Hunting and Conservation in Wisconsin

The Conservancy’s work protects habitat that game species and other wildlife need to survive.

Steven Rinella, The Wild Within

Steven Rinella talks about the intersection between hunting and conservation.


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 97 percent of the land that the Conservancy owns in Wisconsin is open for hunting deer, turkey, pheasant and other game species. Thousands of acres of land that the Conservancy 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 management tool for the Conservancy. 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. The Conservancy’s work to protect lands and waters in Wisconsin since 1960 protects the habitat that game species and other 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 Fund and tax incentive programs like the Managed Forest Law have been important partners in helping the Conservancy protect thousands of acres and enhance hunting opportunities in Wisconsin by opening these lands to the public. More hunting opportunities may become available in the future as we acquire more land and receive additional funding.

While most Conservancy properties do offer hunting opportunities, some properties are closed to hunting due to a variety of situations. Please only hunt on those properties identified on our hunting maps. Conservancy properties that do not show up on the maps are not open to the public for hunting.

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 Hunting Guidelines
Learn about the guidelines for hunting at Conservancy preserves.

Nature Conservancy Deer Hunting Permit Application Process
Get a link to the permit and the details on how to apply.