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Wisconsin up to 9 snowmobile deaths this winter

Alcohol was involved in more than two-thirds of fatal crashes in recent years.

Nine people have died in Wisconsin snowmobile accidents so far this winter.
Contributed / Narayan Mahon / Travel Wisconsin

MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reports nine snowmobile fatalities so far in 2023 and urges all snowmobile operators to take more safety precautions.

The DNR expects a lot of snowmobiling over the Super Bowl weekend and notes alcohol is involved in more than two-thirds of fatal snowmobile crashes.

“With the big football weekend coming up, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for snowmobile operators to be safe, responsible and sober. Impairment of any kind can have tragic consequences,” said Lt. Jacob Holsclaw, DNR off-highway vehicle administrator. “Over the past five years, alcohol was involved in 68% of snowmobile fatalities. As you venture out on your snowmobile, think of your loved ones. Don’t drink and ride.”

Local sheriff’s deputies and DNR conservation wardens are amping up patrol efforts to make sure you’re staying safe and note:

  • It is never OK to drink and operate a snowmobile. Impairment of any kind – drugs or alcohol – can have tragic consequences. 
  • Always operate within the limits of your skills, visibility and snowmobile.
  • Stop and look both ways before crossing a road. All snowmobile operators are required to obey stop sign postings and stop. Be sure the path is clear of all oncoming traffic.

The Minnesota DNR hasn't released a recent tally of deaths but at least 7 people have died so far this winter in Minnesota snowmobile accidents.
You can view an up-to-date, brief synopsis of 2023 fatal snowmobile crashes on the DNR website, dnr.wisconsin.gov. Go to the DNR’s snowmobiling webpage for additional information on snowmobile safety classes , regulations , safety tips and how to register your snowmobile .


Anyone with information regarding natural resource violations, including unsafe snowmobile operation, may confidentially report by calling or texting the Violation Hotline at 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reports can also be filed online .

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