Listed as an endangered species in 1967, the Delmarva fox squirrel has been steadily increasing in numbers in Maryland. LeCompte's 485 acres of mature oak and loblolly pine forests were set aside to provide a refuge for this native squirrel. From the productive population of Delmarva fox squirrels on LeCompte, wildlife biologists have trapped and relocated squirrels to likely habitats in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, thereby helping to re-establish their populations. Lecompte also boasts model agricultural fields maintained by wildlife biologists for the benefit of numerous wildlife species.
A walk around the field edges or the forest trails will always reward the visitor with a good look at the Delmarva fox squirrel. Visitors on an early morning forest hike in the spring might hear the melodious gobble of a wild turkey. Wild turkeys disappeared from Maryland's Eastern Shore about 200 years ago. LeCompte WMA was the first Eastern Shore site chosen for release of turkeys trapped from the wild in Western Maryland. Habitat management practices for rabbits, quail and woodcock are demonstrated here and these species can be seen throughout the established agricultural fields and forest edges.
Hunters will find white-tailed deer and sika deer, which is a species imported to Maryland from Asia. There is a hunting area for the physically challenged. Cottontail rabbits, bobwhite quail and woodcock will reward the small game hunter with a bountiful harvest. Squirrel hunting is not permitted because of the significant presence of Delmarva fox squirrels. Bird-watchers and hikers will enjoy the many trails that crisscross the forest.
From Vienna, Md., take Elliott Island Road south, turn onto Steele Neck Road as it forks to the right and follow Steele Neck Road four miles to LeCompte WMA on the left. Access via two parking areas located off Steele Neck Road. For additional information, contact the LeCompte Wildlife Office at (410) 376-3236.
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This area is a part of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources public land system and is managed by the Wildlife and Heritage Service. The primary mission of the WMA system is to conserve and enhance wildlife populations and their respective habitats as well as to provide public recreational use of the State’s wildlife resources.
Eighty-five percent of the funding for Maryland's state wildlife programs comes from hunting license fees and a federal excise tax on sport hunting devices and ammunition. The federal aid funds are derived from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (or Pittman-Robertson) Fund, which sportsmen and women have been contributing to since 1937. Each state receives a share of the funds, which is administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service; these funds are used for wildlife conservation and hunter education programs, including the management of the WMA system.
Other sources of funds for land acquisition include Program Open Space Funding for Maryland's State and local parks and conservation areas, provided through The Department of Natural Resources' Program Open Space. Established in 1969, Program Open Space symbolizes Maryland's long-term commitment to conserving natural resources while providing exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities.
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