Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Willard Wildlife Management Area

Willard WMA locator map

hunttrapfishbirdhikeparkicon key

DEC hosted a virtual presentation on the habitat management plan for Willard WMA on April 28, 2021 at 6:30 PM. View the plan for Willard (PDF) The event featured a presentation, followed by a question-and-answer period. View the recording of the Willard virtual meeting. Questions can be sent by email or call (585) 226-5383.

The primary purposes of Willard Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. Willard WMA was originally a part of the Willard State Hospital lands used in its farm operations. Farm operations were discontinued in 1963 and the land was transferred to DEC for hunting, fishing, and recreational use. This WMA consists of 135 acres of cropland and 23 acres of woodland which borders Seneca Lake.

Featured Activities



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


Wildlife Management Unit: 8S.

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

Deer, pheasant, and squirrel are the main wildlife game species on the area. Please be sure to abide by all game laws (view hunting seasons and trapping seasons).



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



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

Geese and ducks feed in Willard grain fields and part of Seneca Lake adjacent to the area. Many other species of wildlife are found on the Willard Wildlife Management Area at frequent intervals. Use both the Wildlife Management Area Mammal Checklist (PDF) and Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF) as wildlife viewing guides.

Williard WMA Brown Sign


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 Willard 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 Willard WMA:

  • Unless specifically stated, 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

wildlife restoration logo

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

Because of its past agricultural history, the crop land is rented to local farmers and income from rentals has been used to develop roads, trails, and parking areas. Other improvements to make this area more productive for fish and wildlife resources are planned for the future. Multiple use of the Willard area for agriculture and recreation has been very successful and will be continued.

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Northern Finger Lakes Draft Unit Management Plan (PDF). 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.

View the Habitat Management Plan for Willard Wildlife Management Area (PDF), approved in December 2020, 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 & 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.