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Rat River Wildlife Area

Rat River Wildlife Area

Rat River Wildlife Area is in Winnebago County, 2 miles north of Winchester. The state manages and owns the nearly 4,000-acre property.

Historically, the area was comprised of sedge meadows and marshes. Today, much of the property is dominated by canary grass with a dense population of cattails. Some lowland forest types are found on the wildlife area, as well as a few upland fields. The Rat River runs east to west through the long, narrow property and eventually flowing into the Wolf River.

Find Rat River Wildlife Area north of Highways II and 110 between Winchester and Zittau. Parking areas can be found on North Loop Road, County Highway M, Hillcrest Road and Shady Lane.

Management Objectives

The Rat River Wildlife Area is managed to provide opportunities for public hunting, fishing, trapping and other outdoor recreation while protecting the qualities of the native communities and associated species found on the property. Current management objectives in wetland areas include maintaining the bottomland hardwood and swamp hardwood types and maintaining or restoring sedge meadow, emergent marsh and shrub-carr. Upland management objectives include maintaining and improving the grassland type on all sites and expanding grasslands by utilizing native grass and forbs. Where feasible, populations of invasive species are controlled by cutting, pulling, burning, herbicide treatment and/or bio-control.

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


The Rat River Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities.

  • Birding;
  • Canoeing;
  • Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
  • Hiking;
  • Hunting;
  • Trapping;
  • Wild edibles/gathering; and
  • Wildlife viewing.


Download [PDF] a map of this property.

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


This wildlife area has been adopted by the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office.