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.
- Hunting is prohibited within 500' of any Riverway building, administrative compound, or public use facility and 100' of any designated campsite, or 50' of any road.
- Shooting across or toward any public hiking trail is also not allowed.
- The construction of permanent tree stands is not allowed. Stands must be portable, of a design that does not damage the tree, and must be removed at the end of each day's hunt. Screw-in ladder steps are prohibited, as is brushing out shooting lanes.
- Motorized vehicles and All-Terrain Vehicles of all types are prohibited on NPS lands.
- Transporting unregistered game animals into a neighboring state by boat or other conveyance is a violation of state and federal law.
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.