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Sled safe: five snowmobile fatalities reported so far in 2023

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports five snowmobile fatalities in January and urges all snowmobile operators to make safety the top priority for every ride.

The loss of these five lives is nothing short of tragic and condolences go out to the families.

“One fatality is one too many,” said DNR Off-Highway Vehicle Administrator Lt. Jacob Holsclaw. “This is not the way the DNR wants to start the new year. We welcome all snowmobilers, resident and out-of-state visitors. We want everyone to enjoy the fun and to share the trails safely. We strongly urge snowmobilers to operate within their abilities, keep their speed in check and wait to enjoy adult beverages until they are home.”

The five snowmobile fatal crashes involved single adult operators, ranging from 42 to 68 years old. In addition, four of the five victims were males. These crashes are under investigation.

A brief synopsis of fatal snowmobile crashes can be viewed on the DNR’s website at https://dnr.wisconsin. gov/topic/snowmobile/CrashInfo. Family notifications and identification of the deceased are handled by local officials.

Keep these snowmobile safety tips top of mind when you hit the trail:

  Snowmobile operators need to be safe and responsible while on the trails, routes and frozen bodies of water.

  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. Sled Safe, Sled Smart.

Visit the DNR’s snowmobiling webpage (https://dnr. 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. Trained staff relay the information to conservation wardens. Reports can also be filed online at https://