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Willard Wildlife Management Area

Willard WMA locator map


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Willard Wildlife Management Area (WMA) The primary purposes of the Willard WMA is for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. The Willard Wildlife Management Area was originally a part of the Willard State Hospital lands used in its farm operations. Farm operations were discontinued in 1963 and the land was transferred to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for hunting, fishing, and recreational use. This WMA consists of 135 acres of cropland and 23 acres of woodland which borders on Seneca Lake.

Featured Activities

Hunting and Trapping
Willard WMA is located in Wildlife Management Unit 8S. Deer, pheasant, and squirrel are the main wildlife game species on the area. (View hunting seasons and trapping seasons)

Willard WMA is open to fishing; please visit DEC's website for more information about fishing.

Wildlife Viewing
Geese and ducks feed in Willard grain fields and that part of Seneca Lake adjacent to the area. Many other species of wildlife are found on the Willard Wildlife Management Area at frequent intervals. Use both the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF 453 KB) and Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF, 240 KB) as wildlife viewing guides.

Williard WMA Brown Sign


Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Activity Rules & Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in Willard 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) Also, practice Leave No Trace (Leaves DEC website) principles when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts.

How We Manage

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Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Willard WMA is managed by DEC's Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources for wildlife conservation and wildlife-associated recreation (hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing/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.

Because of its past agricultural history, the crop land is rented to local farmers and income from rentals has been used to develop roads, trails, and parking areas. Other improvements to make this area more productive for fish and wildlife resources are planned for the future. Multiple use of the Willard area for agriculture and recreation has been very successful and will be continued.

Tourism Information for Nearby Attractions, Amenities & Activities

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.

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