Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Perch River Wildlife Management Area

Perch River WMA locator map


See the recreation icon key

Perch River Wetland

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.

Featured Activities

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 open to fishing, please visit DEC's website for more information about fishing.

Wildlife Viewing
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.

Perch River brown sign


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.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Activity Rules & Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in Perch River WMA:

  • 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

wildlife restoration logo

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.