Many public and private lands along the Ice Age Trail are open to hunting during a variety of hunting seasons. Hikers should keep the following in mind while the state’s major hunting seasons are happening:
Hunting Season Dates and What to Wear
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources annually sets a range of season dates for a wide range of game species. The most popular hunting seasons include deer (bow and gun), turkey, small game and waterfowl.
Season dates vary from year to year and in different locations around the state. Get the most updated information on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Season Dates page.
The nine-day gun deer-hunting season is in late November. This is the most popular hunting season and the one during which you are most likely to see your Ice Age Trail hiking options limited.
For your safety, consider fall, winter and early spring “Blaze Orange Season”—wear blaze orange (or other bright colors) from October through April when you and your pet are on the Trail.
Hiking on Private Lands
The private landowners who generously serve as Ice Age Trail hosts may close the portion of the Ice Age Trail that runs through their property during hunting season.
This is most common during the nine-day gun deer season, but closures can be in place during other seasons as well.
“Private Land” signs are placed at any point where the Ice Age Trail enters private land, most often at a road crossing. Landowners and/or Ice Age Trail Alliance volunteers also often place “Segment Closed” signs (with dates of the closure) at Trail access points.
Respect signs that announce a closed portion of Trail and be aware of when you pass “Private Land” signs. This will help ensure the continued good relations with private landowners that are so critical to the Ice Age Trail.
In advance of your hike, consider calling the chapter coordinator or our office (800) 227-0046 for more details on sections of the Trail that are closed. Details on closures for each segment are also included in the Ice Age Trail Guidebook.
Hiking on Public Lands
Just about all segments of the Ice Age Trail that cross public lands remain open for hiking during hunting season, including the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, state and county forests and state parks.
Hunting is allowed in most state parks and State Ice Age Trail Areas (SIATAs) from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15 and from April 1 to the Tuesday nearest May 3. In these locations, no hunting or trapping is allowed within 100 yards of the Ice Age Trail. Note that the 100-yard rule does not necessarily apply to other trails in state parks, nor does it apply to other state properties such as state wildlife areas, state forests or state fisheries.
Visit the Wisconsin DNR’s Hunting and Trapping in State Parks page for more information and for hunting and trapping maps for each state park and SIATA.
Also, please see the recent news about a court decision allowing the Chippewa tribes to hunt deer at night in the ceded territory.