Discover Public Land To Hunt This Season Using The DNR’s Online Mapping Tools
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages the public to explore and hunt on public land this hunting season.
Wisconsin is home to millions of acres of public land, and the majority is open to hunting. Time spent exploring and hunting these areas alone or with family and friends creates memories that last a lifetime.
Hunters can start their quest for new public hunting areas from the comfort of home using the DNR’s online public lands mapping tools. These tools provide information on state-owned properties, voluntary public access lands and more:
- Public Access Lands Atlas – The atlas includes all DNR properties and nearly all federal and county-owned lands. Hunters should contact landowners beforehand to verify hunting is allowed.
- Fields and Forest Lands Interactive Game Bird Hunting Tool (FFLIGHT) – Hunters can use this tool to locate young aspen and alder habitat, woodcock and ruffed grouse hunting areas, pheasant-stocked public hunting grounds and public-access dove fields.
- Voluntary Public Access-Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) interactive map – Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the VPA-HIP map provides landowners with financial incentives to open their properties year-round to public hunting access. Hunters should read the guidelines for accessing VPA properties.
- Map of lands enrolled in Managed Forest Law and Forest Crop Law – This map is especially useful for scouting locations in the central and northern forests.
Once hunters have done their preliminary research online, the next step is to scout the habitat and search for wildlife sign. The DNR recommends hunters scout multiple options in case of changing weather conditions or added hunter pressure in an area.
As hunters head out to explore their public land, hunters are reminded that public lands are for everyone, and it is possible that other hunters and recreational users could be on the property. Follow these tips to ensure a safe and successful experience in Wisconsin’s wild spaces:
- Know the property boundaries and only hunt in legal areas.
- Follow leave no trace principles; this includes altering or cutting tree limbs.
- Be adaptable and have a backup plan.
- Be aware and respectful of other hunters, recreators and DNR staff.
- Follow the TAB-K rules of firearm safety to protect yourself and others:
T – Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
A – Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
B – Be certain of your target, what’s before it and what’s beyond it.
K – Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
For more information on regulations, season dates, hunting hours and other helpful resources, visit the DNR’s Hunter Resources webpage.