Hunting with silencers in Wisconsin?
I think of a hardcore criminal on the big screen trying to kill their enemy in silence when I hear the word silencer, or suppressor. I certainly never thought about them in a positive light. Why would anyone consider using them for hunting?
It is legal to purchase and hunt with suppressors in Wisconsin, but owning a suppressor that is not properly registered and taxed is a felony. To my surprise, only a few states prohibit them. And two of them are our neighbors. It is currently illegal to own a silencer in Minnesota and Illinois. Illinois is in the process of adopting a new law that may change things in the future. In Michigan, you can own suppressors, but not for hunting. The process is the same for Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) authorization; you must check with the state laws to see which state allows them and for what. Some states, like Michigan, only allow them for citizens' personal use, while in South Dakota it is only legal to use them for varmint hunting. I found the site for the American Suppressor Association to be very valuable, but I still made a call and spoke with the Wisconsin DNR to verify that it is legal to use them for hunting in this state. According to Knox Williams, president and executive director of the American Suppressor Association, the process to own one legally is the same in every state in which it is legal. In Wisconsin, you can legally hunt and own a suppressor if the ATF gives authorization. YOU need the stamp if approval. A licensed dealer can also walk you through the process.
Giving poachers more tools to wipe the deer population certainly isn’t something I would ever support. Then again, if criminals are willing to poach I bet they already are. A friend told me, we can’t legislate based on what fear of what poachers or other law breakers might do. Williams explained several benefits that I had never thought about in the past.
I know my doctor would appreciate me using one. According to the OSHA, exposure to any noise over 140dB can cause hearing loss and damage. I know a few hunters who have permanent ringing in their ears. It only takes one shot for the sound waves to hit at the perfect angle that results in permanent damage. A good suppressor can reduce the sound that a firearm produces under 140 dB, making those suppressors effective hearing safety devices.
A suppressor can also increase a shooter's accuracy. I have missed turkeys in the past by flinching with anticipation of the recoil and discharge of my shotgun. Using a suppressor can help that, which is especially beneficial for inexperienced hunters. Yes, you can use them with shotguns. Silencers are not just used with rifles and handguns.
Imagine sitting in a duck blind with buddies and being able to communicate easier and shoot more accurately. Buying the proper choke as an accessory with the suppressor will allow it to be used for pheasant, duck or deer. According to Williams, hunting with a suppressor will not inhibit the distance or pattern.
This link explains the process of getting the stamp of approval from the ATF: americansuppressorassociation.com.