Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area (TLWMA) is a public WMA located in northeastern Marshall County, Minnesota, approximately midway between the cities of Thief River Falls and Roseau.
Primitive camping in designated areas. 55,000 acres of wildlife habitat, including marshes, forests, brushlands, and prairie. Wildlife, present seasonally, include waterfowl and other marsh birds, deer, moose, bear, grouse, rabbits, furbearers, songbirds, sandhill cranes, and raptors. Activities include hunting for waterfowl, big and small game, and nature viewing. A scenic overview of the lake with interpretive signing and picnic shelter are available.
The land making up the WMA is flat and was once part of glacial Lake Agassiz. Vegetation types common to the area include marshes and sedge meadows, as well as aspen forests, brushlands, oak savannah and coniferous forests, in addition to limited areas of cropland. Thief Lake itself is 7,100 acres in size at normal pool. A sanctuary area of slightly more than 5,100 acres covers the west and northcentral portions of the lake, along with associated uplands. A Controlled Hunting Zone (CHZ) with 85 blinds and shooting positions (primarily for goose hunting) abuts the upland portions of the sanctuary. Wildlife habitat on the WMA is managed for resident and migratory wildlife. The area provides recreational sport hunting of many game species, bird watching (on the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail), trapping, snowmobiling and other compatible outdoor recreational opportunities.
Thief Lake Bird Checklist
Thief Lake WMA Map
Controlled Hunt Zone (CHZ): A complete listing of CHZ rules is found in the Waterfowl Supplement, which is published annually. The following rules apply to all waterfowl hunters in the CHZ, and small game hunters from the opening of the regular waterfowl season to the Tuesday nearest October 22: Hunters must use designated stations on a first come, first served basis. Hunters are limited to one trip to the blinds before noon, and one trip after noon per day. Hunters are limited to 12 shells per trip in possession. Hunters must have guns unloaded and cased except within 10 feet of the hunting stations. Selected blinds will be posted closed during the early September Goose season because of their proximity to water. No person may park in or otherwise occupy any designated CHZ parking lot or hunting station from 10 pm to 5 am. Several blinds have been modified to allow hunting by persons with disabilities. Qualifying hunters should contact the headquarters for details.