Deer in Spring Landscape

A mallard hen resting on the shoreside.Nanticoke River WMA

The Nanticoke River, like the Pocomoke, is one of the Eastern Shore Rivers that drains into the Chesapeake Bay. In 1993, the Nature Conservancy, the Conservation Fund and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation assisted the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in purchasing this 1,700-acre tract along the Nanticoke to help conserve the wildlife habitats found along this mostly tidal river.

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What to see

A pair of bald eagles has built a nest near Quantico Creek, adjacent to the WMA. The eagles have come back each year to add to their nest and raise their young. Visitors to Nanticoke River WMA might catch a glimpse of them in March through June as they fish to feed their chicks. The marshes are perfect barn owl habitat, so biologists have placed nest boxes there in hopes of attracting nesting barn owls. Wild turkeys absent from the area for around 200 years, were released here and have established themselves. They have raised several groups of chicks, called "poults," and have been observed in the fields and forests searching for insects and seeds.

What to do

Deer hunters will enjoy the plentiful deer populations found here. Check out a map of the area. Mourning doves, cottontail rabbits, bobwhite quail, woodcock, and waterfowl hunting are also available. Trapping is offered by yearly lease. Anglers will find bass, catfish, rockfish and perch and may fish along the shoreline or from a boat. Boat access is limited to public ramps Wetipquin and Vienna. A peninsula jutting from the WMA into the river offers a scenic hike which may include bird watching and nature photography.  

Area Regulations

  • Use of Nanticoke River WMA is generally permitted seven days a week throughout the year.
  • Hunting is allowed in accordance with open seasons and shooting hours, unless otherwise noted.
  • All State and Federal Hunting Laws and Regulations are applicable.
  • Trapping is by permit only.
  • Dove hunting is restricted to certain days and shooting hours.
  • No motorized vehicles are allowed.
  • Special Areas

  • Certain fields are managed dove hunting areas.
  • Non-hunting Users Guide

  • Non-hunting visitors are welcome.
  • Be aware of open hunting seasons and visit accordingly.
  • Season dates available in newspapers, on the Internet, and at some area stores.
  • The Nanticoke River WMA provides habitat for a variety of local and migratory wildlife species including birds, mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians.
  • Trails are maintained and suitable for hiking, nature photography, birding, hunting and other recreational activities, but are not actively marked.
  • Visitors to the management area should be aware that there may be biting flies, mosquitoes, and ticks present during April - November.
  • Site Management Goals

  • The agricultural fields are planted with crops to provide habitat and winter food for upland wildlife species.
  • Certain fields are managed dove hunting areas.
  • Riparian areas have been planted with trees and grasses to create riparian buffers for water quality and wildlife habitat benefits.
  • Some fields have been planted to native warm season grasses, cool season grasses and/or been left fallow to provide habitat for ground nesting wildlife species.
  • Nest boxes for Wood Ducks and Barn Owls have been erected to supplement natural tree cavities for nesting.
  • Simple location map showing Nanticoke River WMA in relationship to the state of MarylandDirections

    From US Route 50, take either MD 347 or MD 349 to Quantico, MD. Go west on Cherry Walk road to Nutter's Neck Road and Nanticoke River WMA. Parking areas located off Cherry Walk Road. Boat access is via Vienna and Wetipquin public boat ramps. For additional information contact the LeCompte Work Center at (410)376-3236.

    This area is a part of Marylandís 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 Stateís 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.