Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Parks


Public hunting is available year-round in properties designated as Wildlife Areas in the Dane County Park System. Requirements are very similar to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources public hunting areas. Some Wildlife Areas have additional rules which are posted on the parks website and on an informational kiosk at the public access point for each property. Hunters should check the property webpage before visiting for a complete list of rules and use requirements.

Hunting is also allowed at several Dane County Parks and Natural Resources Areas in the FALL by Limited Access Archery Hunting permit only. These permits are awarded through the Archery Permit Lottery.

Please note that Dane County System properties are enjoyed by a variety of visitors, including hunters, fisherman, hikers, dog walkers and bird watchers. Hunters should use caution when using firearms and archery equipment. View the Park Use During Hunting Season webpage for more information.


Dane County Wildlife Areas

Dane County Wildlife Areas are sites designated by the Dane County Park Commission as open to public hunting (all types), and other activities such as fishing, hiking and cross-country skiing. Trapping is only allowed on sites that are required to be open for hunting and trapping by the WDNR Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program. Find locations to hunt and learn details about each property through the buttons below.


Wildlife Area Boundaries
Wildlife Areas are boundary-signed with the following Dane County Parks Hunting Area signs:

  • Entering Hunting Area (green letters, white background)
  • Leaving Hunting Area or Private Lands (red letters, white background)
  • Closed Area, No Shooting Area (near buildings that may be occupied)
  • Crop Field - Do Not Enter Until Harvested

Rules and Regulations

  • All Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) hunting rules apply.
  • Each site may have special hunting regulations based on location to residential areas, endangered resources and other issues that have been identified in a planning process.
  • Trapping is only allowed on county land that is required to be open for hunting and trapping by the WDNR Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program.  Lands closed to trapping area identified on the property maps.  This only applies to dry land.  Trapping within the water is allowed on all sites in accordance with state law under Wisconsin’s Public Trust Doctrine.
  • Cropped agricultural fields are closed for use until harvested.
  • Daily removal of tree stands and blinds is required.
  • All dogs must be leashed and have a valid dog permit, UNLESS engaged in a hunting activity.

Hunting on State and Federal Lands
Click on the links below for information on public hunting opportunities on state or federal lands.

Archery Permit Lottery Program

Application Registration:  7/8/2024 - 8/12/2024
Lottery Selection:  8/13/2024

Dane County Parks offers an Archery Permit Lottery Program to award a Limited Access Archery Permit to hunt deer and turkey in select county parks. The lottery includes an online application process and computer-generated random lottery drawing to select permit winners. The program began in 2001 and has expanded to include a majority of the county park properties. Archers have an opportunity for a unique quality recreational experience while helping to manage deer and turkey numbers

There are specific rules that apply to this program. Please read through these rules before applying for a permit.

Information & Rules     Overview Map     Frequently Asked Questions 

Trapping Limited Access Program

Dane County Parks currently has one Limited Access Trapping Permit for ~22 acres at McCarthy County Park that is available on a first-come first-served basis at the Dane County Parks Office

Permit Application Information

  • The cost of the Access Permit is $14.00 to the successful applicant. 
  • The application process registers you for an opportunity to be selected for the “trapping access only” permit for (1) permit for 22-acres at McCarthy County Park. All valid Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR) licenses apply. 
  • The county has specific rules for this trapping permit. The rules are more restrictive than the WI DNR rules (see Permit Rules).

Information & Rules     Permit Location