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Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area

Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area locator map

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DEC will host a public availability session to provide information and answer questions about a recently completed habitat management plan for Wilson Hill WMA on Tuesday, September 26th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Wilson Hill Field Office in Chase Mills. An open house will take place at 6:00, followed by a presentation at 6:30.

The primary purposes of Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA is an open water wetland adjacent to the St. Lawrence River. Wilson Hill WMA is a 3,434-acre area that consists of several large open water pools of approximately 1,800 acres bordered by cattail, shrub swamp, forest, and meadows. Being in close proximity to the St. Lawrence River, the area is ideal for nesting and migrating waterfowl. It is not uncommon to find 15 to 20 different species of waterfowl on the area during the spring and fall migrations. The shallow impoundments of the area provide habitat for dabbling ducks, diving ducks, and geese. In addition to waterfowl, there are raptors and the emergent marsh supports an abundance of wetland furbearers.

Picture of canoeing during the goose drive

Featured Activities

Hiking

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General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

Please stay on the designated trails to protect the diversity and richness of the plant communities found within this area.

Hunting and Trapping

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Wildlife Management Unit: 6A

General information on hunting and general information on trapping include how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules, and regulations.

This WMA is renowned for its excellent waterfowl hunting. Deer and small game hunting is available. Big game hunting in the restricted area is archery only. Big game hunting with firearms is allowed on the public hunting areas. Woodcock and grouse, along with the pheasants that are stocked during the fall, provide upland bird hunting. Controlled hunting and trapping are allowed during the fall and winter. Hunters must register to enter the area on those days the area is open. Trapping is by seasonal permit. The public use zones are open all year. Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view hunting seasons and trapping seasons).

Fishing

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General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules, and regulations

Wildlife

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General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

Wilson Hill WMA is divided into three zones: refuge, restricted use, and public use. There is no public access allowed in the refuge area, however there are two observation towers that are open year-round to provide wildlife observation opportunities. The observation tower along Route 131 provides a good overlook for birdwatchers. In the restricted use zone, there is no public access during most of the spring and summer. Use the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF, 453 KB) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF, 240 KB) as wildlife viewing guides.

Wilson Hill Brown Sign

Directions

Wilson Hill WMA is located in St. Lawrence County, approximately 6 miles west of the village of Massena along state highway Routes 37 and 131.

All Google links leave DEC's website.

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Activity Rules & Regulations

The following activities are not permitted in Wilson Hill 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).

How We Manage Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area

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Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Wilson Hill WMA is managed by DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife for wildlife conservation and wildlife-associated recreation (hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing, and 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.

Extensive work is being done on the dyke system and water regulation systems on the area by the New York Power Authority and will vastly improve DEC's ability to manage water levels in the future for the benefit of the wetland habitats.

View the Habitat Management Plan for Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area (PDF, 3.3 MB), approved in April 2017, which identifies the WMA-specific target species and habitat goals for the WMA.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

Web links below can provide information about other recreation, attractions, and amenities in this area.

State Lands and Facilities

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.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions, and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories, or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.