Deer In Dairyland — The Why And How Of Buying Hunting Land in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is most famous for pro football, brewing, and dairy manufacturing, but this Midwestern “milk state” also has a solid reputation for its exceptional hunting opportunities. With its vast tracts of public land and forests, there are plenty of places for hunters interested in a wide variety of game, including whitetail deer, turkeys, bears, grouse, ducks, elk, and pheasants frequently encountered. Additionally, Wisconsin is also a paradise for fishing enthusiasts, home to species like trout, pike, catfish, and walleye. Its extensive forests, expansive meadows, and a wealth of cultural attractions add to the state’s appeal, offering a multitude of recreational activities amidst its natural splendor.

Anyone curious about hunting land opportunities has an overwhelming number of options in America’s Dairyland, but you have to know where to look. Not everywhere in Wisconsin is suitable — or legal — for hunting, so it’s important to review the best zones and current hunting codes before choosing a land parcel. With proper guidance and some research, interested landowners can find their ideal tract of hunting land for sale in Wisconsin.

Why Is Hunting Land Attractive In Wisconsin?
Hunting Land In Wisconsin

Although many lists of the “best” hunting states favor territories on the West Coast, Wisconsin often gets special recognition thanks to its expansive woodlands and millions of available acres. With vast national forests, scenic river valleys, and abundant water sources, Wisconsin provides a diverse habitat for hunters seeking various experiences. From big game like whitetail deer and black bears to waterfowl and upland bird hunting, there are many accessible hunting zones in Wisconsin.

Plus, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) makes hunting more accessible to residents while promoting biodiversity with its well-established regulations. Wisconsin has also developed multiple hunting communities over its long history, which makes it easy for new landowners to connect with fellow hunters and experience the camaraderie often associated with this activity.

What Game Is Available on Wisconsin Hunting Grounds?

As mentioned above, one of Wisconsin’s appeals to hunters is that it has a diverse range of opportunities and species, offering world-class hunting opportunities. Here are a few highlights you can expect from the game in the Badger State:

  • Trophy Whitetail deer trails
  • Wild turkey
  • Waterfowl (e.g., wood ducks, mallards, and Canada geese)
  • Upland game birds (e.g., quail, grouse, and pheasants)
  • Black bears
  • Elk
  • Small game (e.g., rabbits, squirrels, and raccoons)
  • Migratory birds (e.g., woodcock, doves, and snipe)

Where To Find The Best Wisconsin Hunting Land

Before searching through the latest available hunting land for sale in Wisconsin, prospective buyers must have a clear list of properties they want in a land parcel. The “best” areas for hunting can depend on the type of game you are pursuing, your preferred hunting style, and the specific experience you’re seeking. Not every property in Wisconsin near or in a hunting zone has the specific features for different buyers. For instance, those most interested in black bears may focus on the northern region while looking for waterfowl tend to research wetlands in the Mississippi River Valley.

Take time to consider the ideal elements in Wisconsin hunting land to make the decision-making process easier. After you have a clear sense of what you want in a Wisconsin land plot, here are a few of the significant hunting-friendly regions to consider:

  • Northern Wisconsin: With its numerous state parks, dense forests, and lakes, the upper third of Wisconsin often ranks as the best area of the state for hunters — especially those interested in big game animal species like black bears and whitetail hunting. For those more interested in waterfowl or grouse hunting, be sure to check woodland areas and lakes in this region for exceptional opportunities. Check the vast Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest for the latest news on hunting opportunities in the Northern Wisconsin area.
  • Central Wisconsin: Land in central Wisconsin is more open and expansive than the state’s northern sections, and it’s not as easy to find black bears in the parks and forests of this region. However, designated parks like the George W. Mead State Wildlife Area offer hunting during regular seasons for game, such as whitetail deer, turkeys, and waterfowl, especially around the lakes and wetlands.
  • Southwestern Wisconsin (aka the Driftless Area): This plateau region along the Mississippi River is best known in the hunting community for its trophy whitetail deer population. However, this valley-rich region also boasts a terrific turkey season and is a prime location for migratory birds.
  • Eastern Wisconsin (Lake Michigan shoreline): Along Wisconsin’s eastern coast, hunters have access to wetlands best suited for hunting birds like ducks or turkeys. While it’s also possible to find deer in this area, property in Wisconsin’s eastern zone is ideal for those most interested in migratory birds or waterfowl. The Kettle Moraine State Forest is one hotspot in Wisconsin’s southeastern region open to hunting small game, deer, and turkey.

