Avondale Wildlife Management Area

Flock of wild turkeysLocated on the outskirts of Westminster, Maryland, Avondale Wildlife Management Area was deeded to the Department of Natural Resources by the estate of Mildred M. Tarkington in January 2005. The 180-acre tract is dedicated to wildlife conservation.

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Avondale WMA is managed by the Wildlife and Heritage Service. The mission of the Wildlife and Heritage Service is 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. Avondale WMA contains limited trails available for use by hikers and hunters that are not regularly maintained and are often rough, muddy and steep. This area provides habitat for upland and forest wildlife species including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, and songbirds. Twenty acres of fallow fields are mowed annually to manage for wildlife cover and pollinators. The remainder of the property is forested. Little Pipe Creek runs through a portion of the property.

Regulations for All Users

Unless otherwise posted or with a permit issued by the Service it is UNLAWFUL to:

  • Operate or possess a vehicle on roads, trails, or waterways not open to general traffic.
  • Bait or feed wildlife.
  • Use or construct permanent blinds or tree stands. All portable blinds or stands must be removed at the end of the day.
  • Ignite, cause to be ignited, or maintain a fire.
  • Camp
  • Remove, disturb, damage, or destroy any mineral, plant, rock, tree, or nongame animal.
  • Have dogs off leash from April 15 through August 15.
  • Use dogs to chase fox and raccoons.
  • Release any animal or plant.
  • Conduct commercial activities.
  • Place a cache for the purpose of geocaching.
  • Operate, possess, or use combustibles, explosives, or fireworks.
  • Dig for relics and treasures, remove prehistoric or historic artifacts, or use a metal detector without a permit from the Office of Archeology.
  • Deposit litter or refuse including, but not limited to, animal carcasses, appliances, brush, debris, furniture, garbage, hazardous material, tires, waste paper, yard waste, or other litter.
  • Vandalize real property including any blind, building, crop, equipment, gate, habitat, plant, road, sign, trail, vehicle, vessel, or other public property.
  • Graze cattle, goats, horses, sheep, or other domestic animals.
  • Place decoys prior to 1 hour before legal shooting hours, leave decoys overnight, or remove decoys later than 1 hour after legal shooting hours.
  • Target shoot​.


Public hunting on Avondale WMA is permitted during legal hunting seasons with restrictions (see below). A free permit is required and available from the DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service Gwynnbrook Wildlife Office or online. Hunting is available for all legal game species in accordance with current hunting laws and regulations established by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

  • ​Hunting access is restricted to seasonal permit holders from September 1st through February 28th and during the Spring Turkey Season.
  • Reservations are ONLY required to hunt deer during a deer Muzzleloader or Firearms Season. During these times there are 5 reservations available per day. Reservations are not required for Junior Deer Hunt days or primitive deer hunt days.
  • Hunting is permitted Monday through Saturday. No hunting is allowed on Sundays.
  • The opening day of Deer Firearms Season is drawn by lottery.
  • Permitted hunting devices include all legal devices allowed in Carroll County.
  • During Spring Turkey Season, hunters must sign in at the parking lot with their Free Public Hunting Permit. Three hunters may sign in at a time.
  • Trapping is allowed by permit only. Contact the Gwynnbrook Wildlife Office at 410-356-9272 for more information.

Non-Hunting Users

From September through January and during the Spring Turkey Season, non-hunting users may access the property on Sundays only. No permit or reservation is needed. Outside these timeframes, Avondale WMA is open Sunday through Saturday for the following activities:

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Biking on established trails
  • Bird Watching
  • Nature Photography
  • Dogs must be leashed from April 15 through August 15

Directions and Contact InformationMaryland map showing approximate location of Avondale WMA

Avondale WMA is located on the southwest side of Westminster, Maryland. Public access to this area is on Windy Hill Drive off of Old New Windsor Road (which parallels Maryland State Route 31). Take Windy Hill Drive and follow the signs up a gravel driveway to the parking lot located at the end of Windy Hill Drive. For additional information or seasonal permits, contact the Gwynnbrook Wildlife and Heritage Service Office at 410-356-9272.

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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.​