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Tug Hill Wildlife Management Area

Tug Hill WMA Locator Map

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Pond and beaver lodge on Tug Hill WMA
Pond and beaver lodge at
Tug Hill WMA.

The primary purposes of Tug Hill Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. This WMA is a forested tract of land consisting of 5,100 acres. This area's habitat consists of hardwood uplands, hardwood/coniferous (spruce-fir) wetlands, and a 65-acre impoundment.

There are no designated trails, but hiking is allowed throughout the property.

Featured Activities

Hunting and Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 6N

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

This WMA provides excellent recreational opportunities. 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.

Some of the small streams draining the area, such as Edick Creek, have been known to provide good trout fishing.



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

Beaver have colonized many of the streams of the area creating aquatic habitat for many wildlife species including waterfowl and the occasional river otter. Use the Wildlife Management Area Vertebrate Checklist (PDF) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF) as wildlife viewing guides.


Sign at entrance to Tug Hill Wildlife Management Area

Tug Hill WMA is located in the western portion of Lewis County on the Tug Hill Plateau; seven miles south of State Route #177 (Bellwood), 23 miles southeast of Watertown, or 11 miles southwest of Lowville.

All Google links leave DEC 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 Tug 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 Tug Hill WMA:

  • Using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorboats
  • Landing of boats or hunting on the barrier beach
  • Swimming or bathing
  • Picnicking
  • 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, Tug 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.

The WMA is an important headwaters area of several watersheds on the Tug Hill Plateau. Protection of these water resources is of the upmost importance when conducting habitat management activities on the WMA. Northern hardwood forest stands occupy approximately 3,200 acres of the WMA and are actively being managed through commercial forest product sales. Managing and maintaining these hardwood stands in various stages of forest succession benefits a wide variety of both game and non-game wildlife species.

View the Habitat Management Plan for Tug Hill Wildlife Management Area (PDF), approved in May 2016, 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.