The woods and waters that make up the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway play host to a rich variety of wildlife. Native peoples have hunted this area for centuries, and modern-day hunters continue this tradition. The enabling legislation that designated the St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers as part of the Wild & Scenic Rivers System provided for the continued, traditional practice of hunting within the Riverway.
Hunting opportunities are diverse and abundant along the Riverway. Many waterfowlers enjoy luring ducks and geese toward decoy spreads at the various cattail and wild rice flowages of the Namekagon or backwaters of the St. Croix River, while others choose to drift the river for jump shooting opportunities. Deer and bear are pursued throughout the Riverway with archery equipment, black powder rifles, and modern firearms. Upland bird hunters find plenty of action in grouse and woodcock coverts. Most recently, wild turkey populations have soared throughout much of the Riverway, prompting both spring and fall hunts in certain zones.
No matter what the quarry or season, all hunting must be in accordance with state regulations. Contact the Minnesota or Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for details on seasons, bag limits, licensing requirements, and general hunting regulations.
Hunters are encouraged to visit their closest Riverway Visitor Center or Ranger Station to clarify questions of park boundary locations or other issues. Private property exists within the Riverway and can only be hunted with permission of the landowner. National Park Service (NPS) Rangers patrol Riverway land during hunting season, as do state conservation officers, to detect violations and enforce regulations.
In some instances, National Park Service regulations may be more stringent than state laws. Regardless of whether you hunt in Wisconsin or Minnesota, the following activities are prohibited on NPS lands.
Areas where hunting is restricted: Some federal land has been restricted or closed to hunting for safety reasons. Exact locations can be found under laws and policies. In general these areas are: Fairy Falls in Washington County is closed to all but archery deer season, Arcola Bluffs Day Use Area is open to archery and firearms deer hunting only and some areas along Highway 95 in Stillwater and, adjacent to Camp Sunrise in Chisago County, adjacent to Wild River State Park, and adjacent to Wild Mountain Recreation Area are closed to hunting. Federal land areas with hunting restrictions are posted.
Hunters are reminded to put safety first, and to respect the rights of private landowners as well as the rights of non-hunters using public lands.
The following is a summary of some of the upcoming hunting seasons for Minnesota and Wisconsin near the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. Refer to the Minnesota and Wisconsin hunting regulations booklet for specific zone descriptions, permits, bag limits, and regulations.
Crow: 8/1–9/20 and 12/15-1/15/14
Virginia Rail &Common Snipe: 9/1 – 11/5
Mourning Dove: 9/1 – 11/9
Woodcock: 9/21– 11/5
Prairie Chicken: 9/28 – 10/6
Ruffed Grouse/ Spruce Grouse: 9/14 – 1/1/14
Sharp-tailed Grouse: 9/14 – 11/ 30
Pheasant: 10/12 – 1/1/14
Rabbits and Squirrels: 9/14 – 2/28/14
Badger, Opossum: 10/19 – 3/15/14
Raccoon, Gray and Red Fox: 10/19 – 3/15/14
Youth Hunt: 10/17 – 10/20
Archery: 9/14 – 12/31
Firearm: 11/9-12/1 (Check specific zone dates)
Muzzleloader: 11/30 - 12/15
Fall Turkey: 9/28– 10/2
Early Canada Goose: 9/1 – 9/20
Waterfowl Opener: 9/21
*Refer to the MN waterfowl hunting booklet.
* For further hunting information and regulations consult the MN Hunting Regulations or the MN DNR website: www.dnr.state.mn.us.
Woodcock: 9/21 – 11/4
Mourning Dove: 9/1 – 11/9
Early Canada Goose: 9/1 – 9/15
Goose: Exterior (North Zone): 9/16 – 12/16
Youth Hunt: 9/14 – 9/15
Duck: Northern Zone: 9/21-11/19
Southern Zone: 9/28-10/6 and 10/12-12/1
Refer to the WI waterfowl hunting booklet and the SACN waterfowl guide.
Aid of Bait, Other, No Dogs: 10/2 – 10/8
Zone C- 9/4-10/8
Pheasant: 10/19 (noon) – 12/31
Bobwhite Quail: 10/19 (noon) – 12/11
Zone B: 10/19 – 12/8
Zones 1-5: 12/2 - 12/31
Squirrels: 9/14 – 1/31
Archery: 9/14 – 11/21 & 11/23 – 1/5/14
Firearm: 11/23 – 12/1
Muzzleloader: 12/2 – 12/11
Statewide Antlerless: 12/12 – 12/15
Youth Hunt: 10/5 – 10/6
CWD Holiday Hunt: 12/24-1/5/14
Fox (Red and Gray): 10/19-2/15/14
Coyote: Hunting Continuous Open Season
Hunting is permitted on National Park Service property within the St.Croix NSR in accordance with state and federal regulations. The following acts are prohibited on National Park Service property:
* Shooting across designated trails, OHV & ATV use, hunting from a permanent tree stand, Target Practice. *
Did You Know?
Mussels rely on fish to carry their young around until they are old enough to drop to the river bottom. To attract the fish and attach their young, mussels put on displays that make fish think they are fish or other food. The mussel shell, which is all we normally see, is now barely visible.