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November 12, 2013

Live online chat will provide more information on open hunting lands

MADISON - If you are still looking for a place to hunt this fall, or if you have questions about public land you frequent, check out the following links for information on public lands and private lands open to public hunting. Additionally, Department of Natural Resources experts will host a live online chat to answer your questions about accessing these hunting lands, including state parks, and using DNR's open lands mapping tools, on Wednesday, Nov. 20, starting at noon.

To join the Nov. 20 chat, visit and search keywords "ask the experts."

In the meantime, click on the links below to learn more about some of the public hunting access opportunities in Wisconsin.

The DNR's Explore Outdoors Web page allows people to search millions of acres of public lands by county, by proximity to a city, by type of property or by one of 22 listed outdoor activities, including hunting. Search results allow you to read about and view detailed maps of DNR properties, including:

  • State Wildlife Areas are managed primarily for hunting.
  • Most State Parks are open to certain types of hunting for two months of the year, with new guidelines coming soon.
  • Most DNR-owned State Natural Areas are open to hunting.
  • The department's Managed Lands website at allows you to interactively map most public lands in the state.

    Voluntary Public Access (VPA) is a DNR program that provides incentives to private landowners who open their property to public hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife observation. Maps are available on the DNR website.

    Through the Managed Forest Law (MFL) and Forest Crop Law (FCL) programs, some private forest lands are open to the public for recreational purposes. A new DNR Private Forest Lands Open to Public Recreation Web mapping application allows people to use an interactive tool for mapping these private forest lands that are open to public hunting and other forms of outdoor recreation.

    Agricultural properties enrolled in the Wildlife Damage Abatement and Claims Program (WDACP) are another option to consider when looking for properties to hunt. More information on WDACP as well as a list of properties enrolled in the program that are open to the public for hunting the species causing damage can be found on the DNR website. Hunters must contact the producer before they hunt.

    Other resources for information on public lands open to hunting outside of DNR include the following (all links exit DNR).

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service owns several large and small properties in Wisconsin that are open to public hunting. See

    The US Fish and Wildlife Service owns and manage waterfowl production areas in Wisconsin. These properties are typically open to hunting. You can find out more about these sites including an interactive map.

    The U.S. Forest Service manages the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, 1.5 million acres open for hunting in northern Wisconsin.

    "Wisconsin has a wealth of lands, both public and private, that are open to the public for hunting," said Doug Haag, DNR Realty Operations chief. "These links are not an exhaustive representation of the opportunities, rather a snapshot of DNR programs that may help people locate places to hunt. Other resources not specifically linked here include County GIS sites, County plat books, and several printed mapping products available in local sporting goods stores."

    CONTACT: Doug Haag, DNR Realty Operations Chief, 608-266-2136

    Last Revised: Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Need an expert?

    The Office of Communications connects journalists with DNR experts on a wide range of topics. For the fastest response, please email and the first available Communications Specialist will respond to you.