Hunters, trappers and wildlife watchers in Mille Lacs and Kanabec benefit from the management, habitat and oversight work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Mille Lacs Wildlife Management Area staff.
Wildlife Area Supervisor Steve Piepgras along with two full-time staff oversee three state Wildlife Management Areas totaling 43,000 acres. This includes the 39,000 -acre Mille Lacs WMA and 4,100-acre Four Brooks WMA. Slightly more than half of this acreage is forest and the remainder is mostly wetland. These public lands are heavily used by Twin Cities hunters, birders and others as they are just 90 minutes north of the metropolitan area.
"Hunters from throughout Minnesota and the Midwest have long zeroed-in on this area, especially to hunt ruffed grouse and woodcock," said Piepgras. "These large unbroken tracts of forest and wetland are ideal for deer, waterfowl and bear hunting and trapping, too."
- What we do
At work for you
Burning a swamp edge along one of the roads in the Mille Lacs Wildlife Management Area.
- Annually evaluating, approving and managing up to 20 timber sales, averaging 300 to 800 acres, totaling 6,000 cords, with an annual average value of $102,000.
- Annually planning and implementing prescribed burns on anywhere from 200 to 4,000 acres in both wetland and upland habitats.
- Annually managing 19 impoundments covering 16,000 acres to promote wild rice, waterfowl and furbearer habitat.
- Annually maintain over 24 miles of vehicle accessible roads, 103 miles of hunter walking trails, 88 parking lots, 22 gates and 19 water control structures.
- Annually conducting formal population surveys for ruffed grouse, woodcock, pheasants and predators as well as informal surveys for deer, turkeys and other furbearers.
- Interacting and providing support to local conservation officers and law enforcement regarding illegal activity and assisting local search and rescue squads with locating and recovering two to five lost hunters annually.