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Wildlife Management

Ackley Wildlife Area

COVID-19 Update

On Friday, May 1 and at the direction of Gov. Evers, the department reopened state parks, forests and sites within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway with special conditions. Four State Natural Areas remain closed: Parfrey's Glen, Pewits Nest, Gibraltar Rock and Dells of the Wisconsin River. All Wildlife Areas and Fisheries Areas are open. For more information, please visit the DNR's COVID-19 information webpage for the full list of conditions, including hours of operation, admission fees and more.

Welcome to Ackley Wildlife Area. Shortly after the turn of the century, harvest of the original hardwood, hemlock and pine timber types occurred on the area now knows as the Ackley Wildlife Area. Later, wild fires and abortive attempts at farming reduced the cover types to grasses, shrubs and aspen. These activities resulted in the wildlife area and surrounding lands developing into ideal habitat for sharp-tailed grouse.

This property was originally created in 1951 as an area to manage for prairie (sharp-tailed) grouse. Since that time wildlife managers have developed 27 shallow waterfowl flowages encompassing more than 400 acres of water. The remainder of the property is a mix of native grasslands, aspen and northern hardwood stands.

If you like hunting, Ackley provides excellent opportunities to pursue a variety of game species. Deer, turkey, black bear, ruffed grouse, woodcock and waterfowl. Beaver, muskrat, fisher and coyote are abundant on this property and on the 27,000 acres of surrounding county forest lands.

Ackley Wildlife Area is located on state Highway 64, 12 miles west of Antigo or 14 miles east of Merrill.


The Ackley Wildlife Area is managed to provide opportunities for public hunting, trapping and other outdoor recreation while protecting the qualities of the unique native communities and associated species found on the property. Current management objectives include maintaining the health, vigor and diversity of northern hardwood stands and the aspen type to provide wildlife habitat and aesthetic values. Wetlands are managed to maintain and enhance the quality and extent of emergent marsh to benefit waterfowl. Native grasslands are managed and maintained through prescribed burning, mowing and herbicide use to limit brush encroachment and encourage vigorous stands. Where feasible, populations of invasive species are controlled or eliminated by cutting, pulling, burning, herbicide treatment and/or bio-control.


The Ackley Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities.

  • Biking
  • Birding
  • Camping
  • Cross country skiing (no designated trail)
  • Hiking (no designated trail)
  • Hunting
  • Snowmobiling trail
  • Trapping
  • Wild edibles/gathering
  • Wildlife viewing

Download a map of this property. Map A [PDF] and Map B [PDF]

If you are interested in exploring this property further, you can access an interactive map.

Useful links
Last revised: Wednesday May 06 2020