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Columbus Wetland Public Hunting Grounds

Columbus Wetland Public Hunting Grounds

Columbus Wetland Public Hunting Grounds is a 248-acre property located in Columbia County. Find it by taking Lewis Street from Columbus, which turns into old Highway 73. The grounds are just north of Highway 151 bridge on west side of the road. The property consists of approximatly 175 acres of wetland, 60 acres of upland and 20 wooded acres.

This public hunting ground was established to provide the public with additional hunting and recreating opportunity. In the late 1990s, a wetland restoration project was completed, creating habitat for wildlife, especially waterfowl.


Historically, the primary management objective for Columbus Public Hunting Grounds was to provide hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities. As lands were acquired, marginal farm fields were converted back to grassland or wetlands to compliment the existing natural community and provide additional wildlife habitat and hunting opportunities.

Current management objectives focus on protecting the watershed of the Crawfish River and managing for pre-settlement vegetation types. This includes maintaining existing grasslands, savannas and wetlands and seeking opportunities to increase these cover types. The property is managed on a landscape scale to create smooth transitions between cover types.

The property is monitored for invasive species such as wild parsnip. Prairie and savanna areas are managed and maintained through prescribed burning, mowing and herbicide use to limit brush encroachment and encourage vigorous grasslands. Wetlands are managed through limited disturbance to prevent the spread of reed canary grass. Woodlands are managed in a manner that limits the spread of oak wilt and encourages regeneration of floodplain forest.

The Columbia County master plan was completed in 2012 and guides the long term management of this property. Progress toward achieving the goals of the master plan are tracked through annual monitoring reports.


The Columbus Wetland Public Hunting Grounds offers many recreational opportunities.

  • Birding
  • Canoeing
  • Cross country skiing (no designated trail)
  • Fishing
  • Hiking (no designated trail)
  • Hunting - especially noted for deer, waterfowl, turkey (zone 3) and furbearers
  • Trapping
  • Wild edibles/gathering
  • Wildlife viewing
Master Plan

The Natural Resources Board approved a new master plan in December 2012 for this property as well as 19 other state fish and wildlife properties and associated state natural areas. These properties are mostly within Columbia County, but portions lie within Dane, Marquette and Sauk counties.

Columbia County Planning Group Master Plan [PDF]
DNR PUB-LF-066 2013

Download [PDF] a map of this property.

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

Useful links
Last revised: Thursday November 17 2016