(12/17/13) Wisconsin landowners who get tax breaks for maintaining forest land cannot lease their land for hunting or any other reason -- regardless of whether it's open or closed for recreation.
A state appeals court ruled today against Wayne Lautenbach of Door County. He was fined 750-dollars last year for leasing property to a hunter on forest land closed for recreation under the state's Managed Forest program. The program offers larger tax breaks to those who open their property for things like hunting-and-hiking -- but closed properties still get lesser tax breaks. Lautenbach, who manages forest land for the firm of Wayne Logcrafters, claimed that the law only prohibits leasing on open forest land -- and the provision for closed land is vague, because it does not provide a notice that people cannot lease it. The Third District Appellate Court in Wausau did not buy Lautenbach's argument. The judges said the leasing ban clearly does not distinguish between open-and-closed properties.