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Big Flats Wildlife Management Area

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The primary purposes of Big Flats Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This is a 136-acre upland tract. It's situated approximately 6 miles west of the City of Elmira. This is the first parcel of hopefully numerous additions for a larger Wildlife Management Area along the Chemung River. There are no designated trails on the property at this time. Please be cautious when traveling on steep slopes.

Featured Activities

Hunting and Trapping

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Wildlife Management Unit: 8Y

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

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A steep and rocky area at Big Flats WMA.

For hunters, there is a variety of game available. White-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and grey squirrels are the primary species. The Chemung River and Sing Sing Creek provide limited hunting for waterfowl. For trappers, the primary furbearers are fox, coyote, raccoon, and mink.

Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view hunting seasons and trapping seasons).


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

Fishermen can find bass, muskellunge, and panfish in the Chemung River. Sing Sing Creek is stocked with brown trout.


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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.

Extensive shrub/grassland habitat attract a wide variety of songbirds. Use both the Wildlife Management Area Vertebrate Checklist (PDF) and Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF) as wildlife viewing guides.


Big Flats WMA is located on Rt 352 between Big Flats and Elmira. From the intersection with Rt 64 in Big Flats take Rt 352 south approximately 2 miles. From Rt 14 in Elmira take Rt 352 west/north for approximately 7 miles.

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 this WMA 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 Big Flats 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).

Planning and Management

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Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Big Flats 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.

Principal management objectives and techniques for Big Flats Wildlife MMA include development of wildlife habitat from former agricultural land and treatment of knotweed and other invasive plant species that will improve and maintain diverse native flora.

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Great Divide Unit Management Plan. In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural and human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

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.