a UTV is 16 except on private property or while being used for agricultural purposes and under the supervision of a person age 18 or older.
Q6. Can I display my ATV club’s name on the border of my license plate?
A6. As long as the minimum 4-inch by 7 ½-inch area displaying the required registration ID characters is unobstructed, you may display whatever graphics you want outside of that area.
Q7. My machine meets all the UTV specifications, but it is made by a golf cart company. Does that mean it’s a “golf cart” and can’tbe used according to the law?
A7. Many golf cart companies make machines that aren’t designed to be used on a golf course. These machines oftenhave larger tires, better suspension and more power. They do not meet the definition of “golf cart” as listed and may meet thelegal UTV specifications.
Q8. How do I know if ATV Routes and ATV Trails in a particular area are open to UTVs?
A8. You must check with the village, city, town, county, state or federal agency responsible for maintaining the trail or route. Once the UTV program becomes established, most ATV/UTV trail maps, websites, trail heads, signs and other sources of information will be updated with information regarding designated ATV and UTV trails and routes. Any ATV Routes and trails where UTVs are not permitted to operate must be posted with “No UTV” signs.
Q9. If I don’t take my UTV off of private property, do I have to register it and display a license plate?
A9. All UTVs owned and kept in Wisconsin must be registered. UTVs used exclusively on private property must be registered with the DNR with a one-time, Private Use registration fee. UTVs registered for Private Use do not have to display a license plate.
Q10. If I have a privately registered UTV/ATV, do I have to display a license plate?
A10. No. Only UTVs and ATVs registered for Public Use are required to display a license plate.
Q11. If I have a trail pass, do I have to display a license plate?
A11. No. Only UTVs and ATVs registered for Public Use are required to display a license plate.
Q12. How do I know if the vehicle I own qualifies as a UTV or not?
A12. Check the legal UTV specifications and see if it meets every single specification with all original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. If your vehicle does meet every specification, then it must be registered as a UTV. If you are unsure, call the DNR Call Center at 1-888-936-7463.
Q13. My UTV has a roll cage and seat belts. Do my kids have to wear helmets?
A13. Yes, operators of UTVs must follow the same helmet law as ATVs. The law requires all children under age 18 to wear a helmet.
Q14. I can’t find a DOT-certified helmet small enough for my child. The only helmet available is too heavy for my child’s neck muscles to hold their head up. Can my child just wear a bicycle helmet?
A14. Bicycle helmets do not meet the legal helmet requirement for ATVs and UTVs and are illegal. If your child is that small, you must think about the possibility that they are too young to safely partake in this activity.
Q15. I want to take my 3-year-old child on my UTV, is a car seat required? If my child is in a car seat, does he have to wear a helmet and a seat belt?
A15. UTVs are not licensed motor vehicles like cars and trucks; therefore, car seats are not legally required. Any rider under the age of 18 must wear a legal motorcycle or ATV helmet and be properly seat belted in. A child wearing an approved helmet and who is belted into a child’s car seat that is appropriately seat belted into the UTV, would be considered in compliance with the seat belt and helmet requirement.
Q16. Does the license plate have to be displayed on the bumper, like a car, or can it be up on the cab of my UTV?
A16. The license plate must be readily visible from the rear of the vehicle. There are no restrictions on where the plate is attached.
Q17. Does my license plate have to be illuminated at night?
A17. No, there is no such legal requirement.
Q18. I have a disabled hunting permit. Can I use my UTV in the same way I use my ATV?
A18. Yes, except that UTV operators must be at least age 16 while operating on roadways or on public lands.