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Killsnake Wildlife Area


Killsnake Wildlife Area is located in both southeastern Calumet and southwestern Manitowoc counties. The property is approximately 7,000 acres with a desired goal of 9,106 acres.

The landscape consists of prairie grasslands, uplands with large wetland-grassland complex, bottomland hardwood forest, a small area of cedar swamp, a small area of tamarack and bog, agricultural landscape, small areas of upland forest and over 50 small wetland restorations. Several rivers also run through the property (South Branch-Manitowoc River, Cedar Creek and Killsnake River).

Find Killsnake Wildlife Area by taking Highway 57 to Chilton, then head east on Highway 151 for approximately 5 miles. Take a left on Lemke Road, heading north through the interior of the property.

Management Objectives

In 1948, the Killsnake Bottoms and Cedar Creek area, which occupied about 4,500 acres within the present boundary, were set up as leased areas. The first land was purchased in 1956 in Manitowoc County, and in the mid-1960s the property was expanded into Calumet County. Property was originally set up as a goose satellite area. Today, the property size is around 7,000 acres. Farming occurs on over 1,000 acres involving agriculture crops. Restorations of prairie on over 1,500 acres along with small wetlands totaling over 50 sites continue to add to the diversity of this property.

Presently, prescribe burning for grasslands is maintained for a variety of wildlife; water management on small impoundments or ponds is controlled by manipulating water levels; agricultural fields are maintained for food production for people and wildlife; and sustained forest management is used to yield fiber and optimize habitat for wildlife.

For more information on master planning for this and other wildlife areas around the state, visit the property planning page.


The Killsnake Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:

  • Birding (winter offers opportunities for raptors such as short-eared owls and rough-legged hawks, while summer viewing offers sandhill cranes and bobolinks);
  • Canoeing (on the Manitowoc River and limited on Killsnake River);
  • Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
  • Hiking (great area to walk for hundreds of yards among the prairie and view landscape of hundreds of acres, plus several osprey platforms have been erected with ospreys nesting throughout the breeding season);
  • Hunting (especially noted for pheasant [12 p.m. closure], waterfowl [popular on the numerous small impoundments and rivers within in the property boundaries], turkey, mourning doves [in natural habitat and harvested winter wheat fields], deer and cottontail rabbits);
  • Trapping;
  • Wild edibles/gathering; and
  • Wildlife viewing.

Notable feature: The property has a wealth of archaeological history because of the confluence of several rivers. Many are on the National Register.


Download [PDF] a map of this property.

If you are interested in exploring this property further, you can access an interactive map.

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