Perch River Wildlife Management Area
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- Location: Towns of Orleans, Pamelia, and Brownvilee, Jefferson County
- Dates of Operation: Year-round
- Fee: None
- Contact: DEC Region 6 (Watertown) 315-785-2263
- Maps: Perch River Wildlife Management Area Map (PDF, 1.7 MB) || Perch River Wildlife Management Area Map
- Interactive Map: Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
Perch River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) The primary purposes of the Perch River WMA are wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA is a 7,862 acre parcel and is dominated by its wetland and open water habitats but also offers woodland, early succession, and grassland habitats. The area is well known for its waterfowl and furbearer populations and also supports deer, upland small game, and variety of unique non-game species. The grasslands are mowed periodically in late summer to inhibit brush growth and maintain the diversity of habitat that make Perch River so attractive to wildlife. Water levels in the impoundments are managed to provide stable open water and emergent marsh habitat for the waterfowl and other water-dependent bird and furbearer species found on the area.
Hunting and Trapping
Perch River WMA is located in Wildlife Management Unit 6G. This WMA is divided into three zones: refuge, restricted use, and public use. With the exception of an annual open house, during which the entire WMA is open to the public for two weeks in late August, there is no public access allowed in the refuge areas. In the Restricted Area, there is no public access during most of the spring and summer, but controlled hunting and trapping are allowed during the fall and winter. Hunters must register to enter the area on each day they hunt. Trapping is by seasonal permit. The public use zone is open year round. Perch River WMA renowned for both it's excellent waterfowl hunting. A wide variety of waterfowl species and other water bird species can be found on the area during the spring and fall migrations. Deer and small game hunting is are popular. Woodcock and ruffed grouse, along with the pheasants that are stocked during the fall and turkeys, provide diverse opportunities for upland bird hunting. Cottontail rabbits and grey squirrels are also common.(View hunting seasons and trapping seasons)
Perch River WMA is recognized for it's observation opportunities The observation tower and Mosentine overlook along Vaadi Road, and the overlook parking area on the Allen Road, provide good observation points for birdwatchers. Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF 453 KB) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF 240 KB) as a wildlife viewing guides.
Located in central Jefferson County five miles northwest of the City of Watertown. State Route 12 runs through the lower third of the Perch River marsh and has a parking area. The primary access points for recreationists are along the Vaadi, Dog Hill, and Allen roads
All Google links leave DEC's website.
- Route 12, large, gravel - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Allen Road, look out to lake - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Allen Road, gravel, to Wildlife Refuge - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Vaadi Road - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Vaadi Road, large, gravel - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Vaadi Road - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Vaadi Road, at Stones Mills - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Vaadi Road, gravel area - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Perch Lake Road, large gravel, to Perch Lake Refuge - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Cook Road - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Buckminster Road, at end, open only during hunting season, to Perch River near refuge - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Vaadi Road, at look out on loop - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Allen Road, overlook on Perch Lake - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Dog Hill Road, possible bird watching site - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Dog Hill Road - Get Google Map Driving Directions
- Dog Hill Rd, access to field for possible bird watching - Get Google Map Driving Directions
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
Activity Rules & Regulations
- Hunting Regulations
- Trapping Regulations
- Fishing Regulations
- Public Use of Wildlife Management Areas Regulations
The following activities are not permitted in Perch River WMA:
- Using motorized vehicles, including:
- all-terrain vehicles
- Swimming or bathing
- 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
- 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
Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Perch River WMA is managed by DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife 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.
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.
- Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce (Leaves DEC Website)