Bowen WMA

A muskrat swimming through the marsh grassHarry L. Bowen sold this land to the state for $1.00 in 1955. From the standpoint of river tidal marsh conservation, that purchase was more than a bargain. Due to the nature of the wet terrain, Bowen WMA's 313 acres can be difficult to get to, but it's more than worth the effort.

What To See

Covering more than 90 percent of the area, the tidal marsh is a stop over point for migrating and wintering waterfowl. Black ducks, mallards, American wigeon, canvasbacks, lesser scaup, buffleheads and wood ducks are often seen resting and feeding here. Rails, historically hunted from push boats on the river, still stalk the grasses for aquatic insects. Their slim bodies are designed to get them easily through the narrow spaces between blades of grass, hence the popular expression, "Thin as a rail." Mink and muskrats cruise the shoreline and marsh creeks, while river otters play together in the water.

What To Do

Bowen is a much-sought-after site for waterfowl hunting, which is limited to permanent blinds located on the river. Hunters who are interested in pursuing waterfowl at Bowen can get a free permit for the blinds from the Myrtle Grove Wildlife Office. Trapping is also available. From the waters, crabbers can harvest a memorable meal. Anglers can expect to catch white perch, catfish, carp and rockfish. A canoe trip up one of Bowen's many creeks is an excellent way to savor the diverse wildlife that Maryland's river tidal wetlands support.

Area Regulations

  • Click here to apply for the free Southern Region Public Hunting Permit.
  • Use of Bowen WMA is generally permitted seven days a week throughout the year.
  • Hunting is allowed in accordance with open seasons, bag limits, and shooting hours.
  • Bowen WMA is a popular site for waterfowl hunting, which is limited to six permanent blinds located on the river shoreline.
  • Trapping and waterfowl hunting by permit only.
  • Motorized vehicles are prohibited.

Non-Hunting Users

  • Non-hunting visitors are welcome.  Be aware of open hunting seasons and visit accordingly.
  • A canoe trip up one of Bowen's many creeks is an excellent way to savor the diverse wildlife supported by Maryland's tidal wetlands.
  • One can expect to catch crabs, white perch, catfish and striped bass from the adjacent waters.
  • Expect wet footing most of the year.

Site Management Practices

  • Providing wintering habitat for waterfowl is the overriding goal of Bowen WMA.
  • Vegetation control is practiced on 140 of Bowen’s 313 acres.

Bowen WMA is located in Prince George's County near both Calvert and Charles CountiesDirections

Bowen WMA is accessible only by boat. A ramp is available at Magruder's Ferry Landing. Take U.S. Route 301 south to Croom Road and turn left. Take Croom Road to Magruder's Landing Road and to the Clyde E. Watson Memorial Boat Ramp. For additional information, contact the Myrtle Grove Work Center at (301) 743-5161.

Click Here for Map

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.​