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Wildlife Management Areas

Places to Hunt, Trap, Fish, or Watch Wildlife

Visit any of the state's numerous Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and explore their forests, open fields, streams, ponds, wetlands, and scenic vistas. These are your lands-owned by New York State and operated by the DEC's Bureau of Wildlife.

While there is just one WMA on Long Island (Region 1) and none in New York City (Region 2), there are other public lands available for use in those regions.

  • The Bureau of Wildlife manages nearly 150 areas to visit, including about 125 WMAs, several Unique Areas and Multiple Use Areas, and other lands. These properties (known as the WMA System) are scattered across the state for your use and enjoyment. Together, these areas contain around 250,000 acres-including 124,000 acres of forests and grasslands and 53,000 acres of wetlands-providing enough room for a lot of us to get outdoors, have fun, and not get in anyone's way.
  • WMAs are organized by DEC region.
  • Some activities may require permits and fees. We strongly advise you to call the appropriate DEC Regional wildlife telephone number prior to visiting any WMA. By doing so, you can quickly learn more about a specific area, its uses, and facilities.
  • You may wish to purchase a good quality highway/recreation map at your local bookstore. These maps typically indicate the location of wildlife management areas, state parks, and other outdoor recreation sites.

Click on a region in the left column to find a list of WMAs in each area-there's probably one near you!

Rules and Regulations on WMAs

Anyone using a WMA should be aware of the rules governing that particular area. Each WMA has its own webpage that lists allowable activities and available facilities. Please refer to the webpage or kiosk of each WMA for specific restrictions. For most areas, statewide hunting and fishing regulations as well as statewide WMA regulations (leaves DEC website) will apply. In general, prohibited activities include:

  • any use of motorized vehicles including motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles (except on town, county or state highway rights-of-way);
  • overnight mooring or boat storage; and
  • fires except for cooking, warmth, or smudge.

Additional activities that are prohibited (with exceptions under certain conditions) include camping, swimming, picnicking, and mechanized boating.

Note that in certain cases, however, additional special regulations are also in force. These special regulations can include:

  • reductions in hunting hours;
  • restrictions on the number of people using the area; and
  • increased requirements for sportsmen and women to report on the results of their activities.

Check out the Public Use of Wildlife Management Areas (PDF) for a list of allowable and restricted activities.

More about Wildlife Management Areas:

  • Important Links
  • PDF Help
  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 518-402-8883.
  • Contact for this Page
    Bureau of Wildlife
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-4755
    Send us an email
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  • Page applies to all NYS regions