Upper Sandusky, Ohio 43351Official Website
When submitting eBird observations at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area, it is most helpful to start a new checklist for each hotspot wildlife area. If you carefully keep your bird records by county, be sure to use the specific hotspots so that the birds will be assigned to the proper county.
From the city of Upper Sandusky in Wyandot County, take OH-67 south for about 1.5 miles, cross a set of railroad tracks, and immediately turn left onto County Road 115. Follow County Road 115 for 4+ miles, crossing OH-294, to a left turn at County Road 71 which leads into the state wildlife area. Drive the roads with an eye out for Northern Shrike in winter, scope the impounded areas and the reservoir for unusual waterfowl, and check the open fields at dusk for Short-eared Owls. Bald Eagles are common year-round, and wintering Long-eared and Northern Saw-whet Owls are annual in the spruce groves.
Certain parts of Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area in Wyandot County are off-limits to the public. While much of this heavily birded 9,000+ acre wildlife area has no restrictions on access, the area is bounded by County Roads 68 and 75 on the south, County Road 71 on the north, Township Road 108 on the west, and County Road 119 on the east are off limits. There are signs that clearly mark these boundaries. Please, see Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area map. The restricted area is marked with crosshatching on this map.
For the most part, the restricted refuge area of Killdeer Plains encompasses the vicinity of Pond 27 and the other large ponds at the east end of the wildlife area. Very good viewing opportunities can be had from along County Road 68 on the south side of the large ponds.
The 9,230-acre Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area lies in the grain farming country of north-central Ohio, eight miles south of Upper Sandusky. Wyandot County Road 115 provides access from OH-294, two miles west of Harpster, and from OH-309, eight miles west of Marion. OH-67 and OH-294 border the area on the west and north. Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area is quite flat, with little natural drainage; however, land adjacent to the Little Sandusky River on the east edge of the area is quite rolling.
Approximately two-thirds of the area is in cropland and grassland. The other one-third is divided almost equally between woods and shrubby coverts and water. The water areas include more than 1,000 acres of marsh, a 360-acre green tree reservoir, and 125 ponds ranging from less than an acre to 50 acres in size. Most small ponds are not shown on the map.
Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area is situated in a natural basin of flat, poorly drained soils formerly covered by prairie sloughs. The original prairie spanned about 30,000 acres. Early records report an abundance of deer, waterfowl, and furbearers. The “Plains” eventually were drained, with varying degrees of success, by ditching and tiling. Today, the agricultural land around the area is intensively farmed for corn and soybeans. The purchase of land for this area began in 1952.
Wildlife management activities included the development and management of several thousand acres of grain crops and grassland, primarily for nesting and migrating grassland wildlife. Trees and shrubs have been planted along field borders and in odd areas to provide permanent cover for upland wildlife. Woods have been protected and improved. Several of the ponds provide fishing opportunities. An 800-acre marsh was constructed in 1966. All suitable fishing waters were stocked with fish. Waterfowl production was enhanced through the provision of several hundred wood duck nest boxes and Canada goose nesting structures. The green tree reservoir was completed in 1994 with assistance from Ducks Unlimited. Pond 3 has been converted to a moist soil unit for the benefit of waterfowl.
The primary purpose of the wildlife area is for grassland wildlife management and associated recreational use. Uses that have become increasingly popular because of the area’s natural features and open character are nature lore, wildlife photography, and bird watching.
Restroom, portable toilet, at Wildlife Area Headquarters.
Accessible Electric APV Trail on former County Road 75, permit required. This road is closed to other vehicles.
Killdeer Plains Trails
Old County Road 75
County Road 75 used to be a primary east-west road to traverse Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area. Now three miles of the road are closed to all but handicapped vehicles. Walking this roadway is a good way to get out of your vehicle for a birding walk through the wildlife area. Parking is available at each of the roads which cross County Road 75. Please note that the area on the north side of County Road 75 (between County Road 115 and Township Road 108) is part of the restricted refuge area of the Killdeer Plains. Do not enter the refuge area. You can walk on the lands south of County Road 75.
There are parking areas at each of the north-south roads which cross Old County Road 75. You can make a 6-mile round trip hike if you begin at either end of the closed road or shorter hikes depending on where you park.
There is a short unmarked trail from the parking lot back into the Owl Pines off County Road 71.
Restrooms on site
Content from Ohio Ornithological Society, Ohio Division of Wildlife, and Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area webpage
Last updated February 7, 2024