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Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area

Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area locator map


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The primary purposes of the Wilson Hill WMA is 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 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

Hunting and Trapping
Wilson Hill Wildlife Management area is located in Wildlife Management Unit 6A. 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 is open all year. (View hunting seasons and trapping seasons)

Wilson Hill WMA is open to fishing; please visit DEC's website for more information about fishing.

Wildlife Viewing
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 a wildlife viewing guides.

Wilson Hill Brown Sign


Located in St. Lawrence County approximately 6 miles west of the village of Massena along state highway Routes 37 and 131

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Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

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) 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, Wilson Hill 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.

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.

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.