Department of Environmental Conservation

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Tug Hill Wildlife Management Area


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Tug Hill Wildlife Management Area (WMA) The primary purposes of the Tug Hill WMA is for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA is a forested tract of land consisting of 5,100 acres. This area's habitat consists of hardwood uplands, hardwood/coniferous (spruce-fir) wetlands, and a 65-acre impoundment.

Featured Activities

Sign at entrance to Tug Hill Wildlife Management Area

Hunting and Trapping
Tug Hill Wildlife Management Area is located in Wildlife Management Unit 6K. This WMA provides excellent recreational opportunities. Hunting, trapping, hiking, bird watching, and fishing are some of the activities pursued. (View hunting seasons and trapping seasons)

Tug Hill WMA is open to fishing -- please visit DEC's website for more information about fishing. Some of the small streams draining the area, such as Edick Creek, have been known to provide good trout fishing.

Wildlife Viewing

Pond and beaver lodge on Tug Hill WMA

Beaver have colonized many of the streams of the area creating aquatic habitat for many wildlife species including waterfowl and the occasional river otter.

  • white-tailed deer
  • ruffed grouse
  • fisher
  • bobcat
  • beaver
  • river otter


tug hill brown sign

Located in the western portion of Lewis County on the Tug Hill Plateau. Seven miles south of State Route #177 (Bellwood), 23 miles southeast of Watertown or 11 miles southwest of Lowville.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Activity Rules & Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in Tug Hill WMA:

  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorboats
  • Landing of boats or hunting on the barrier beach
  • Swimming or bathing
  • Picnicking
  • Camping
  • Kindling fires
  • 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)

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How We Manage

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Tug Hill 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.

The WMA is an important headwaters area of several watersheds on the Tug Hill Plateau. Protection of these water resources is of the upmost importance when conducting habitat management activities on the WMA. Northern hardwood forest stands occupy approximately 3200 acres of the WMA and are actively being managed through commercial forest product sales. Managing and maintaining these hardwood stands in various stages of forest succession benefits a wide variety of both game and non-game wildlife species.

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.