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Pharsalia Wildlife Management Area

Pharsalia WMA Locator Map

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a field in front of wooded area in Pharsalia WMA

Pharsalia Wildlife Management Area (WMA) The primary purposes of the Pharsalia WMA is for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This is 4,169 acres and is located in the northwest portion of Chenango County, approximately 10 miles southwest of Sherburne. Pharsalia generally has flat or gently sloping terrain.

Featured Activities

Hunting and Trapping
Pharsalia WMA is located in Wildlife Management Unit 7M. White-tailed deer, waterfowl and a variety of small game species offer ample hunting and trapping opportunities (View hunting seasons & trapping seasons).

Pharsalia WMA is open to fishing, please visit DEC's website for more information about fishing. Both cold and warm water fish are present in streams and ponds.

Wildlife Viewing
Wildlife associated with wetlands dominate this area. Use the Checklist of Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals of New York State (PDF, 377 KB) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF, 240 KB) as a wildlife viewing guide.

Pharasalia WMA Brown Sign


New York Route 23 borders part of the west and south sides of the area and provides access to a system of town and maintenance roads traversing the WMA. Head west out of Norwich on Route 23 to the town of Pharsalia. The WMA is on your right.

All Google links leave DEC's website.

Rules, Regulations & Outdoor Safety

Activity Rules & Regulations:

The following activities are not permitted in Pharsalia 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's Website). Also, practice Leave No Trace (Leaves DEC's 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

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Pharsalia 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 management is directed towards enhancing habitat for a variety of wildlife species with emphasis on big and small game such as deer, turkey and ruffed grouse. A variety of techniques are used to provide the food, cover and shelter requirements for upland and wetland wildlife species. Preservation and perpetuation of certain habitats by mowing, marsh pond construction, erection of nesting structures and forest management through wood product sales are a few of the management activities.

View the Habitat Management Plan for Pharsalia Wildlife Management Area (PDF, 3.06 MB), approved in November 2016, which identifies the WMA-specific target species and habitat goals for the WMA. An overview of the Pharsalia WMA plan (PDF, 879 KB) was presented at a public meeting in January 2017.

From the days of the first settlers in the late 1800's the Pharsalia region was farmed. However, poor soils, harsh climate and economic conditions forced the abandonment of the farmlands after 1900. In 1926 Pharsalia became the first State Game Refuge purchased with Conservation Fund monies. The first game habitat survey in New York State was made on the area in 1926. Thousands of trees and shrubs were planted for reforestation and wildlife purposes. Early research and habitat improvements for ruffed grouse were accomplished here, and for a time (1933-1937) pheasants were reared at Pharsalia and released throughout the Chenango County area. A 200 man Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) camp accomplished much of the work and also constructed several small ponds for waterfowl use. Two large marsh ponds (Jackson and Bear Wallow) were constructed in the early 1950's. From the 1940's through the mid 1970's local and national hunting dog trials were held at Pharsalia each fall.

Tourism Information for Nearby Attractions, Amenities & Activities

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