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Deer Creek Marsh Wildlife Management Area

Deer Creek Marsh WMA locator map

huntingtrappingfishingview wildlife herehand boat launchaccessibleparking

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The primary purpose of the Deer Creek Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. Located in the northwest corner of Oswego County along the shore of Lake Ontario, this WMA totals 1,771 acres in size. Deer Creek Marsh WMA is a combination of wetland types that include open cattails and a bog. The prominent feature is an extensive barrier beach and sand dune system that separates and protects the marshland from the ravages of Lake Ontario. The water elevation in the marsh is determined to a large extent by the level of Lake Ontario and whether the outlet of Deer Creek is plugged by sand or open to flow into Lake Ontario.

View at Deer Creek Marsh WMAFeatured Activities

Hunting and Trapping
Deer Creek WMA is located in Wildlife Management Unit 6G. White-tailed deer, waterfowl and a variety of small game species offer ample hunting and trapping opportunities. (View hunting seasons and trapping seasons).

Deer Creek WMA is open to fishing. Key species in the area include largemouth bass, northern pike, bullheads, sunfish and yellow perch. An accessible hand boat launch site offers access to paddle through the meandering Deer Creek for approximately two miles before leading to the Lake Ontario shoreline, where there's a sand dune cross-over structure. General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules and regulations.

Wildlife Viewing
There is a trail to view wildlife which is about one mile along the western side of the WMA that borders Lake Ontario. Along the trail there is a kiosk and a boardwalk from which one can observe the shore. Wildlife associated with wetlands dominate this area, as well as of migratory birds that visit during their spring and fall migrations. Use both the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF 453 KB) and Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF 240 KB) as wildlife viewing guides.

Accessible Features

General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

An accessible hand launch for canoes and kayaks and a dune cross-over structure leading to Lake Ontario are provided for people of all abilities.


Deer Creek Brown Sign

Deer Creek Marsh can be reached by taking the Pulaski exit off of Route 81 and proceeding west on Route 13. Turn right (north) at the intersection of Route 13 and State Route 3 at Port Ontario about three miles west of Pulaski. Proceed north on Route 3 and Deer Creek Marsh WMA will be on your left. It can be accessed by Kelly Drive and Rainbow Shores Road.

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Rules, Regulations & Outdoor Safety

Activity Rules & Regulations:

The following activities are not permitted in Deer Creek Marsh 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.

Wildlife Restoration

How We Manage

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Deer Creek 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.

Current objectives for the area are to provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species and to permit wildlife related recreational uses compatible with wildlife. Special emphasis is placed on the protection of the fragile barrier beach environment. Interpretive signs and the presence of dune stewards to speak with people using the area are the main focus of public education.

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.

Nearby DEC Lands and Facilities