Hunters must adhere to the following guidelines when hunting on Nature Conservancy preserves in Wisconsin.
General Guidelines for All Game Species
- Hunting opportunities differ from preserve to preserve. See our hunting opportunities map for information on species that may be hunted on each Conservancy property.
- Artificial baiting, trail cameras and deer drives are not allowed.
- Stands/Blinds: Only temporary, non-damaging stands and ground blinds may be used. You should place your name and contact info on the stand/blind. You may not put up a stand/blind more than seven days before the start of the season, and the stand/blind must be removed within seven days after the close of that season. No stands or blinds shall be placed within 50 yards of the preserve boundary or another stand or blind. The Conservancy assumes no responsibility for lost or damaged stands and blinds left unattended. All ground blinds used on the preserve during hunting season must display at least 144 square inches of solid blaze orange material visible from all directions around the blind.
- The Conservancy makes every effort to appropriately post our boundaries. We ask that hunters do everything they can to ensure they are on Nature Conservancy land and respect the property rights of adjacent landowners.
- No fires, camping, littering (including the use of plastic flagging) or dumping of waste on Conservancy property.
- No cutting, breaking or clearing of vegetation. Planting of food plots or other vegetation is not allowed.
- Vehicles and ATVs are not permitted on Conservancy preserves.
- No hunting allowed within a 100-yard radius of any inhabited dwelling.
- Alcohol is not allowed on Conservancy property, including in our parking lots.
- Unnecessary shooting or shooting at targets is prohibited.
- Where Conservancy hunting permits are required, you may be accompanied by no more than one non-hunting guest while hunting on the preserves.
- Hunting with Minors: If the hunter or persons accompanying the hunter are under 18 years of age then those individuals must comply with all current WDNR regulations regarding youth hunting. See the WDNR’s Youth Hunting web page for details. If you are hunting at a preserve where the Conservancy requires a permit, you must obtain a separate permit and pay an additional hunting fee for a licensed minor hunter who is 14-17 years old. If the minor is not the child of the person hunting, then the Conservancy must receive a Parental Consent and Release of Liability form (available from the Conservancy) signed by the minor's parent and the hunter, prior to the minor entering the preserve.
- Mentored Hunting Program: If an individual will be hunting under the Mentored Hunting Program, see the Wisconsin DNR’s Mentored Hunting in Wisconsin web page for details on complying with this program. Mentored hunters do not need to submit a separate Conservancy permit application or hunting fee.
- Liability Waiver: By hunting on The Nature Conservancy lands you acknowledge that hunting is inherently dangerous and that you are aware of the risks and dangers involved. By engaging in hunting as an activity, you assume all responsibility for any injury to persons or damages to property that occur in connection with your use of the Conservancy's property. As a hunter, for yourself, your heirs, successors and assigns, you hereby agree to release, indemnify, and hold the Conservancy harmless from any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, costs and expenses incurred in connection with your and any accompanying minor child’s activities or presence on the Conservancy's property, whether or not due to any negligent acts or omissions of the Conservancy.
- Hunters must comply with all local, state, and federal laws and ordinances governing hunting activities, including obtaining all required government licenses or permits.
Additional Hunting Guidelines for Waterfowl
Waterfowl hunting is allowed pursuant to waterway use laws (2001 Wisconsin Act 16). Hunters may only use temporary blinds and cannot cut vegetation on site or bring vegetation to the site to construct the blind. Blinds must be removed at the end of the season.
Additional Hunting Guidelines for Trapping, Small Game and Bear Hunting
Where small game and bear hunting and trapping are allowed on Conservancy preserves, we ask that you fill out a registration form and return it to The Nature Conservancy. Registration is optional and is used to gather data on hunting and trapping patterns.
Additional Hunting Guidelines for Bear
Where bear hunting is allowed it can be by gun or bow according to state regulations. The Nature Conservancy considers baiting to be inconsistent with State Natural Area statute (WI Stats. 23.28(3)), which prohibits activities that may be injurious or inconsistent to its natural values. However, the Conservancy has opted to go with the Wisconsin DNR’s recommendation to allow the placement of supplemental food or nutrition sources on designated properties for bear hunting according to state regulations.
General Guidelines for Use of Dogs on Conservancy Preserves
- Most of our preserves are completely closed to dogs. See our Preserve Visitation Guidelines.
- Hunting dogs are allowed off-leash for small game and waterfowl hunting purposes, only at preserves where these hunting opportunities are allowed and according to state regulations. Off-leash hunting dogs must be kept under voice control of the owner at all times to prevent dogs from creating a nuisance to adjacent properties and residences. From April 1 to August 1, hunting dogs must be on a leash in order to protect ground-nesting birds.
- Use of dogs to hunt bear is allowed per state regulation only at preserves where these hunting opportunities are allowed. Currently most Wisconsin Conservancy preserves where bear hunting is allowed are in Zone C, where the use of dogs is prohibited. See the Wisconsin DNR’s bear hunting regulations for additional information and a map of the bear zones.
Hunting Opportunities at Nature Conservancy Preserves
Learn what’s new this year, find links to hunting map and other hunting program pages, and get information about volunteer opportunities and Nature Conservancy preserves.
Wisconsin Hunting Opportunities Map
View a map and get more details about all Nature Conservancy preserves with hunting opportunities.
Nature Conservancy Hunting Program: Frequently Asked Questions
Learn how much land the Conservancy has open to hunting, if tree stands are allowed, how we ensure that hunters have a safe experience on Conservancy preserves, and more.
Nature Conservancy Deer Hunting Permit Application Process
Get a link to the permit and the details on how to apply.
Hunting and Conservation in Wisconsin
The Conservancy has provided hunting opportunities on its lands in Wisconsin since 1985. See how hunting helps land conservation and how land conservation helps wildlife and hunters.