Group of 4 turkeys in a field looks at another lone turkey.
Turkeys: The Nature Conservancy uses hunting as a management tool to keep plant communities healthy and diverse. © iStock.com/merma1d

Stories in Wisconsin

Hunting Opportunities at Wisconsin Preserves

This page was updated on September 1, 2020.

Wisconsin has a long tradition of hunting, passed on from generation to generation. It’s an important part of our history, culture and economy. Hunters were some of the early conservationists in our state, and they continue to support habitat protection through hunting license fees and taxes on guns and ammunition.

The Nature Conservancy has provided hunting opportunities on its lands in Wisconsin since 1985. Up to 98 percent of the land that TNC owns in Wisconsin is open for hunting deer, turkey, pheasant or other game species. Thousands of acres of land that TNC has helped protect and transferred to public and private entities are also open to the public for hunting and other recreation opportunities.

Hunting is an important tool for TNC in protecting and managing the lands we own. At some of our preserves, for example, white-tail deer populations have grown well beyond the ability of the plant communities to withstand their browsing. We employ hunting as a tool to control deer populations and reduce the damage they are causing, allowing plant communities to recover their full vigor and diversity.

With the increase in human population and fragmentation of land due to urban and suburban development, the lands available for hunting in Wisconsin are decreasing. TNC’s work to protect lands and waters in Wisconsin since 1960 safeguards the habitat that wildlife need to survive and provides places where young and old alike can enjoy hunting and other recreational activities.

Public funding programs like Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program and tax incentive programs like the Managed Forest Law have been important partners in helping TNC protect thousands of acres and enhance hunting opportunities in Wisconsin by opening these lands to the public.

While most TNC properties do offer hunting opportunities, some properties are closed to hunting due to access issues and other situations. Please only hunt on those properties identified on our hunting maps. TNC properties that do not show up on the maps are not open to the public for hunting.

Consult DNR's hunting season date website for more information.

New in 2020

Most of the land TNC owns in the Baraboo Hills area is now open for all hunting as allowed under DNR regulations. We are making this change in order to have a more consistent hunting experience across the majority of our preserves. Some isolated tracts still require a permit to hunt. Please see the maps linked below for more specific information. If you have questions, please email us at wisconsin@tnc.org or call our offices in Madison at 608-251-8140 or Baraboo at 608-356-5300.

Hunting Guidelines

Wisconsin Hunting Opportunity Maps

Iron County

Kenosha County

Marquette County

Deer Hunting Permit Application

June 2020 Update: TNC's Wisconsin office is currently closed due to restrictions related to COVID-19. Because of this there may be some delay in processing deer permit applications. We appreciate your patience.

The window to apply for a permit at our Crooked Creek Preserve for the 2020 deer hunting season is closed. All applications received by June 15, 2020 were included in the lottery for one of the 10 available permits. Please check this website in April 2021 in order to apply for a spot during the 2021 hunting season.