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Recreation - Trapping

Recreation - Fishing

Recreation - Hunting

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Contact information
For information on the wildlife areas, contact:
Wildlife Management

Wildlife areas

Wildlife Area

Wisconsin can take pride in its vast treasure of natural resources, particularly its wildlife. Since 1876, Wisconsin has been acquiring land to meet conservation and recreation needs. Public lands managed by the DNR provide many opportunities and public spaces for you and your family to hunt, fish, trap, hike, canoe or watch and photograph wildlife.

All wildlife areas are managed to sustain the wildlife and natural communities found on the properties and to provide a full range of traditional outdoor recreational uses. These include hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking and nature study. Edible fruits, edible nuts, wild mushrooms, wild asparagus and watercress may be removed by hand without a permit for the purpose of personal consumption by the collector. Dog training or trialing (hunting dog competitions) may be allowed by permit. A limited number of properties allow additional outdoor recreation at designated locations; like camping, bicycling, horseback riding and snowmobiling.

Locate a state wildlife area

adopt a fish and wildlife area

A Fish and Wildlife Area

Wisconsin State Fisheries Areas, Wildlife Areas, Flowages, Wild Rivers and Riverways provide critical fish and wildlife habitat along with outstanding nature based recreation. The department can use your help in managing these lands, including property posting, habitat improvements, litter removal, surveys, financial donations and many other activities. Sponsors may choose from over 200 fish and wildlife areas throughout Wisconsin. If you or your organization is interested in adopting a Fish or Wildlife Area, please submit an application [PDF] [PDF help] to your local DNR office. Partner efforts will be recognized through property signage and media outreach, thanks for your support!

Current sponsors

Thank you for Adopting a Fish or Wildlife Area!

  • Pheasants Forever (SE Wisconsin and Jefferson Chapters) - Paradise Valley Wildlife Area, Bark River Unit
  • Nicolet Bird Club of Three Lakes - Thunder Lakes Wildlife Area
  • Natural Heritage Land Trust - Patrick Marsh Wildlife Area
  • Door Sand Hill Farm - Mud Lake Wildlife Area (Door County)
  • Pheasants Forever (Kinnickinnic Chapter) - Swinging Gate/Clay Corners
  • Wisconsin Watertfowl Association - Lake Mills Wildlife Area
  • Northwoods Wildlife and Wetlands Club - Little Turtle Flowage Wildlife Area
  • Boy Scout Troop 385 - McMillan Marsh Wildlife Area
  • Pheasants Forever (Ozaukee/Washington Chapter) - Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area
  • Pearson Family Foundation - Goose Lake Wildlife Area
  • Wisconsin Waterfowl Association - Rome Pond WMU
  • Mr. Hubbard's Hounds - Turtle Valley Wildlife Area/Bloomfield Wildlife Area
  • UW-River Falls Resource Management Club - Marion Wildlife Area
  • Outagamie Conservation Club - Heath Van Handel Memorial Forest/Wolf River Bottoms, La Sage Unit
  • Winnebago County Sheriff's Office - Rat River Wildlife Area

Wildlife Area legal information

Section 23.09 (2) (d) 3., State Stats., provides legislative authority and direction for the acquisition and management of state wildlife areas. The primary purpose of state wildlife areas as stated in this statute is to provide "areas in which any citizen may hunt, trap or fish". Section 23.11 (1), Stats., provides for the general care, protection and supervision of state lands. Section 23.30, Stats., deals with the provisions of the outdoor recreation program.

The management and uses of state wildlife areas are further defined in NR 1.51. WI Admin Code. While hunting and trapping are the primary public uses for wildlife areas; other uses, such as walking, nature study, berry picking, and other low-impact recreational activities are also allowed. Other compatible open-space uses may be allowed under the property's Master Plan when they do not detract from the primary purpose of the property; however, they may be limited in time and location to avoid interference with wildlife production or survival and public hunting and trapping.

Last revised: Friday January 12 2018