The Turtle Flambeau Scenic Waters Area encompasses approximately 35,000 acres of public land. The diverse topography, vegetative cover and water resources of the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area offer a wide variety of hunting and trapping opportunities. Deer, bear, ruffed grouse, woodcock, turkey, snowshoe hare, raccoon, coyote, bobcat, red fox, mink, beaver, otter, fisher, muskrat, and a variety of waterfowl call the area home.
The property includes two special wildlife management units.
The Deadhorse Ruffed Grouse Management Demonstration Area is intensively managed in cooperation with the Ruffed Grouse Society to enhance habitat for ruffed grouse. The emphasis is to provide a variety of habitat types of various age classes. Managing for ruffed grouse entails maintaining a relatively young, highly productive forest as well as encouraging mast (acorns) and berry crops.
The Little Turtle Waterfowl Management Area encompasses the Little Turtle Flowage where maintaining breeding and nesting habitat for waterfowl is emphasized. The open grasslands and wetlands help protect nesting waterfowl from predators.
There are twenty-four miles of designated hunter walking trails at the following four locations. Trails are mowed approximately once every two years to maintain the grass and clover for wildlife and to provide hunter access.
Big Island Trail
This trail begins at the bridge to Big Island. From County Highway FF go south on Popko Circle West approximately 3.6 miles and turn right on a woods road heading west towards Big Island. There is a grass parking area for 2 - 3 vehicles about 100 yards before the bridge. There are 8.8 miles of trail on the Island. Big Island Trail Map [PDF 132KB]
The Deadhorse Trail is located in a special management unit dedicated to intensive management for ruffed grouse. Interpretive signs explaining ruffed grouse management techniques installed at various points on this 4.6-mile trail. Access is off Popko Circle West, approximately 2.0 miles south of County Highway FF. Deadhorse Trail Map [PDF 136KB]
Little Turtle Trail
There are 5.2 miles of mowed trail in the Little Turtle Waterfowl Management Area. To access the trail take Popko Circle East south from County Highway FF approximately 1.1 miles to Joe's Shack Road. At the end of Joe's Shack Road turn right to the trail head parking area on the north edge of the Little Turtle Flowage. NOTE: Between the dates of December 15 and April 15 this hunter walking trail is designated part of the MECCA Cross Country Ski Trail. You may not walk or hike on the groomed portion of this trail any time the ground is snow covered between these dates. Little Turtle Trail Map [PDF 167KB]
Wilson Hills Trail
There are 5.5 miles of maintained trail in two segments between Wilson Lake and the Bonies Mound area of the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage. To access the trails from County Highway FF go south on Popko Circle East approximately 3.6 miles to Wilson Lake Road East. Take Wilson Lake Road East 1.1 miles to a woods road heading east. There are several access points along this woods road. Wilson Hills Trail Map [PDF 133KB]
Iron County Forest
The entire Iron County Forest's 174,317 acres is open to hunting, fishing and trapping. The vast forest is great for hunting numerous large and small game species. Deer stands are allowed on the Iron County Forest if the Deer Stand Rules are followed. In 2009 the Ruffed Grouse Society provided the Iron County Forestry Department with a grant for developing a ruffed grouse and woodcock management area. Contact the department for a map 715-561-2697.
Mercer Target Range
There is a public range open for gun, trap and archery located 5 miles south of Mercer on Range Road off of Hwy 51. The range is maintained by the Northwoods Wildlife and Wetlands Club. The range is open April through November. Donations are accepted and appreciated and are used to help offset expenses.
All general hunting and trapping regulations apply within the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area, but you should take special note of the following regulations before hunting or trapping on this or other state properties.
The Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area is located in Deer Management Unit 29A, Bear Zone A, Fisher Zone B, Turkey Zone 7 and the Northern Zones for Otter and Waterfowl.
Many areas of private land lie scattered within the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area. Care should be taken to stay on state-owned land and not trespass on adjacent lands without the permission of the landowner. Maps showing the location of public and private land within the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area are available at the Mercer Ranger Station and also in map boxes located at a number of boat access sites and trail heads throughout the property.
Most trail access points are gated. Please do not park in front of gates. Access to these gated trails is needed for emergency rescue activities, fire suppression, and forest management operations.
Because the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area is used by many other recreationists, hunters should be especially aware of gun safety and his/her conduct while hunting. Hunting near any trail while it is being used by hikers, bikers, and skiers is discouraged. The most heavily used trails are the MECCA Ski Trail and the Hidden Rivers Nature Trail.