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Vernon Wildlife Area


Vernon Wildlife Area is a 4,655-acre property (4,154 acres owned and 501 acres leased) located just north of Mukwonago in eastern Waukesha County. Parking lots are located off of State Highway 83, Frog Alley Road, County Highway I, County Highway NN and Benson Avenue. A boat launch can be found off Frog Alley Road.

The property consists of mostly wetlands/flowages with the Fox River snaking through. Adjoining uplands consist of grasslands and some woodlots. A calcareous fen is also present on the south side. It offers excellent wildlife habitat, especially for migrating and nesting waterfowl.

Land in the wildlife area was first leased in 1946 as a public hunting ground. Purchase of the property by the DNR began four years later, assisted by donations from Wetlands for Wildlife and other conservation organizations. It is a popular area for waterfowl, pheasant, small game, turkey and deer hunting. Accessible blinds for waterfowl hunting are available off Frog Alley Road.

Management Objectives

The wildlife area is managed to provide opportunities for public hunting, fishing, trapping and other outdoor recreation while protecting the qualities of the unique native communities and associated species found on the property. Management of flowages and wetlands is designed to maintain and improve the emergent marsh and open water wetland types. Oak sites are managed through shelterwood harvests that are timed to coincide with good acorn crops. Grassland and shrub-carr types are maintained and improved, through mowing, brushing and prescribed fire. Populations of invasive species are controlled or eliminated 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 Vernon Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:

Note: No entry for any reason in refuge from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, except for gun deer hunting.

  • Birding;
  • Boating (no gasoline powered motors except on Fox River, and trolling motors may not exceed 5 mph);
  • Canoeing;
  • Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
  • Dog trial grounds (training permits required);
  • Fishing;
  • Hiking (no designated trail);
  • Hunting (especially noted for pheasant, with 12 p.m. closure, and hen-rooster area rules apply — no waterfowl hunting in waterfowl refuges);
  • Snowmobiling trail;
  • 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.

Adopt a Fish or Wildlife Area


Find out more about how to adopt this wildlife area.