MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced a new venue for the informational meeting on the wildlife management changes at Sandhill Wildlife Area.

The meeting will now take place at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at the Pittsville School District Auditorium located at 5459 Elementary Ave., Pittsville, Wis. The meeting is to discuss and answer questions about upcoming management changes on the property, including the removal of the perimeter deer fence.

The public is encouraged to attend and ask DNR’s Sandhill Wildlife Area staff questions of Sandhill in person or via Zoom.

The department announced on Sept. 23 the planned discontinuation of its game farm license at Sandhill Wildlife Area. Since purchasing the property in 1962, the DNR has managed Sandhill to provide unique wildlife viewing, hunting and research opportunities to the public while maintaining the property as a deer farm.

The meeting was previously scheduled to be held at Sandhill Wildlife Area. The department has changed venues to allow for greater attendance while social distancing and to accommodate a virtual option for those who wish to attend via Zoom.

The department has held a game farm license for Sandhill Wildlife Area since 2003. Following the terms of this license, the DNR has maintained a perimeter fence around the property’s 9,150 acres.

Following state regulations, game farms affected by chronic wasting disease (CWD) must implement a biosecurity plan to prevent the spread of the disease. While CWD has not yet been found in any Sandhill deer, it has been found in Wood County.

If the disease were to be found on the property, the public would have restricted access to the property and interfere with habitat management due to the required biosecurity plan.

The DNR will relinquish its game farm license to safeguard the public’s continued enjoyment of Sandhill Wildlife Area. As part of this process, the department will follow all state regulations for decommissioning a game farm, including depopulating the deer herd within the existing fence and then removing the fence itself. A timeline has not been established for the decommissioning process.

While the property will no longer operate as a game farm, all other aspects of the property will remain in place at Sandhill Wildlife Area. Operations continuing on the property include the Outdoor Skills Center, dormitory, Trumpeter Trail, hiking trails and the wildlife refuge and operation as a Wildlife Demonstration Area.

The 9,150-acre State Wildlife Area was named for a series of gently rolling sandy ridges crisscrossing the property. Sandhill Wildlife Area lies within the bed of ancient Glacial Lake Wisconsin – an expansive region of flat, marshy land interspersed with forests covering parts of seven counties in central Wisconsin.

The property features low, sandy uplands of oak, aspen and jack pine forests, large marshes and many flowages. A small herd of American bison, ruffed grouse, Canada geese, ducks, loons, bald eagles, sandhill cranes, shorebirds, songbirds, hawks, owls and furbearers find a great home at Sandhill.

Event Details

What: Wildlife Management Changes At Sandhill Wildlife Area Information Meeting
When: 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6
Where: Pittsville School District Auditorium, 5459 Elementary Ave., Pittsville, Wis.

Alternate Ways To Participate: 

Join this meeting by Zoom.

Join by phone: 929-205-6099; Meeting ID: 815 0309 0854

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