Popes Creek WMA

photo by Curtis Harsh

Popes Creek Wildlife Management Area is located in Charles County, Maryland near Newburg. This property was purchased by the State of Maryland from Turneill, LLC in 2018.


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Habitat Description and Management

Popes Creek 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.

Popes Creek WMA consists of 522 acres which includes a 110-acre agriculture lease. The remaining acreage mainly consists of deciduous forest land with freshwater wetlands and streams located throughout the property. Popes Creek WMA provides habitat for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, squirrel, rabbit, and songbirds.

Regulations for all Users

Unless otherwise posted or with a permit issued by the Service, on lands and waters owned or controlled by the Wildlife and Heritage Service, it is UNLAWFUL to:

  • Catch, harass, hunt, intentionally disturb, kill, or pursue any wildlife on lands or waters posted as a “Wildlife Sanctuary” or a “Wildlife Refuge.”
  • Operate or possess a vehicle, except for licensed automobiles, boats, motorcycles, or trucks on roads, trails or waterways open to general traffic or specifically posted by the Service.
  • Operate any vehicle in an unsafe manner or cause damage to roads, trails, or other areas.
  • Operate any vehicle on lands or waters while under the influence of any intoxicants.
  • Park a vehicle, unless engaged in a legitimate recreational activity allowed on the property and in a designated parking area. Users must obey posted vehicle quotas and/or hours of operation.
  • Bait or feed wildlife or to hunt, shoot, kill, or attempt to hunt, shoot, or kill any game bird or mammal with the aid of bait.
  • Use or construct permanent blinds or tree stands, or leave temporary tree stands overnight.
  • Ignite, cause to be ignited, or maintain a fire, unless in a designated camping site.
  • Camp, unless in a designated camping site.
  • Trap furbearers (permits issued for certain properties).
  • Remove, disturb, damage, or destroy any portion of a mineral, plant, rock, tree, or nongame animal.
  • Release any animals or plants.
  • Conduct commercial activities.
  • Enter any area posted as “Restricted” or “Closed Against Entry.” (The Service may remove and place in storage, at the owner’s expense, a vehicle that remains in a restricted area).
  • Operate, possess, or use combustibles, explosives, or fireworks.
  • Place a geocache.
  • Without a permit from the Office of Archeology, dig for relics and treasures, remove prehistoric or historic artifacts, or use metal detectors.
  • Deposit litter or refuse, including but not limited to animal carcasses, appliances, brush, debris, furniture, garbage, hazardous materials, tires, wastepaper, 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.
  • Interfere with or hinder any Service employee from performing Service-related management activities.
  • Graze cattle, goats, horses, sheep, or other domestic animals.
  • Place decoys earlier than 1 hour before legal shooting hours, leave overnight, or remove later than 1 hour after legal shooting hours.
  • Target shoot, unless at a designated shooting range.

Visitor Information

Popes Creek WMA is open 24 hours a day, year-round.

  • Access is permitted via 3 public parking areas:
  • Non-hunting users are permitted on Popes Creek WMA year-round. No permit or reservation is needed. Read section above for Regulations for all Users.
  • Permitted activities include, but are not limited to:
    • Hunting
    • Hiking
    • Horseback riding – Riders must stay out of planted fields and are asked to avoid muddy areas to reduce damage to trails. Not all parking areas are suitable for trailers.
    • Fishing
    • Biking on established trails
    • Bird Watching
  • Dogs are welcome but must be leashed from April 15th through August 15th to protect nesting wildlife.
  • Trails are unmanicured dirt, gravel, or grass that can be rough or muddy and may be unsuitable for some users. Users are not required to stay on trails.
  • Maryland’s WMAs are trash-free, no trash cans are provided. Take all trash with you.
  • Popes Creek WMA has no public bathroom facilities, benches, or picnic tables, please plan accordingly.
  • WMAs are managed for wildlife and are home to biting insects and poison ivy. Long pants and bug repellant are recommended.

Hunting Regulations

Public hunting on Popes Creek WMA is permitted during legal hunting seasons. No permits or reservations are required. Hunting is allowed for all legal game species in accordance with current hunting laws and regulations established by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. See the Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping for current regulations.

  • Hunting is permitted Monday through Saturday, year-round. No hunting is allowed on Sundays.
  • Permitted hunting devices include all legal devices allowed in Charles County in the established hunting seasons that allow them.
  • Trapping is allowed by permit only. Popes Creek WMA is included in the Southern Region Public Lands Trapping Lottery. The online application can be found on the main Southern Region Public Hunting Lands webpage. Any spaces not filled in the lottery are available by inquiring through the Myrtle Grove Wildlife Office at 301-743-5161.
  • Hunting access is permitted day and night; however, overnight camping is not allowed.
  • Popes Creek WMA has no designated waterfowl sites, but waterfowl hunting is allowed on the property.
  • The Public Land deer and turkey Big Game Check-In code for Popes Creek WMA is 396.

Contact Information and Directions

Phone: 301-743-5161


Popes Creek WMA is located in Charles County between Faulkner and Newburg. Take U.S. Rt. 301 south of La Plata approximately 7 miles to Popes Creek Road. Turn right on Popes Creek Road and drive 1.6 miles. The northern parking lot for Popes Creek WMA will be on your left. For additional information contact the Myrtle Grove Wildlife Office at 301-743-5161.