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Rattlesnake Hill Wildlife Management Area

Rattlesnake Hill WMA locator map

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The primary purposes of Rattlesnake Hill Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA is a 5,100 acre upland tract, situated approximately eight miles west of Dansville, New York. Roughly two-thirds of the area lies in southern Livingston County, while the remaining third lies in northern Allegany County. The tract was purchased in the 1930's under the Federal Resettlement Administration and is one of several such areas turned over to DEC for development as a wildlife management area. The area is appropriately named after the Timber Rattlesnake, which historically was found in the more remote sections of the "Hill".

Featured Activities

Hiking

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General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

Please stay on the designated trails to protect the diversity and richness of the plant communities found within this area.

Hunting & Trapping

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Wildlife Management Unit: 9P

General information on hunting and general information on trapping include how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules, and regulations.

The area is inhabited by a variety of game species and is open to public hunting. White-tailed deer, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, grey squirrel, cottontail rabbit, and woodcock are found on the WMA. An occasional snowshoe hare may be observed adjacent to thick creek bottom brush or conifer plantation habitats. A number of small marsh units have been developed and provide limited hunting for waterfowl. Some of the area's furbearing species such as mink, beaver, and raccoon may be occasionally viewed at these marsh units.

Situated adjacent to Rattlesnake Hill WMA on the southeast are two parcels of state forest lands totaling approximately 2,600 acres. The two areas are similar to Rattlesnake Hill in habitat types with the exception of having fewer natural and maintained openings. These areas are also open to public hunting and the same species of upland game are apt to be found. Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view hunting seasons and trapping seasons).

Fishing

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General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules, and regulations

Several of the deeper water impoundments are stocked annually with trout. Those portions of Sugar Creek, Hovey Brook, and Canaseraga Creek which are on or adjacent to the management area are known trout waters.

Wildlife

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General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state

The WMA offers an interesting blend of upland habitats such as mature woodland, overgrown fields, conifer plantations, old growth apple orchards, and open meadows. Barricaded access roads are closed to unauthorized mechanical vehicles and are available as foot trails throughout the area. Use both the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF 453 KB) and Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF 240 KB) as wildlife viewing guides.

Directions

The WMA is approximately 8 miles west of Dansville, New York with two-thirds of the area lying in southern Livingston County and the remaining third lying in northern Allegany County.

Rattlesnake HIll WMA Brown Sign

All Google links leave DEC website.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Rattlesnake Hill Wildlife Management Area must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Activity Rules & Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in Rattlesnake Hill WMA:

  • Unless specifically stated, using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorboats
  • Swimming or bathing
  • Camping
  • Using metal detectors, searching for or removing historic or cultural artifacts without a permit
  • Damaging or removing gates, fences, signs, or other property
  • Overnight storage of boats
  • Cutting, removing, or damaging living vegetation
  • Construction of permanent blinds or other structures such as tree stands
  • Littering
  • Storage of personal property

Outdoor Safety Tips

NOTE: Ticks are active whenever temperatures are above freezing, but especially so in the late spring and early fall. Deer ticks can transmit Lyme and several other diseases. More information on deer ticks and Lyme disease can be obtained from the NYS Department of Health (leaves DEC website).

How We Manage Rattlesnake Hill Wildlife Management Area

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Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Rattlesnake Hill WMA is managed by DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife for wildlife conservation and wildlife-associated recreation (hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing, and photography). Funding to maintain and manage this site is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration or "Pittman-Robertson" Act, which is acquired through excise taxes on sporting arms, ammunition, and archery equipment.

View the Habitat Management Plan for Rattlesnake Hill Wildlife Management Area (PDF, 2.65 MB), approved in August 2016, which identifies the WMA-specific target species and habitat goals for the WMA.

In addition to the Habitat Management Plan, DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Livingston Unit Management Plan (UMP). The Livingston Unit Management Plan was prepared by a committee of DEC Professionals at the Region 8 DEC office in 2000. Revision of the UMP is underway. The Unit is comprised of three state forests; Canaseraga, Ossian, and Sonyea State Forests, and two Wildlife Management Areas; Conesus Inlet and Rattlesnake Hill Wildlife Management Areas. In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural and human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries, and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at r8.ump@dec.ny.gov.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

Web links below can provide information about other recreation, attractions, and amenities in this area.

State Lands and Facilities

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails, and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions, and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories, or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.