The Wildlife & Heritage Service (WHS) oversees the management of 61 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), ranging in size from 1 acre to over 30,000 acres. The WMA system encompasses over 123,000 acres, with WMAs located in 18 of Maryland's 23 counties
To conserve and enhance diverse wildlife populations and associated habitats while providing for public enjoyment of the State’s wildlife resources through hunting and other wildlife-dependent recreation.
The Wildlife and Heritage Service manages the WMAs for diverse wildlife populations and their habitats in a number of ways, such as applying prescribed burns, planting food plots, establishing native grasses, managing wetlands and performing timber stand work. Some habitats, such as forested areas, provide for wildlife without any direct management. Providing for wildlife-dependent recreation involves the installation and maintenance of parking lots, roads, trails, boat access facilities, and user areas for the disabled. Property boundaries, signs, and maps are also up-dated, as needed.
WMAs are primarily managed for hunting, trapping and other wildlife-dependent recreational uses. On the more popular areas, a system of lotteries and reservations is in place to avoid over use and conflicts among users. Information about hunting and trapping on public lands in Maryland is updated annually and published in the Guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maryland. Our staff also manages wildlife populations on other department properties, including certain State Parks, State Forests and Natural Resource Management Areas, as well as some private lands and local government properties (called Cooperative WMAs).
The Wildlife & Heritage Service, working in concert with Department of Natural Resources Nature Tourism Program, is expanding the public use of WMA properties. For example, the Fishing Bay WMA Water Trail is specially designed for kayak and canoe users with an interest in birding and wildlife photography. This water trail offers an outstanding opportunity for paddlers to observe a variety wetland wildlife species in their native habitats.
580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis MD 21401
Call toll-free in *Maryland* at 1-877-620-8DNR (8367)
Out of State: 410-260-8DNR (8367)