For more specific guidance, here are a few counties in Wisconsin offering hunting property and acreage:

How To Apply For A Hunting License In Wisconsin

Hunting License In Wisconsin

All hunters in Wisconsin need to work with the WDNR to apply, process, and renew licenses to hunt in the state. Therefore, the best place to start researching information on eligibility requirements is on the WDNR’s website or with a WDNR agent. No matter the specific equipment a hunter wants to use (e.g., rifle, shotgun, or bow), or the game a hunter is most interested in, they need to complete a safety education course online or in-person through the WDNR. Those interested in signing up for these classes can find more information on the WDNR’s official portal under the “Safety Education” tab.

Once prospective hunters know they’re eligible for a license and have a safety certificate, they can apply to the WDNR through mail, an approved license sales location, or online. Those who want to keep their registration info online must create a “GoWild” account on Whichever method you choose to apply for a hunting permit or license, submit the requested information to the WDNR and pay any applicable fees. If you pass all of the checks from the WDNR, you receive your hunting license either in your GoWild portal or through the mail.

Since the laws surrounding hunting are constantly in flux, it’s imperative for anyone interested in hunting in Wisconsin to stay updated on the WDNR’s policies and reach out to the organization with any specific questions.

Financing Hunting Land In Wisconsin

Similar to purchasing property in urban or residential zones, buying hunting land real estate in Wisconsin is a considerable investment. While some people may have the funds to buy hunting land outright, many use loans to finance their hunting land purchase. Instead of taking out a mortgage, investors use land loans to make the payment process more manageable.

These loans work like traditional mortgages, but they often have faster repayment schedules, higher down payments, and steeper interest payments. Also, since banks tend to view land investments as “riskier” than pre-built properties, it’s more common to work with local credit unions for Wisconsin hunting land opportunities. While not necessary, some prospective buyers work with local land brokers in Wisconsin to help identify attractive land parcels and figure out the optimal financial option.

Is Investing in Wisconsin Hunting Land The Right Opportunity?

Whether people are looking into Wisconsin land for personal recreation or as an investment, searching for properties in or near hunting zones may be an attractive option. However, it’s always important to weigh the pros and cons of investing in land before deciding. Assess whether Wisconsin has the hunting opportunities you’re most interested in and how much you have to deploy in this investment. After careful consideration, you should better understand whether Wisconsin is the ideal spot to buy land.

FAQs About Hunting Land For Sale In Wisconsin

Hunting Land For Sale

Discover the essentials of purchasing hunting land in Wisconsin through our frequently asked questions. This section delves into the key aspects such as investment costs, the adequacy of land size for various types of hunting, and recommendations for land area based on different hunting needs.

How much $ is needed for a deer hunting property in Wisconsin?

The cost of deer hunting property in Wisconsin varies greatly depending on the location and size of the land. As of recent listings, the average price for hunting land in Wisconsin is around $392,246, with an average size of about 73.4 acres. However, this can vary, with properties ranging from smaller, more affordable parcels to larger, more expensive ones, usually including a cabin. The price per acre is approximately $5,345 on average.

Is 5 acres enough to hunt on?

Whether 5 acres is enough for hunting depends on various factors, including the type of game being hunted, local wildlife populations, and hunting methods. For small game or bow hunting, 5 acres might suffice, especially if the land is part of a larger ecosystem with good wildlife habitats. However, for larger game or if using firearms that might cause a disturbance in the local animal population, more space might be needed to ensure a safe and ethical hunting experience.

How much land is needed for a deer hunting property?

For deer hunting, a minimum of 10 acres is generally recommended to prevent wounded deer from crossing onto neighboring properties. Ideally, around 50 acres or more is preferable for sustainable hunting and accommodating multiple hunters. For bird hunting, at least 5 acres with a mix of woods, fields, and water sources is suggested. For wild hogs, over 10 acres with similar characteristics is suitable. These are general guidelines and can vary based on local conditions and wildlife.